That American college men are in a veritable state of bondage was the theme of a recent address by Dr. Leroy Burton, president of the University of Michigan. The impossibility of any self-determination in the matter of curricula prevents the student with initiative and capable faculties reaching the intellectual heights he might attain if given free reign. Dr. Burton would give the upperclassman freedom from the group course restrictions and would allow him to follow the dictates of his own enthusiasm.
Up to a certain point such discussion does not apply to the technical student, for his is a specific training toward a very definite end. From the standpoint of the general student, however, this growing viewpoint in American college circles means the development of a more splendid educational opportunity than has hitherto existed here.
Such a system of free choice could only be open to the student showing evidences of capacity and leadership during his first two years. The evincing of these qualities would give the student the privilege of breaking out of an inflexible course to follow the bent of his mind in anything and in any way. He would be allowed to browse throughout the curriculum pasture without restriction. To students ambitious and of independent mind this would be a desiratum satisfied in the best possible matter: The graduate schools show its effect as well as the English system. Graduate Students are willing to work even excessively long hours because they are taking the work of their choice; while the English student with his freedom works enthusiastically and naturally attains a broader education.
The fact that educators of such eminence as Dr. Burton are becoming favorable to this plan is of moment, and should serve as an impetus urging men to develop their leadership and their interest that the application of such a plan might prove feasable. The Tech.