The Perplexities of a College President

THE old Concord stage stood before the door of the country tavern, surrounded by more than the usual crowd of village idlers. A new driver was to take the box that morning, and there was no little interest in the man and in the occasion. Sevetal stockholders in the line and one or two of the directors were present. The road south to the next “ change ” was by nature a heavy road, and it was doubly so now because of long neglect. The six horses were hooked up — a motley team. One had served its full time for one of the directors, and had been turned in on the company’s assets because the director did not quite like to turn it out upon the public, but had no thought himself of making provision for the poor animal’s latter days. One had been on this road and with this coach so long that it was nearly blind and decidedly weak in the knees. Another was a freakish thoroughbred, which had come into the possession of the company quite by chance, and had remained there because no man had made an offer for it. By its side was a heavy, slow, honest gelding, which by rights ought to have been before the plough and in the furrow. The leaders were as mismated as the others : one being in harness for the first time — absolutely had never felt a strap before — a raw colt full of impatience, and lawless through ignorance and inexperience ; the other a horse which had fought its way to the lead by so terrorizing the rest of the outfit — directors and drivers included — that it was readily given any position in which it would do any work at all. This was the team that the new driver was supposed so to direct and control and encourage and stimulate as to secure intelligent industry, conscientious coöperation, faithful service, and constantly accelerating speed.

The load was almost as motley as the team. There was a large amount of dead weight about the coach itself, the pattern of which was sufficiently antique. What repairs and changes had been made showed either carelessness in workmanship or else a sad lack of resources sufficient for the work in hand — possibly both, for a half dozen tinkers had worked on it at a half dozen different times. It was now a queer combination of a past generation and of the present day, — the former predominating. The passengers were mostly young fellows, good-natured, light-hearted, not inclined to take either themselves or their opportunity for travel any too seriously, noisy, prankish, often falling out with one another, but always a unit — against the driver, the team, the coach, the road, the directors, the stockholders. They understood perfectly well that the coach was run for them : they often asserted that it ought to be run by them ; and when any claims which they might formulate quickly and shout up to the driver were not at once completely admitted, they generally proceeded to institute what they technically called an “ outbreak,” — during which the seats, lining, and curtains of the coach suffered severely.

Meanwhile, all was confusion at the ticket office, or booking office. Instead of a single agent or ticket seller, several representatives of the line were present. Each seemed to be familiar with a portion of the route only, and to be especially favorable to his particular portion. So it often happened that a would-be passenger asking for a ticket to Jonesville was urged to go to Jamesburg ; and one wishing passage for Podunk Corners was informed that really no one worth mentioning ever went to the Corners, and that the Corners was not much of a place when you got there — better go to Windy Hill. To add to the perplexity of the passenger, every now and then some “ prominent citizen ” would throw in just a word of advice : “ Go afoot! Go afoot! You don’t need the coach at all. I have always gone afoot. Feel of the muscles of that leg! ” And sure enough, the legs seemed the most highly and especially developed part of that citizen’s anatomy.

The morning run was to be something of an experiment. The news of rapid transit in other portions of the state had penetrated the dense conservatism of this community, and there had come a demand for a betterment of the old stage service. The people were not ready for the electric car, nor even for steam : they had neither the means nor the temper for such a complete revolution as that. But there was an unintelligent and inefficient restlessness, which was demanding something new, while providing for little or nothing new, and while objecting to the changes which alone could make anything new possible. Two men had worked into the board of directors — men who had caught a glimpse of the larger and later and better world outside ; and though an overwhelmed minority, these could at least make life uncomfortable for the rest of the directorate. Some concessions had been secured already: the coach had a new canvas top fastened with some brass-headed nails which glittered in the sunlight, the body and running gear had been repainted a bright red, and several other minor changes had been made — always with a view to catching the public eye with the least possible expenditure of money. Though the running gear remained the same, and the directors had refused to broaden or improve the road or grant a choice of route, it was proposed to shorten the time to the next change; to see if this and the paint and the brass-headed nails would not increase the patronage. One of the directors favored offering extra inducements to children; asserting that two children could be wedged into the seat of one adult, and that the annual report to the stockholders could thus be made to show a large increase of the total number of passengers carried, — ages not being mentioned in the reports; but this plan had not yet been adopted.

