MEANS AND ENDS
"The most important general educational change effected in Harvard College during recent years" is, Professor Moore's estimate of the tutorial system in the current "Alumni Bulletin". Few will disagree. But that he should write: "The net result is a larger intellectual interest among undergraduates than before", is more surprising, for inasmuch as the article is printed by the "Standing Committee of the Board of Overseers in Relations with the Alumni" it may be judged to represent the matured opinion of the Faculty. There seems to be no reason to doubt Professor Moore's conclusion; the few figures he quotes are quite convincing enough in themselves; but as always there is an old guard that resents changes and innovations. If the appearance of this article is an indication that even these Faculty objectors have been won over, it should indeed be the occasion for rejoicing.
If, then, the opinion is general that the tutorial system has created "a larger intellectual interest among undergraduates", the time is ripe for further advances, for progress which has waited only upon the establishment of that fact. Since the new system and that alone, for courses have changed but little, is responsible for this highly desirable stimulation of undergraduate study, the time has come for more serious efforts to broaden its scope. The first of these ought to be directed toward a radical reduction in course requirements.
Except for a few minor changes in the requirements of those who declare themselves candidates for distinction, the whole time burden of the tutorial system has been added to that of the old course system. Students have been driven either to sacrifice a thoroughly commendable interest in athletics and other so-called extra-curricular activities, or to make superhuman efforts which are not possible to the average undergraduate. The eleven officers of last year's class who graduated with distinction were of this second type. They deserve the highest praise, but even for them it might have been better had there been more time for reflection and deliberation. For the average undergraduate the need for time to devote to the "deepened interest in intellectual pursuits" fostered by the tutorial system is urgent and pressing.
A reduction of course requirements to ten or twelve is wholly advisable. For the first two years the present schedule of four courses might well be continued; the elements of any new study can be handled very satisfactorily in the present lecture introductory courses. But after the groundwork has been laid, the task of guiding growing intellectual interest can be safely entrusted to the tutorial system, as present facts tend to demonstrate. To require more than two courses each, in addition to tutorial work during the Junior and Senior years is, then, to impose the present undue demands upon student energy.
A more reasonable adjustment of the two systems course and tutorial will confer the added benefits of freeing some gifted teachers for a share of tutorial work. It will also give the undergraduate time to sit in on lecture courses which he finds quite impossible at present. If the tutorial system does indeed foster the end for which the College is established, is there any reason why the old system should not be firmly shaped to allow it full scope?