More New Kinds of Colleges
A bold and unreasonable parent offered $10,000 a year for four years to any college that would give his son a "custom-made education, a complete job to specifications," and guarantee a result "superior to the usual quantity product." According to the story, as told in the Atlantic, a certain college president lacked the nerve to accept the challenge. But Dr. Hamilton Holt, president of Rollins College, accepts it and says he will do the job for his regular rate of only $700 per year.
Rollins College, says Dr., Holt, offers the following:
A faculty chosen primarily for teaching, not research.
The conference plan of study, with no lectures and no recitations.
Classes limited to twenty students.
A required minimum of eight hours' work per day.
Progress according to ability, rather than by the old lock-step system.
Individual instruction throughout, with the relationships between student and professor "constant, cooperative, informal, democratic, friendly and human."
By this method, says Dr. Holt, "we can guarantee the father to turn out a boy (and in a process that is altogether delightful to him) who will come within 95 per cent of what that particular boy's intellect is capable of achieving."
Simultaneously comes the announcement from President Glenn Frank of Wisconsin that the program worked out for the past three years in the Experimental College by Alexander Meikiejohn has "proved itself with amaxing success." He proposes that it be applied to the entire student body. This would mean that students would devote only 60 per cent of their time to a diversified course, and the remaining 40 per cent to concentrated study of a specific broad topic, such as Athenian civilization. Class attendance would be optional; there would be no quizzing and no examination. "Intellectual awakening" would be the sole objective. Dr. Frank believes that this "will mean a gain of five to fifteen years in the intellectual life of the average student."
At Harvard, the tutorial system and the "reading period"; at Swarthmore and elsewhere, the honors plan; at Antloch the alternation of study with outside work. So the ferment goes on. We are fast getting away from what Hutchins of Chicago calls the country club idea of college and approaching a type of education that will make men and women more fit to cope with the new civilization. --Judge