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The changes for next year in the corps of assistant deans attract attention to that efficient body from many who are not personally acquainted with the workings of University 4. It has been said that Dean Briggs was the first man who ever became a dean without losing his popularity. He carried with him into the office the sympathy and friendly understanding which have made him the best of guides; he established for the University, and as an example for all American colleges the ideal that a dean is not a mere disciplinary officer but a counsellor and friend. The personal element which he introduced has been continued by those who have succeeded him as Dean of Harvard College, and the creation of assistant deans for each class extended it even farther.
The assistant deans are chosen from the men best qualified for their peculiarly ticklish task. They are young but experienced men, who have lost none of their youthful enthusiasm, and are able to sympathize with students who fall into their hands, and to offer the useful advice that it prompted only by complete understanding.
It is obvious that really good material for assistant deans must be scarce. The University has been successful in isolating some of the best, and the relations of the undergraduates with the authorities have consequently been most fortunate. Especially productive of good results is the practice of assigning the same dean to a class for as many years as possible. Student and dean thus come to meet on terms of intimacy and confidence and the effect on discipline and harmony is inestimable.
The deans who are leaving their posts this year leave also two pairs of shoes which would ordinarily be hard to fill. But, most fortunately, of their successors one has proved his ability before; and the other, by his fact and his popularity with the Class of 1926. has given every evidence of being able to care for the Class of 1927. The University is to be congratulated on finding such men to perform this invaluable service of liaison and supervision.
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