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his party's debts or providing for the future. His appointees cannot escape an unhealthy sense of representing him, thus often acting with less independence and firmness than is natural in trustees holding straight from the people.
“Common experience during the last fifty years teaches with certainty that the efficiency of any corporation ... depends on its having one responsible head who has knowledge of all its concerns, and gives guidance and inspiration in all its principal activities. A university corporation cannot be an exception to this rule for securing efficiency. Again, the experience of the last fifty years teaches clearly that in all fields of human activity it is the trained expert who must invent and give direction. The president of a university must be either an expert himself in educational administration, or he must be a man who thoroly understands how to utilize expert service.”
No institution of learning has tried the plan of assigning its main executive function to a faculty or to a faculty committee or to faculty members in rotation without complete or relative failure. On the other hand—a significant factAmerican higher education dates its present era of triumph exactly from the time when colleges began centralizing executive power and, so to speak, “mobilizing” their presidents. The venerable University of Virginia has at last provided for a real presidency and ably filled the same.
This reform was necessitated, not because faculties did not contain many men capable of good executive service if permanently and responsibly set thereto, but by the fact that the administration of a great educational plant is specialist work of a high order, giving rise almost daily to new and complicated problems, with which the ablest heads otherwise preoccupied are in no condition to cope.
The most imperative service required of a university board is therefore the selection of a good executive. The choice is: delicate also. Few offices in existence are harder to fill. Unless an athlete intellectually and physically, the functionary will do little as an author, investigator, or classroom teacher, yet
i President Eliot in his address at Yale, November 15, 1905.
he must be scholar enough to appreciate sympathetically all the various sorts of educational activity under his direction. He needs a Titan's power for toil, yet must always work con amore, like an artist. He must know men and be able to get on with them. Students' nature and habits must be familiar to him. Tho a mere business man would ill fit the position, the university president must be an adept in affairs, for, however numerous, faithful and capable his aides, none but he will duly look after the institution's temporalities. Representing the school before the public, he must display democratic spirit and manner, good temper and ability to speak and write, yet, with these, eminent discretion and reserve. He must be cordial, just, honorable, patient, courageous, magnanimous, inflexibly devoted to his charge. He must possess not only enterprise and initiative, but, in particular, dynamism, that marvelous gift, rarer than almost any other found among men, the power to bring things to pass.
Without formal resolution to that effect such a president becomes the recognized intermediary between the trustees on the one hand and the teaching force, students and employees on the other. Complaints, appeals, suggestions from any of these find their way to the government thru him and are discussed before him. He sees to it that all communications intended for the government, especially any reflecting on himself, reach their destination and are fully considered.
A suitable president is looked to as the finally responsible source of faculty nominaticns. He of course nominates only after fullest conference with all colleagues having relevant wisdom, and the board does well to assure itself that he proceeds thus. To assign the nominating prerogative to any other or others or responsibly to join others in it would be at the expense of congruity, vigor and orderly growth in the teaching system. Departments and even whole faculties easily become ossified. Unless prevented they are apt to recruit themselves by inbreeding. Methods become antiquated, teaching stale, the atmosphere soporific.
The president is the proper ultimate authority, under the board, its rules and the law, touching the admission of students to the university and their disciplinary dismissal. Deans, faculties and faculty and student committees may advise and assist in the ordinary routine of these labors, but settlement of the deeper questions involved cannot safely be lodged elsewhere than in the chief. He alone can fully feel the responsibility; on him alone can responsibility be focused. Others lack his facilities for acquiring experience, judgment, a policy. Only a unitary authority can produce uniform procedure. A good dean or group of deans frequently conferring may secure this, but discipline by faculties or committees is notoriously unsteady, now lax, now oversevere. The dismissal and disgrace of students by fellow-students, said to occur in certain universities, no faculty member scrutinizing the evidence or even knowing whether any exists, so far from being a model of discipline, is indefensible from every point of view. It is a wonder how it can prevail in any American community without encountering the law.
