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nourishing mother of all, and must itself be pushed to the highest level in preparation for the profession of scholar, thinker, and investigator, there must be gathered also a numerous progeny of special courses or schools, preparing for the various intellectual professions. If the general culture forms the supporting and nourishing trunk, these are the fruit-bearing branches.
From time immemorial, three of these special courses have been regarded as fit constituents of the university, viz., the three traditional liberal professions or courses of medicine, law, and theology. But in modern times, through the enormous increase of scientific knowledge, there have sprung up many scientific professions. The university cannot be complete without preparing for these also. Are not these as noble, as intellectual, as liberal-do they not require as high and varied culture-as the traditional three! In other departments the same is true to a less extent. Journalism and politics must be added to the professions, and therefore prepared for in the university. Yes, even these must be added to the university, and thereby become transformed into true liberal professions. Will it be objected that all these savor too much of the spirit of trade, instead of the true liberal spirit of the university? I answer: Too true; but the more reason why they should be closely united with the university. Thus united, the general and the special cultures will act and react on one another, to the great benefit of both. The general culture will lift the special cultures to the high plane of true professions, by imbuing them with the liberal spirit of the university; while the special courses will impart to the general course the earnestness and purpose characteristic of the direct preparation for life. If the main trunk imparts its generous sap to the branches, causing them to bear more and better fruit, the branches in turn will constantly remind the trunk that the true end of tree-growth is fruit-bearing.
From what has been said, it follows that the special courses must be preceded by a thorough general course. In other words, the special courses, to be liberal or professional courses at all, must be essentially post-graduate. Undergraduate courses cannot make engineers any more than they can make masters of art or doctors of philosophy. There may be- I believe there should be—a wide election and commencing specialization, especially in the upper classes of the college course, in preparation for the complete separation in the graduate courses; but this ought not to be carried to the extent of destroying its character as a general culture course. In a word, if there ought to be at all any more than one first degree (which may be doubtful), then B. S. ought to represent as general a culture as A. B., though of a different kind.
This, I am convinced, is the true ideal of the university-an ideal not yet realized in any country, but which will be reached in the near future, and, as I hope, first in our own country.
There are two opposite errors which infest the popular mind, and hinder the realization of this ideal. According to the one, the university is naught else than the general culture of the college carried to a higher plane; according to the other, it is naught else than a collection of practical schools, with no general culture accompanying, and a wholly insufficient general culture preceding, i.e., a mere collection of handicraft schools. The former error is traditional, but lingers still, and is embodied more or less in all the great time-honored universities of the world. The second error is recent, and the direct outgrowth of the shortsighted materialism of the age. It is even now clamoring for recognition, but fortunately not yet embodied in any respectable institution. According to the one, the educational tree is a palm, stately indeed, and tall, but bearing no branches; according to the other, it is a scrubby manzanita bush, branching from the very roots.
We have said that the true idea is not realized in any country. Let us then briefly compare with it existing systems, and show wherein each falls short.
(1) The English universities of Oxford and Cambridge are indeed noble centers of high intellectual activity and original thought, and, in so far, realize the true ends of a university, but the flavor of mediævalism still hangs about their moss-grown walls. Science is still imperfectly represented, and the scientific professions entirely ignored. Their courses do not pretend to prepare for any special life pursuit, unless it be that of Parliamentarian, or perhaps also, to a limited extent, for teacher and writer in the higher departments of learning. There is, it is true, a deep and growing feeling amongst the best thinkers in England that these universities need essential reform, adapting them to the wants of modern society. But in all the recent talk about university reform, the most vital point-viz., preparation for the higher pursuits of lifeis not even touched. The proposed reform goes no deeper than some extension of lecture and laboratory at the expense of the tutorial method, and some increase of science at the expense of the traditional classics, mathematics, and philosophy. The ideal of the English reformer is the German system; but the German system itself falls short of the true idea. The fact is, the English system is deeply bedded in the structure of English society, and therefore almost incapable of radical reform. The English university has been, and still is to some extent, a finishing school for young noblemen, i.e., for men supposed to be raised above the necessity of any life pursuit. Reform goes no farther than adding to this the preparation of the scientific investigator and the teacher in the higher departments. Under a sense of the shortcomings of the old universities, other institutions embodying a truer idea have sprung up; but the freedom of their development has been greatly hampered by the overshadowing prestige of the older universities.
(2) The German system is the ideal of the most advanced English reformers; and it is indeed a noble system. Nowhere else in the world do we find such enthusiasm for learning, such intellectual activity, both in teachers and pupils, as in the German university. The fruits of this activity, which are constantly pouring forth from the German press, are simply amazing. Judged by these fruits, surely it is the most efficient system in the world, for thought-work is intenser there than anywhere else. Yet I think it has great faults. It falls short of the true ideal through the dominance of medieval and aristocratic traditions; for there is an aristocracy of intellectual pursuits too. The aim of the German university is a preparation for scholar, thinker, and scientific investigator. It tolerates also the three traditional professions of medicine, law, and theology. In all this it leaves little to be desired. In all this it is the ideal for us all. But it does not and will not tolerate the close union with it of the scientific professional schools. It even looks on these pursuits with some scorn, as incompatible with the lofty liberal spirit of the university; as trades rather than professions. This I regard as the chief defect in the German university system. Nothing would so tend to raise these pursuits to the high plane of liberal professions as their union with the university.
(3) The American university has two distinctive features. These are (1) the close union of the college and the university; (2) the full recognition of the professional schools, not only the traditional three, but all that are truly liberal. In other words it fully recognizes that the function of the university is to prepare for all the higher intellectual pursuits of life. Both of these features are in the right direction. That the latter is in accordance with the true idea we have already shown. The former is also, I believe, of the greatest importance; for the close union of the college with the university not only lifts the college courses to a higher plane than we find in the German gymnasium, but also gradually prepares for the greater freedom of the university. Still better, it incites to germination the seeds of the spirit of research. Until very recently, American institutions for higher education consisted of a college with some university features-i.e., some courses leading to higher degrees. The college part was modelled on the English system. The ideal of the reformers of the university part was at first, and still is in our older universities, the German system. But in the distinctive American university this ideal must be modified by the fullest recognition of the scientific professions. This is one of many important characteristic functions of State universities; for a State university must be in touch with all the higher wants of the people.
The real trouble in our American universities is that the rush for practical life is so urgent that there is a strong tendency in the scientific departments to crowd back the professional courses into the undergraduate course, and in the traditional professions of law and medicine to dispense with the college course entirely. In some of our best American universities, the degrees of Civil Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Mining Engineer, etc., are given at the end of a too much specialized undergraduate course. Our own University, I am happy to say, stands on a much higher plane in this regard. We give only B.S. at the end of the undergradute course, and reserve the degree of C.E., M.E., etc., for the completion of a post-graduate course of not less than two or three years; thus putting these degrees on the same footing as Ph.D. But these defects are defects of development rather than of idea, and will disappear with growth. I may be mistaken, but I · cannot but believe that the American university-and, I must add, especially our own University-is more nearly on the straight and narrow way toward the ideal than any other. Its faults consist not so much in wrong direction as in imperfect development. Time will cure this.
I have now given in bare outline what I conceive to be the true idea of the university. I wish in conclusion to justify it against some objections which are even now being raised by misguided conservatives. There can be no doubt that the transformation of the old idea of the