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In the Graduate Schools

Less Required Work and More Research With Tutors Mark Changes in School


In this annual report of Dean D. L. Edsall, of the School of Medicine, comments on several important changes which are taking place in the School and in its work.

The first of these is the reduction of the number of hours of required work, and the appointment of a considerable, number of advisors. These two steps have been closely related, the second being in a direct line with the purpose of the first, which is the development of the capacities of the individual student. The report says in this connection.

"The practice of medicine is characterized, beyond other professional work, by complete independence of action and lack of supervision from the time the young man begins his career. He is further more equally characterized by the extra-ordinary speed with which new information accumulates. The practitioner must acquire much of this new information and in large part must judge himself of its value or worthlessness.

"He thus especially needs not merely a severe training in established facts and methods but training also that will give him a background which will permit him to comprehend further progress and to progress himself with it. In order words no one more needs some training in rapid but critical reading. Until recently, however, the pressure upon the medical student was such that it was extremely difficult for him to do reading aside from the text books that the routine demands.

"At the time the required hours were reduced a considerable number of advisors were appointed, each of them to offer to a small group of students assigned to him personal advice as regards routine work, advanced voluntary effort, reading and the like, having in mind that the usual student comes into the Medical School without having gained in his college much independence or judgments in such matters. But the experience with this advisor system has shown it to be inadequate."

The report then goes on to discuss the defects of the system and relates the following changes which are now going into effect:

"Chief among these changes is the establishment of a committee of the most skillful of the advisor's, who will see personally and at length each year, within a few days of the opening of the School, each entering student in order to learn at once his personality, interests, training, and capacities, and assign him to an advisor likely to be especially desirable for him. This committee will also gather information, especially useful to the advisors, will develop further methods of training them will arrange for confer excess of the whole group of the advisors from time to time for discussion of their problems and methods, and will also, as seems desirable, make recommendations regarding changes in the personnel in order to reach ultimately the group best suited to this especial work."

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