The new driver came out of the tavern into the midst of all the outside confusion, and mounted the box. The raw horse in the lead at once prepared to go over the traces at the first word of command, “on general principles;” the illtempered leader laid back his ears and showed the whites of his ugly eyes, the faithful plough - horse straightened his traces with a sigh, the thoroughbred snorted impatiently, while the two wheel horses did their level best to stand up straight and at least be counted. The passengers eyed the driver suspiciously, and one of the older directors began discoursing in a loud tone about how he used to drive, so many years ago — taking care not to intimate the fact that his experience had been entirely limited to a milk wagon on a short route.

The new driver looked anxious and troubled, as well he might; but he gathered up the reins, felt of his team through the bits, and as the town clock struck nine he gave the word.

The past quarter of a century has been a period of ferment in education as in all things else ; and the marvelous changes which have taken place in the world of commerce, production, and transportation are scarcely greater than those which have been known in the field of instruction and of investigation and research. The leaven of Johns Hopkins and of Harvard has been steadily working through the entire mass of American colleges, precisely as that of Harris and Hall and a score of others has been changing all theories and practice in the public schools of the country. The establishment of the land-grant colleges in all the Western states gave a new importance to applied science ; and the wonderful advances made by investigation, quickened by the necessities of production and commerce, have created many new professions, and have given new dignity to the old. It is scarcely too much to say that engineering and architecture, for example, to-day stand shoulder to shoulder with law and medicine ; that the principals of free high schools and the superintendents of state or civic systems of free education are well abreast of the college professor on the one side, and of the successful business man on the other; and that the president of a modern university, while possessing the scholarly thought and habit of the old-time college executive, must also be distinguished by most of the qualities and characteristics of a modern captain of industry.

Those who have been so fortunate as to occupy executive educational positions during the stress and strain of this period— and it should always be counted a good fortune for a brave soul to be born in a storm — have had unusual opportunities, it is true, but with all the responsibilities and cares and anxieties naturally and necessarily following such opportunities. It is some of these perplexities and limitations, generally unknown to the public, which are to furnish the theme for the present writing; with the constant hope that what is written may possibly bring those who are properly called the patrons of modern education into a better understanding of some of the conditions and problems continually confronting those who are not improperly termed, by the statutes of one of our Western commonwealths, “ the chief educators of the state.”

Let us suppose a gentleman to be elected president of almost any college or university, outside the possibly half dozen that come immediately to mind as already reasonably well organized, well equipped, modern, up-to-date : presumably a gentleman fully prepared for his work, experienced in educational affairs, energetic, reasonably and properly ambitious, businesslike in his methods, and with enough of a masterful spirit to make him a natural leader of men if given reasonably free right of way. It is easy to see that these very characteristics make him a rare man, and it may be well to confess at the start that rare men are necessarily a little out of touch with their fellows. On his own side, such a man often lacks sympathy and appreciation for men who are not cast in the same mould as himself ; and these others almost invariably and inevitably fail to understand this would-be leader, and regard with natural conservatism and suspicion one who has only too often been unwisely heralded by over-confident friends as about to bring in an entirely new era. As he delivers his inaugural address, therefore — if this function is not foolishly delayed until a year after he takes up his work, after the peculiar fashion obtaining in some of our educational institutions — he is surrounded by those who will at least wait with folded hands until he shall have been tried and proven, even if they do not actually and very potentially block his way. Once in a while — rarely twice in a while — this preliminary or prefatory condition does not exist, as occasionally happens when a well-known and an honored graduate is called to direct the course of his own Alma Mater. Generally, however, it is true that the new man begins his work under suspended judgment, at least.

