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By the decision to devote itself principally to the training of graduates in research work, Johns Hopkins university returns to the policy of its founders. This hardy step involves the gradual elimination of a thriving college, now having more than a thousand candidates for the A. B. degree, and the sacrifice of the loyalty of many a staunch alumnus.
From the scholastic point of view, the advantages of the move more than balance the loss of picturesque, undergraduate activities. Many institutions furnish collegiate atmosphere, but not the opportunity for earnest study which presents itself at Johns Hopkins. In universities which combine the functions of graduate and undergraduate instruction, the college man often looks with suspicion on the older student who is so obviously and completely engrossed in bookish work. At best, the two sections of the college world pursue their diverse interests interfering with one another as little as possible. But in the classroom, friction develops between the needs of mature and the capacities of immature minds.
At Johns Hopkins is now established a haven for those exceptional souls who are inspired by a pure love of learning. There, professors can set a pace to suit the advanced student.
But from the human standpoint, the danger of over-specialization exists to a great degree in a university of graduates. With the efficient elimination of friction between the scholar and the simple seeker of a baccalaureate degree devotees of higher learning are apt to lose one of their few remaining contacts with the world. Just this lack of varied experience prevents the scholar from becoming a great teacher. Since the American plan of advanced study well nigh excludes its followers from the untheorized actions of their fellow men, it is to a certain degree incomplete.
Johns Hopkins University, a representative of the ultimate development of higher education in this country, exaggerates both the virtues and vices of the system. As an immense fact finder, a machine for the acquisition of knowledge, it will no doubt be scholastically successful. One can only hope that it will also achieve the difficult, human success of training teachers, capable of inspiring their pupils.
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