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What is perhaps the most controversial point in educational discussion today hinges upon the relation between the university and the world. The amazing growth of the technical graduate school in all the universities of this country, and the increasing emphasis in many upon the training of teachers has raised the question of whether education can be divorced from life, whether too little attention is not being paid by universities to the practical problems to be encountered by its graduates. The investigation of the criminal procedure of Greater Boston which is to be undertaken by the faculty of the Law School exemplifies the most commendable form which academic participation in public affairs can be expected to assume.
There is one kind of education which can be neatly folded together, tied, and placed in a drawer with one's diploma. It is a perfectly respectable thing. It represents a certain amount of work, and it exemplifies an attitude toward education which has never failed of strong supporters. There is another kind, however, which admits as its primary aim the equipment of a human being with tested tools and a certain proficiency with which he may better realize his ultimate potentialities in life. That this latter sort is the kind which is necessary and desirable today is beyond dispute. Life is becoming complicated to the point where tools and selective judgement are vital. The medieval whose basic creed denied legitimacy to the temporal things of this earthly life could well afford to regard his education as something apart: today, with different standards and different conditions to be met, such an attitude must inevitably mean suicide.
Granted this necessity for the University to play an active part in the evolution of society, any step toward the cloistering of knowledge or toward its segregation from what is practical, should be discouraged. The Law School investigation, on the other hand, becomes an example of the highest service which a university can hope to render. It bears a close kinship to the spirit which has imbued the American graduate school in its recent development. It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of this application by a university of its expert minds to the solution of problems which affect equally each unit of the society in which they arise.
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