When the directors of a great commercial corporation or of some transportation company find it necessary to call a new man to the presidency or to the position of general manager, he is at once given almost absolute authority as to all executive details. The Board of Control determines the general policy of the company, always after counseling with the new president or manager, and then leaves the executive to carry out this policy — his success or failure determining the wisdom of their choice of the man. He gathers about him a corps of competent, loyal, ambitious assistants, wisely retaining those whose efficiency is beyond question — an efficiency in which their long service and wide acquaintance witli the affairs of the company, or their especial expertness in their respective departments, are the determining factors. The successful manager will not, cannot, content himself with men whose recommendations are almost purely negative, of whom it can only be said that no special complaint is made, who are reasonably satisfactory. He must have men about him whose characteristics are positive and aggressive ; not men who are inclined to rest back upon reputations already established, but who have reputations to make or reputations to enlarge ; men who are even determined to outgrow the corporation, if possible, and strike for something better. It is the hot pace set by such men, bound by a common interest in a common undertaking under wise guidance, which makes directly for the surest and most immediate success ; and in this day and age almost nothing short of this can possibly succeed.

The educational executive or manager, however, has no such freedom of choice as to his associates, has no such right of way, but is fast-bound at the very start by a precedent which, while possibly growing weaker, is still very generally all too powerful. In the days when the schoolmaster was one of the few even decently educated men in the community, to be appointed as a college professor was to be set at once high upon a pinnacle, above effective criticism and quite beyond the reach of complaint. The tenure to such position was practically for life : it took an act of the trustees to put a man there, but it took an act of God to put him out. Changes from one institution to another were rare, and opportunity for advancement of those who were of lower rank was still more rare ; for a full professor rarely died, and never resigned. The removal of the head of a department for inefficiency was almost unknown; in fact, it may be said to have been entirely unknown, for those whose incompetency became unbearable were not so often removed as they were retired upon half pay. It must be clearly understood that there is no thought of placing this stigma upon all the honored names on the long line of emeritus professors in American colleges ; but it is nevertheless true that many a president and many a controlling board have found this a most ready means of escape from an embarrassing situation.

The new president of whom we are writing, therefore, finds that he is simply left to make the best of the present situation : to do what he may and can with such men as are already in place ; to make his peace with malcontents, to be patient under opposition, to do the work of three men because the other two are at least not ready to coöperate with him, to explain misunderstandings, quietly to contradict misstatements when he is so fortunate as to have the opportunity to do this, to supplement the inefficiency of others, and to furnish enthusiasm enough not only to carry himself over all obstacles and through all difficulties, but to warm blood in the veins of others whose temperature never yet rose above thirtyfour degrees Fahrenheit. To compel him to undertake his work in this way is not only cruel to him personally, but is as unnecessary as it is unwise. The same rule ought to apply here as elsewhere: one who cannot commend himself to a wisely chosen and properly restrained executive, one who cannot cordially and enthusiastically coöperate with such an executive along lines of policy determined by the authorities of the university, ought to go elsewhere — and ought not to stand upon the order of his going, either. All that can be said on the other side of this simple business proposition can be said on the other side of the present management of every great commercial undertaking, in the matter of the personnel of its staff. No one denies for a moment that it is a frightful responsibility to thus make or mar the fortunes and reputations of men ; but it is a responsibility which is granted and accepted by the most large-minded, the most generous, and the only truly successful business men of this age. It surely is a dangerous grant of power to a single man ; but when the interests of all are considered, it is less dangerous to grant this power than to withhold it and to divide authority. One certainly takes great chances when one puts his career, his whole future, perhaps, and the fortunes of all whom he holds dear, into the hands of one man ; but the strong and the brave and the earnest men of every American community are doing this very thing every hour of every day of every year on our calendar, and are glad of the opportunity to do it. There is no good reason why the rule which works so well and is so universally accepted in every other form of organization ought not to be as readily accepted and will not give equal satisfaction in the educational world. At least, let it be fairly tried. Let it be remembered that the administrator has a reputation at stake, with very little opportunity at present to protect it against the indifference, the inefficiency, the secret hostility or vagaries of the members of his staff. Above all, let it be remembered that the welfare of the student and the reputation of the institution are of far more importance than the welfare and reputation of any officer or employee, of whatever rank, or grade, or length of service.

