For the past 60 years a civil war has been raging across the nation. But instead of bullets and shells, the combatants have slashed each other with words, obstinacy, and lack of cooperation.
The battlefields are the American Universities. The opponents--educators.
On one side stand the faculty of the graduate schools of education who hurl back with equal momentum the innuendoes slung at them by the professors of the liberal arts colleges. The root of the controversy, say the Faculties of the Arts and Sciences, is that the schools of education pay too much attention to the mechanics of education, rather than to what subjects to teach.
President Conant, in 1944, appealed to both groups of educators to come to some sort of agreement. "Perhaps the greatest single change that one could hope for in the immediate future," he said, "would be a burying of the hatchet between the professors of liberal arts colleges and so-called professional educators. The two feuding parties," he continued, "have been on the one hand those who profess a knowledge of subjects, and on the other those who profess a knowledge of education, or are teaching in our public schools."
While progress is being made throughout the nation to narrow the gap between the two groups of educators, at Harvard there are definite signs of an Armistice.
The School has a greatly-expanded faculty; it is enlarging the scope of research and scholarly investigation along with the training of a small number of promising students; it is placing great emphasis on the training of administrative leaders for school systems; and it is working in much greater harmony with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Enrollment Reaches 270
The 270 students at present enrolled at the School are a far cry from the white shod, grew-flanneled undergraduates they pass everyday. The would be teachers are one of the oldest groups studying in the University, ranging from 22 to 52 years old. Because so many of them are already teaching in secondary schools, over half are enrolled as part-time students only. These part-time students pay for each course they take separately, eventually accumulating enough credits for one of the various degrees the school offers. Twice as many men as women are enrolled; almost all students live at home or in boarding houses, very few in the Graduate Center.
The School is hampered somewhat by being centered in an old and out-moded building, Lawrence Hall, a red-brick structure near the Jefferson physics lab. The old building, however, is partially compensated for the fact that the school has a young and aggressive dean.
In 1948, Francis Keppel '38 was appointed Dean of the Graduate School of Education. Only 36 years old, the youthful Dean's energy and ability have to a great extent been responsible for the financing and execution of the School's reorientation program.
Assistant Dean of Freshmen from 1939 to 1941, and Assistant to Provost Buck for two years after the war, Keppel has renovated the Graduate School of Education and has had tremendous influence in drawing up the plans for the "truce among educators."
"The Civil War is a waste of time and talent," Keppel commented, "and we can't afford the fight any more. We are doing our best in trying to teach these people in the best way."
The change in the School since Keppel took over is not so much a change in policy as it is a change in staff and emphasis. While the student body has not been appreciably enlarged, there has been a big expansion in research and field projects.
Explaining the reasons for expansion, Keppel stated in 1948 that the "study of fundamental problems of education in our society would benefit from the addition of greater contributions from the systems of analysis and the findings of anthropology, clinical and social psychology, economics, intellectual and social history, political science, philosophy, and sociology . . . The focus of the School's interest must remain steadily upon the educational system of our society."
One of the largest and earliest projects undertaken by the G.S.E. was the establishment of the Laboratory of Human Development in 1949. Created to study the behavior of children, the eventutal goal of the project is to help schools understand the needs, resources, and ideals of the children placed in their care.
Under the direction of Robert R. Sears, Professor of Education and Child Psychology, the Laboratory is staffed with psychologists, anthropologists, and educators. Students use the Laboratory for research projects, and undergraduates from the College's Psychology and Social Relations Departments have done honor these there. This is one way in which the strife between educators is being lessened.
Early childhood social motives was the first study undertaken by the Laboratory. These social motives, such as drives to dependency, aggression and competition, set the patterns of living, and must be understood before the schools can assist in child development.
Many New Programs
Other brand new developments at the School of Education include a nursery school; a new training program for elementary school teachers; a program of Fellows in Education comparable to the Neiman Fellow program; and a Center for Field Studies, which is contracted to analyze the needs of a certain community in terms of its schools, and which also provides opportunity for graduate students to combine their theoretical studies with analyses of practical problems in the field.
The School's new expansion program has gotten off to a good start by gifts and grants totaling over one million dollars. This sum has come primarily from the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Kellogg Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Keppel decided early in the planning that the School should try to carry out the new program over at least a six-year period, and that new support should simultaneously be sought to continue the activities after that time. Approximately four million dollars, it was estimated, would be needed to provide for new professorships and more scholarships, while estimates on the new Education Building the School wants to erect run as high as one-and-a-half million more.
Expand Budget Three-Fold
In the academic year of 1947-48, the Graduate School of Education had an all-inclusive budget of $220,000. Dean Keppel estimates next year's budget to be about $600,000. Thus in the five years Keppel has been Dean, the budget has been expanded almost 300 percent.
According to Keppel, "the School has grown apace. I feel that we're really beginning to go places now," he added. With regard to the size of the School, there have been no basic changes in policy. The Faculty still wishes to maintain a small student enrollment and, so far as possible, to have a student body carefully selected as to personality, interest academic promise, and geographical distribution.
Of significance, though, in the expansion of the G.S.E. is the increase in the number of faculty members. While the student body has remained about the same sime since 1946 the School's Faculty has almost doubled.
