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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
There have recently been several changes adopted at Columbia, resulting principally for the benefit of the professors there. The trustees of Columbia have long thought that something should be done to insure a competence for life to those who had given the best part of their strength to the service of the college; and last week they formulated their opinion in a resolution which was unanimously adopted. This gives to any professor who has been in the service of the college for fifteen years, and who has reached the age of sixty-five, the privilege of retiring on half pay.
Another movement in the interest of the professors, is the adoption of what is called the Sabbatical year resolution. This gives to each professor in the college a reeve of absence on half pay for every seventh year. In this resolution Columbia has exactly followed the example of Harvard where the custom of granting the Sabbatical year has been in vogue for a long time.
The matter of the pay of professors has been very often discussed by the trustees of the college, but it has never until lately been thought possible to put them all on an even basis, much less arrange the pay of all the instructors, tutors, etc., in the same way. A supposed or real unevenness of ability among those already employed and candidates for vacant positions, has been the cause of the trouble, and in many cases, where one man is paid $1,000 a year, another in the same grade has been paid $2, 000. To clear away this patchwork system a schedule has been made as follows: Professor, adjunct professor, instructor, tutor, assistant. lecturer, curator. The office of lecturer is only temporary, while that of curator, which is entirely new, has been created to fill the want of some scientific man who can give his whole attention to the collections of the college. Hither to it has been the duty of the professor in a department of take care of his collection, and as he has usually had very little time, the duty has devolved upon one of the assistants. Certain regular salaries have been affixed to the different grades, and if a man is deemed worth a certain price he will be placed in the grade that gives that price.
Another change made is in the awarding of the fellowships. It has been decided that after July 1, 1891, there shall be twelve fellowships; from and after July 1, 1892, eighteen; and from and after July 1, 1893 there shall be twenty-four. The salary affixed to each one of these is $500 a year. Formerly the custom of the college was to award the fellowships by competitive examination; hereafter they will be awarded by the President, at the advice of the University Council, "to those applicants who give evidence of special fitness to pursue courses of higher study and original investigation." All graduates of any college or scientific school are available candidates. The term of office will be one year, but the incumbents, upon recommendation of their professors, and a statement that they wish to continue their studies, may be repainted for two terms of a year each, and no more. Those now holding office may be appointed to one of these fellowships, but in no case shall hold office more than three years. A clause has also been inserted into the above resolution, forbidding any Fellow from engaging himself in other remunerative employment without the consent of the President.
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