The new president finds also that nearly every detail of administration must be submitted to his faculty for its approval. If the manager of a railroad desires to increase the speed of his trains or to make other changes in the time schedule, or change a curve or establish new grades, or improve the rolling stock, or set new requirements for entering the service of the company or for continuing in the same, or improve the system of accounting, he very properly consults those who are most directly interested in the particular matter in hand ; but he is not bound by the advice given, much less is he compelled to call a mass meeting of all employees and abide by a majority vote. Not only is his own individual determination final in all matters of general policy, but he may even step inside a special department, make suggestions as to the details of its work, and insist that these be faithfully carried out. Not so in the educational world of today, by many, many miles of departure ! If the average member of the average faculty is by any chance reading these lines, the chill in his veins and the horror in his heart at the bare thought of such assumption of authority or grant of power are easily imagined. It goes without contradiction that in our colleges and universities there is practically no educational supervision whatever. It is doubtful if the bravest college president in the country would quite dare to go into a department and make an issue on the methods of instruction obtaining therein ; and it is still more doubtful if he would be sustained by his board, if he did this. The average board would probably suggest to him that he “ would better get at it in some other way,” — wisely neglecting to state in what other way. Illustrations of the absolute futility of attempts at advice or criticism abound in the experience of every truly wise and wisely ambitious executive. This assumption of absolute independence on the part of heads of departments has been carried to such an extreme in some cases as to furnish the absolute reductio ad absurdum ; but the case must go to the board, even after that! and thus far the board has generally overlooked the reductio, and sustained the department. “ For the president even to inquire as to the methods of my department,” said a professor of more than usual reputation as an investigator, but of somewhat doubtful reputation as an instructor and as a department manager, — “ for the president even to inquire as to the methods of my department is to express dissatisfaction. If he were entirely satisfied, he would not inquire. To inquire, therefore, is simply to offer me an insult.” The board so decided, by its inaction, at least, and further inquiries ceased. Surely this overzealous president was in a hard position. He could be neither satisfied nor dissatisfied except upon information. The most direct and natural and satisfactory method of securing this information was by inquiry of the head of the department; but to inquire was to offer insult! The prevalence of this spirit, and the indifference of trustees toward its existence, explains why one of the most renowned of educational executives recently said: “ I long ago gave up even the attempt to really know much, if anything, about the work of the departments. I now take everything second-hand, and try to determine as well as I may in a very general and rather vague way from reports, from the attitude of students, from the standing of the heads of departments in their special worlds, and from other extraneous and generally rather unreliable sources.” This explains why one president, whose own reputation as a teacher and as an investigator in a certain field is almost as broad as the Union, has been obliged for years to see the work in which he is peculiarly interested and peculiarly expert carried inefficiently, to the detriment of all its students and contrary to the best interests of the institution which he represents, and which he is earnestly endeavoring to advance in the educational world. This accounts for the fact that the trustees of one university persistently neglected the advice of its president, or directly refused to accept it, concerning the work of a certain department; only to lose him at last because, his patience utterly exhausted, he accepted the call of a vastly more important and renowned institution to the direction and control of the very department in which his previous advice had been given no weight. Surely, folly and unwisdom in general management can go no further, but both go to this limit far too often to-day.

