For Professors Who Teach
President Little of the University of Michigan is reported by the Associated Press to have said that 85 per cent of college undergraduates do not go to college to study. He proposes to reduce this proportion by making the entrance requirements more difficult.
"There is a corollary to President Little's observation which I have not seen mentioned in the discussions of how college students spend their time. This is, that there seems to be a distinct relationship between the percentage of students who do not study and the percentage of professors who are not good teachers. My own opportunities for observation have been only occasional, but I have noticed, with much interest that college professors who have a reputation as good teachers, and who pay more attention to their classroom work than to their personal studies, have large classes of voluntary students and do not have difficulty in getting their students to work.
"If I am right in thinking that the reason why 85 per cent of the college students do not study is because 85 percent of the faculty do not know how to teach them, the remedy does not lie in the entrance examination. My impression is that most of the harping on the need of making the way into college more difficult is a smoke screen behind which members of college faculties are concealing their inability to impart to others the knowledge and interest they possess in the subjects which they profess. They are, of course, quite justified in doing this if the college exists, as some seem to think, for the sake of the professors.
"If, however, it is the student who is important, college executives must flood some way to free themselves from the thralldom to their faculties, by insisting that new appointments, and promotions as well shall depend primarily upon ability to impart knowledge and interest to young people. This and not stiffer entrance requirements, is the way to increase the number of graduates who will throughout their lives do credit to their Alma Mater.
"President Little is himself if rumor may be trusted, a shining example of the importance of not neglecting the 85 per cent he now wishes to get rid of. With his abilities he would undoubtedly by now be a multimillionaire if he had been denied entrance to college. Instead, he passed most of his four college years with no thought of academic distinction, until chance rather than intention on his own part, threw him under the spell of a teacher who inspired him with an abiding passion to find out certain things. Today, as president of the Michigan University, with a recognized reputation as a medical scientist there is no man in America with greater opportunities for usefulness to the Nation as a whole if he does not persist in raising the entrance requirements." G. P. Winahop In the New York Times