The student government movement has in one particular wrought great good, viz., by emphasizing as ground to the demand for right conduct in students not fussy rules but social and public spirit, regard for the common weal. Since this change college pranks are less popular and bid fair to disappear. It is more and more recognized that only doings constituting good form at home are good form in college, no separate college code being now defended.
In some centers the continuance of many rules hinders this reform. Specifically “college” rules seem arbitrary to students and most of them are somewhat so. College rules should be few, brief and preferably unwritten, being the ordinary dictates of propriety and breeding as they obviously apply to the circumstances.
Student government may be serviceable in important matters such as securing order and silence in study rooms, decorum in general, the care of buildings and grounds, but in dealing with serious offenses it nearly always fails. You should wonder if it did not. How can youth averaging twenty years of age be expected to succeed at problems involving conflicts of evidence, college policy, men's rights, reputations, characters, destinies-perplexities to the oldest and wisest? It does not appear that student rule is anywhere a sufficient antidote against “cribbing.” The authorities of one university seem to think it is so there, but, pressed for evidence, give only what is vague; while such prevention as is got depends in large part on the aid of Judge Lynch deprecated above.
So much remark on discipline does not imply that the writer believes in much discipline. In a just administration students' behavior need cause little anxiety. While human nature continues as it is, however, disorder that cannot be neglected will sometimes arise under the sanest college régime. Every interest demands that such cases be handled with justice, firmness and consistency.
Whenever authority of any sort is delegated, the individuals or committees, whether deans, professors or students, on whom it devolves have a right to know the exact nature and limits of it, within which bounds they should not only be left free to do the work in their own way without intrusion or supervision, but be supported and defended to the utmost in their findings. A president makes a great mistake who practices sitting with every committee or attending every faculty meeting. What such bodies are set to do trust them to do freely and independently, even at the risk of now and then a faux pas, which, if serious, can be corrected privately, without chagrin to any one. The president is thus relieved of much unnecessary toil; the sense of responsibility felt by those doing the work insures superior performance; and men receive valuable training in indispensable duties. Literal ubiquity on the part of a president is unfortunate always, but its worst consequences emerge in interregnum periods.
It lies mainly with the president to shape a university's task, ideals, standards, policies, ambitions, to determine whạt it shall be or try to be. Others are urged to advise, a liberty of which most avail themselves, doing all they can to provide steering wisdom, and a sensible captain will be quick to seize
and apply the many good directions thus thrown out. The best come from trustees and faculty, having the interests of the institution at heart. The true leader will contemplate no new enterprise of moment unless sure of their concurrence, nor ever think the less of a hint for having originated outside his own mind.
Were not experience the other way, one would expect trustees themselves, thru outlook committees or otherwise, to plan ahead, forecast demands, reform methods, displace inefficient officials, stimulate the sluggish, replenish the funds, arrange for new departments, lift the standard, try and secure symmetry to the total work. As a matter of fact, such initiative is on almost all hands left to the executive.
The mode of administration sketched is often denounced as a one-man power, and, where it is so used, possibly sometimes the case, as to render that a fitting epithet, the system is on the defensive. But concentration in executive control need not involve and should never in fact carry with it any arbitrary procedure. The executive will not attempt the impossible but push only measures, now and then, perhaps, dubious-looking at first, whose propriety is, when they unfold, obvious to all. If he exhibits judgment, justice and zeal for his trust, none will ever think of his authority as excessive or even, for that matter, of his having any at all.
What has been outlined cannot be very exactly the order unless the president is a fit man. This is why no detailed or iron rules for college administration can be laid down. A president may be far from the ideal yet too good to dismiss; in which case the proper presidential prerogative not only will but must be trenched upon at points. If the foreman is lax in discipline his colleagues will push him. Should he prove weak of judgment, or arbitrary, in naming for vacancies, the board will have no recourse but to go behind him and ascertain for itself what to think of candidates. And so on. Trustees are not always at fault in deviating from normal paths. They should, however, be slow in so deviating, for it is always one of two evils, even when the less. In mere business mat