Not only does this departmental obstruction to successful administration only too often exist, but more general executive work is too dependent upon faculty action. If we are to accomplish even a fair part of all that is easily possible, educationally, in the next century, we must separate quite sharply the work of instruction and the work of administration. The prime duty of the occupant of every college chair, and of those who are his assistants, is to give themselves unreservedly to research, to investigation, and to instruction. Their own success depends upon their being able to engage in this work without let or hindrance, to carry it without interruption, to give it their undivided attention without the slightest distraction. Hence, the general policy of the institution, its relations to the outside world, its connection with secondary or preparatory schools, its possible recognition of these schools, the requirements for admission, the requirements for degrees, the discipline of students — all properly fall within the executive department, to be determined by the president and by the trustees; and a wise faculty will be glad to have these burdens taken from their shoulders. As a matter of course, a successful administrator will counsel with individual members of his faculty in all such matters, and may even call occasional meetings of the entire faculty in order that he may secure the advantage of general discussion and general expression ; but the initiative and the final responsibility ought to lie with the executive. It is absolutely impossible for a man to keep himself in the temper and enthusiasm of an investigator and instructor in one given line or subject, and at the same time keep such full and complete touch with the outside world as to know exactly what administrative course is the wisest and safest to be pursued. A skilled accountant cannot possibly do more than suggest to an expert salesman at the counter; the salesman at the counter cannot possibly hope to do more than give a few pointers to the head of his department; and all three are but the general advisers of the firm. If the manager of a cotton factory should undertake to determine by the vote of all employees where to buy raw material, when to buy, in what quantities to buy, what prices to pay, with what pattern or in what form or in what quantities to manufacture, when and where and on what terms to sell, he would bankrupt his corporation in a single year, unless the directors were shrewd enough to dismiss him within ninety days after such a policy had been announced. Yet this is no greatly exaggerated illustration of the system — or, better, of the chaos — existing in far too many educational institutions. That the public knows so little of this, and possibly will be slow to check this great waste of time and money, and, above all, of opportunity, is due to the very simple fact that the public is after all rather indifferent to the conditions of educational management and to the results. If the business men of this country felt as keen an interest in the blowholes in education as affecting or failing to affect their particular business life as the government feels in the blowholes in armor plate or of ship steel, there would be an immediate change.

Of course there are points where the parallel between the business world and the educational world is not complete. In the latter there is, naturally and necessarily and wisely, more conservatism. Results are not so tangible, methods cannot be so quickly tested, the personal element is far more important, mathematical rules cannot be as easily established, there must be more continuity of plan and of movement: and because of this, change must come more slowly and must be met more cautiously. But the due consideration of all these factors is precisely that characteristic which marks a wise administrator. If he have not this wisdom, he must surely fail; and the trustees must be just as ready and just as wise and just as firm in their treatment of him, as in their relations to either faculty or minor employees. It is certain, however, that until something of this freedom of movement and this largeness of opportunity accompanies the corresponding expansion of responsibility, there will be even more college presidencies going begging than there are at present. “ Why did you not accept that call ? ” was recently asked one of the brightest and most promising of the younger presidents, concerning a unanimous and pressing call to the headship of one of the most notable institutions in this country. “ Because even casual inquiry showed that two old and decadent men controlled the board ; two old and decadent men, and three men weak in education but strong in scheming and wire-working, controlled the faculty ; and all the old grannies in the community and in the denomination, who thought the institution their private property, controlled both the board and the faculty — and the president was supposed to cut between these three, satisfy all, and shift for himself.”

Rare indeed is that wisdom of administration which was shown recently in a great and growing university. The president reported to the trustees that two members of the faculty, men who he admitted were of rare ability and signally successful as instructors, were publicly criticising the policy of the administration and obstructing the work of the executive, in the face of both friendly suggestion and official reprimand ; and the board promptly called for their resignations. No wonder that others in that faculty are quietly making common cause against both the board and the executive on the self-confessing ground that “ no weak man in this faculty is safe as long as that man remains president.”

One of the difficulties encountered by this new president of ours is the fact that, be he never so strenuous or so careful, there must always be some weak men in his faculty, — some men to whom the quick-witted Indian would give the title “ old-man-afraid-of-his-job.” First-class men in the strictest sense are still rather lonesome in this world : there are very few to the century. A wise executive will be content if he can make up a list of first - class second - class men. The writer of this recalls that he once wrote to an educational friend somewhat as follows : “ I am looking for a first-class man for our work in history. It is not his technical preparation that I am so anxious about — that will probably be complete enough ; he would scarcely dare apply without this. But I wish to get a man who is large-minded, generous in nature, built on a large pattern, wide between the eyes, a born winner of men ; who can grapple young men as with hooks of steel, and make them love and revere him ; who can go out to some of our smaller cities or towns for an evening’s address, and come back with a whole beltful of scalps ; who can immediately secure the confidence of those in charge of secondary schools, and turn them and their pupils toward us ; who will be a power in the university, and in the community, and in the state. If you know of such a man, put me in touch with him.” And the friend seized a blue pencil, and quickly wrote on the margin of the letter : “ I know your man. Will just suit you. Only man in the country that will. Don’t know whether you can get him or not. Do no harm to try. Name is Brooks, — Phillips. Lives in Boston.” There was a wonderful amount of sagacity and wisdom in that answer, and the lesson was not lost.

