Arrangements have been made for an exchange of tutors next year between Harvard University and Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The announcement was made last night that President Lowell had completed negotiations for the exchange during his recent trip abroad. Two Harvard tutors will teach in the English universities next year, one in History at Oxford, the other in Economics at Cambridge, an Oxford tutor in History and a Cambridge tutor in Economics coming here at the same time. The system of college tutors at Harvard has been in operation in these subjects for approximately ten years, while in the two great English universities it has been maintained in some form for a century, and it is believed that the experience acquired by the English universities during this long period cannot fall to be of great value here.
The arrangements thus made constitutes an important step in the development of the Harvard tutorial system, which is an innovation in American college education. Its most striking characteristic and that which differentiates it from other systems, is that the work of the tutor is independent of courses, not subordinate to them; for tutorial instruction is quite separate from course instruction.
Started Here in 1912
The tutorial system was inaugurated Harvard in 1912. At that time a general examination for graduation was established experimentally for men concentrating in History, Government and Economics. It was felt that these examinations could be made effective and, at the same time, fair to the student only by the development of a system of individual guidance, so six tutors were appointed. Since then the general examination, with or without tutors, has been put into effect as a requirement for men concentrating in a number of other subjects, all in fact, except Mathematics and the natural sciences,--and the number of tutors having been accordingly increased from six to over 30.
Of the conditions here, Professor H. H. Burbank, G. '15 says in his recent annual report as chairman of the board of tutors in History, Government and Economics. "Attendance at the conferences is not compulsory. There is no system of monitoring or reports of absences to the college office. The fear of disciplinary action cannot serve as a stimulus to meet appointments or to prepare assignments. It is true that the authority to employ disciplinary measures can be invoked if the occasion arises, but in eight years no resort to such measures has been necessary. Yet the cutting of tutorial appointments is comparatively rare, far less than the cutting of courses. The majority of concentrators, well over 60 per cent, seldom fail to meet their engagements. The tradition of tutorial work has become firmly established".
Under the arrangements just made Dr. R. P. Blake G. '09 will go to University College, Oxford, taking the place of either Mr. Leys or Mr. Keir, who will come from that college to Harvard, while Professor H. H. Burbank G. '15 will go to Kings College, Cambridge, in place of Mr. Shove, who will come to the University.
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