New Courses Added
Curriculum has also undergone changes. In conjunction with its new programs for degrees, the Faculty set up a committee to analyze the courses offered by the School, and to make suggestions for changes to meet this new scheme. The result of the committee's investigations was a dynamic change in course offerings for 1950-51, as compared with 1949-50. In 1949-50, 60 half-courses were offered. Last year there were 72 offered, including 24 completely new courses, and 12 courses under old titles but whose content was substantially changed from the previous year.
This year, 89 courses of instruction are offered to the students at the School of Education. Within the 17 fields in which courses are given, classes vary from comprehensive introductory systematic courses to seminars for individual study on a tutorial basis. Examinations are given only in the systematic courses.
Some example of the names of courses offered are, Educational Administration and the Determination of Educational Policy; History of Educational Thought; and Science in the Secondary School.
The first field of study for careers trains recent college graduates who have no teaching experience for teaching positions in elementary and secondary schools, Supported mainly by the Ford Foundations, this program leads either to the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching, or Master of Education.
Convinced that secondary school teaching requires both scholarship and professional competence, the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences jointly sponsor the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching.
"This equal emphasis on competence in teaching and on understanding of the subject-matter field," Keppel declares, "presupposes a unity of purpose within the University for the preparation of teachers. The courses in the Faculty of Education are designed with this unity in mind and . . . the policies for the degree are established through the active cooperation of scholars in the field of Education and in the academic disciplines."
At a Faculty meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences last term, Keppel proposed that the jointly sponsored A.M.T. program be continued. In previous years there had been overlapping and inconsistent legislation by the Faculty towards the program. Provost Buck, with the help of Keppel, codified this legislation, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted unanimously for continuance. The vote represented a Faculty vote of confidence in the A.M.T. program, and another example of greater cooperation between the two areas at the University.
Teachers Attend School
The second career program at the School is for experienced teachers who are seeking advanced positions such as principal, director of guidance, and so on. Third division of preparation is more academic. It is for those experienced school administrators who wislr to become professors, scholars, teachers of teachers, or just better administrators. This last program leads to the degree of Doctor of Education.
The Graduate School of Education is cooperating with 21 other Eastern Liberal Arts Colleges in its undertaking to train secondary school teachers. Concerned over the disproportionately small number of students who are going into public teaching, educators from these colleges, in conjunction with the Graduate School of Education, have drawn up a plan to increase interest among their students in secondary and elementary teaching. Fellowships for a year's study at the G.S.E. will be available to those who qualify next year when the program will begin.
Grants of $45,000 for fellowships, and $33,000 for instruction and administration, will be given annually for three years by the Ford Foundation.
"Truce Among Educators"
Representatives from the cooperating colleges felt that professors in their colleges have often mistrusted "education" courses and teachers of "education" and as a result have not suggested teaching as a possible career to promising students. The program was designed therefore to improve this situation by relating the undergraduate program with the graduate study of education, and to provide accurate information on the occupational details of public school teaching.
The program will be carried out through courses, apprenticeship field studies, research, and writing, and will lead to either the A.M.T. or Master of Education degree.
Keppel's views on the new program parallel Conant's appeal of 1944 for a "truce among educators," Conant declared, at that time, that "The necessity for good teaching is so obvious as to require no special emphasis in connection with either general education or education for a career. The problem of recruiting the members of the teaching staff and their adequate training is, however, full of difficulties," he added.
During the past three years, there has been a notable increase in the number of full-time students, while part-time student enrollment has been reduced. This is in line with changing faculty opinion which now believes that the best work can be done with students who devote their full attention to graduate study, rather than those whose time is divided between graduate study and a job of some sort. Recent statistics show that the number of full-time students has risen, between 1948 and 1951, from 99 to 141, whereas the number of part-time students has dropped in the same period from 153 to 129.
The Graduate School of Education is a relatively small school in terms of other teacher-training institutions, but this has no bearing on the extent to which students can got placed in jobs. Last year every graduate in the A.M.T. program was offered a job. Some declined to take jobs. However, because in some instances it required moving to a new locale, and they would rather wait until a job in their area was offered. In the past eight years, over 85 percent of graduates from all three programs have been placed by the School's placement office. The success of graduates who compete for their first job, according to Dana M. Cotton. Director of Placement, is well above the national average.
While it is still too early to pass final judgment upon the Graduate School of Education and its new activities enough can be seen of its program in the past five years to speculate on the School's future. In his annual report last year. President Conant noted the School's progress so far.
Conant Praises School
"To say that the School plans to influence American education through research and the training of a limited number of highly selected students for positions of leadership is by no means enough," he stated. "All Universities of course, have a similar aim . . . What I believe to be of particular significance about the plans of the Faculty of Education is the way in which the Faculty is proceeding with its work.
"It proposes in effect to attract the attention of scholars, particularly in the social sciences to the placed of the public school in our mobile society . . . Even in the few years since the new Dean has guided development the potentialities of the undertaking have been commented on favorably by those familiar with the problems in this field it is essential that capital funds be secured before the temporary financing lapses."
And if it is possible that this can be done, as Conant wisely forces "a distinguished future for this graduate school seems assured."