One of the most successful presidents of a most renowned Eastern institution once declared that he had been examining the ground carefully, and was fully assured in his own mind that if it were possible to dismiss immediately every member of every faculty east of the Alleghanies, not more than one half would be reinstated, and he doubted if more than one third would be. Yes, there will always be weak men in every faculty. Some came by inheritance, — they were endowed with the chair, in those early days when the grantor thought he knew far better than the grantee what ought to be done with the grant. Some have simply outlived their usefulness, and as there are no means for pensioning, they are maintained through a pity for themselves which very unwisely overshadows the pity which ought to go out to those in their classes. Some are so influential in their church, or in some one of the great fraternal organizations, or in politics, or are so beloved by alumni who graduated many years ago and who do not understand either the nature or the demands of the new education, that to disturb them would in all probability cause the institution more loss than to permit them to remain. Some are there because the financial resources of the college will not permit the employment of better men. Some are there for denominational reasons, in the privately endowed or “ church ” institutions ; or for political reasons, in “ state ” schools — though thirty years’ administrative experience and observation prove that both these influences are exceedingly exaggerated in the popular mind. But far more hold over simply because there are not yet enough strong men to go around ! With a hundred applications for a given chair, the choice will narrow down very quickly to a half dozen, then to half that number, and in all probability will finally fall on some one who is not an applicant at all, but is quietly yet successfully at work in some minor position, biding his time and awaiting recognition. Positive teaching power is still a rare gift. Some one has scornfully said that teachers are plentiful — “ They are like the cattle upon a thousand hills ; ” which may be true, but that is not the kind of cattle for which a wise executive is searching. The trouble lies, however, not in the fact that necessarily there are weak men in every faculty, but in the fact which ought not to be necessary at all, that the executive is so rarely permitted to substitute a better man when a better man can be found.

Much the same difficulty is encountered in attempting to secure a wise and philosophical arrangement of the curriculum, a readjustment of departments, better methods of instruction, — a difficulty readily removed by a wise choice of an executive, and by an equally wise expansion of his powers along the line of educational supervision. “ We are doing to-day,” recently remarked a renowned college president, “ what I begged to have done twenty years ago. Could I have had the authority to do it then, and to have called about me men who would have executed my plans, not only would nearly an entire generation have had the benefit of this work, but all whom these touched would have felt this new thought and this new life.” Think what a battle-royal the great president of Harvard has waged for a full quarter of a century, and of what might have been the results had he been given a comparatively free rein from the start. The simple fact is, that in any given faculty not more than two or three men know much, if anything, about the science of education. There are several reasons for this, all at least fairly acceptable. The science of education is one of our newer sciences. The American university puts unusually heavy burdens upon its instructional force, and there is very little time left for a careful consideration of a new science. There are equally heavy demands made upon the pocketbook, and with present salaries there is no margin for two or three educational periodicals, in addition to all that one must expend to maintain his own immediate library. The new science has not yet touched very directly the work of higher education. And, lastly, under the title of Pedagogy a frightful amount of sheer stuff has been palmed off on an unsuspecting and all too credulous educational public. But reasons aside, weighty or not, sufficient or not, the fact remains that most curricula are either thrown together hastily and unintelligently, or follow antiquated and entirely unscientific precedents, or move out along the lines of the personal strength or personal ambition of a very few members of the faculty. Men who know little or nothing of the possibilities of secondary education, or even of its actual condition in the territory from which their institution is drawing its students; men who have never even read the reports of the great national committees on the various phases of education, much less have given these reports careful thought; men who regard any attempt at coördination or correlation as fadding; men who cannot give an intelligent reason for the location of a single study in the entire curriculum, except that of necessary continuity in mathematics and in languages — these men our new president will find to be determining what may be rightly, and efficiently, and wisely, and successfully built upon this substructure. It is easily evident that the president is the one man who has time and opportunity and incentive to take up this work — this vastly important work — of coursebuilding, in the proper temper, with a wide outlook, in an impartial spirit; and who can and will make a comparative study of existing curricula as well as philosophical investigation of fundamental principles. But the organization of our colleges and universities to-day is such that the president is easily overridden in all these matters by any faculty committee into whose hands work that is properly executive is generally committed. The result of all this is the present only too general attempt to build a comfortable house on a six-by-nine foundation, to secure satisfactory technical training with narrow and insufficient preparation, to attempt to establish university methods with students whose preparation to work under such methods has been little more than academic, and really not quite that. “ Out of all this,” says a university president, in a recent report, “ has come a certain resulting irritation on the part of many instructors which is certainly deplorable — even though possibly natural. Men who are specialists, or who more than anything else desire to become specialists, and who find their greatest delight and interest in research and investigation, will necessarily turn back to the work of definite and more elementary instruction with great reluctance, with a certain inaptness born of the very conditions under which their work is carried, and with a very definite impatience (though this is not often recognized by themselves). Naturally, with such men, and under such conditions, it is easier to ( weed out ’ men, to ‘ condition’ or ‘ flunk ’ men, to ‘ turn down ’ men, than it is to patiently and successfully instruct and educate men. The avoidance of this alternate of instruction is easily, though perhaps unconsciously, disguised under the statement that it is necessary to have and to maintain high standards of excellence, — a statement made far more often by unsuccessful instructors than by those who are really competent to teach. Many conferences with graduates and with ex-students, and a careful study of the records of the different departments in this university and of the relations existing between teachers and taught, assure me that a gross injustice has been done to literally hundreds of bright students under the methods to which reference has just been made.”

Our new president must face all this with his hands practically tied. He sees clearly what ought to be done ; he knows that his thought is entirely coincident with that of all who are really well-informed and who speak with easily recognized authority in these matters ; and he realizes also, with a heavy heart, that the young people coming and going at his university have but this one chance to secure wise and efficient and inspiring instruction : yet he must wait, and wait, and wait, simply because the educational world is not yet willing to place its affairs upon a business basis, and accept methods of organization and administration which commend themselves to all sane business men in all undertakings. “ He is attempting to run the university precisely as he would run a woolen factory,” wailed a member of a faculty, somewhat recently, to one of the trustees ; and it was actually scored against the new president in the board that his methods were too commercial! “ There ought to be one spot left in the world where there would be something of the dignity of repose ! ” exclaimed another very learned professor and altogether idle and indifferent teacher, in an institution whose president was working eighteen hours a day in his effort to force the college up to a higher plane; and at the next meeting of the board there was a semi-official intimation that the president ought to be able to get on better and with less friction with his faculty. Said an honored alumnus of one of our most renowned institutions, “ The students’ notebooks in physics for the year 1890 bring just as high a price as those for 1898 ” ! Yet the president of that institution found it impossible to dislodge this calcined and fossiliferous instructor even from his position on the committee on Course of Study, much less from the university ; and what hope for advancement could possibly exist under such a counselor !

A distinguished member of the United States Senate once declared, “ I love my Alma Mater for all that she has enabled me to be and to do in spite of her ! ” — a seeming paradox that will be readily understood by every thoughtful graduate who has at last found his true place in the world’s economy. The spirit of this age accepts the desirability and the necessity of sound and sane training of a very high order, if we are to be saved from the friction and irritation and irretrievable loss that always follow in the train of ignorance and its consequent weakness. Public and private treasure is poured out most freely to secure this more satisfactory preparation for a larger life. But the wear and tear and waste and delay must continue almost unbearable, unless the business of education is regarded in a business light, is cared for by business methods, and is made subject to that simple but all-efficient law of a proper division of labor and of intelligent and efficient organization, — a division of labor which brings the men who are students of the classics, of the sciences, of the literatures, of philosophy, of history, under the wise direction and immediate control of the man who is necessarily and most desirably a student of humanity; with a responsibility which is coincident with the work in hand, and with an authority entirely commensurate with this responsibility. Whatever of executive difficulties and perplexities will then remain, they will not be the peculiar difficulties and perplexities of to-day.

One of the Guild.