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The following report to the President by Dean Wallace B. Donham summarizes the work done at the Graduate School of Business Administration under the George F. Baker Foundation during the academic year 1927-28.
The twenty years that this department has been in existence have largely been devoted to experiments. The Faculty has by trial and error delimited its field of instruction, set up within this field an organized curriculum, developed methods of teaching and teaching material.
While these experiments are still going on and will continue, the School is well past the point where in its total activities it can be considered experimental whether judged by its appeal to students, by the practical and professional value of its training as shown by the accomplishments and attitudes of its graduates, by the demand for its product by business men, by the contributions of its Faculty to an important area of human knowledge and endeavor, by the support which it has attracted from industry and from business men, or by its promise of further accomplishment in all these fields. It may fairly forget the early questioning as to its status in the University and devote its attention in the future to perfecting its methods and material, to the strengthening of its Faculty and to the fulfilment of its professional, ethical and scientific opportunities.
On the material side it has fared well. Starting in 1908, with an underwriting of $15,000 a year for five years, it has at the close of this 20-year period an endowment and income from tuition sufficient to insure the operation of the School without deficit, and, in the George F. Baker Foundation, a physical equipment probably excelled by no university department in its adjustment of buildings and land to educational needs. These resources could not have been attained, however, had it not been for the success with which its educational and scientific work has been carried on. In its total picture the Faculty may well be pleased with the past, and it looks forward with confidence and enthusiasm.
Nevertheless, the School's needs continue great. Many things are wrong or undeveloped in the School. The Baker Library is inadequately endowed and has large unsolved problems ahead. The research of the School, by which its present standing has been built up and upon the continuance of which the maintenance of these standards wholly depends, is still subject to the risks of annual contributions from a shifting group of business men and industries. The years ahead are full of dangers as well as opportunities, but therein lies the interest in the School's future.
For the greater part of the academic year the administration of the School has been under the able direction of Acting Dean O. M. W. Sprague. This year marked the first time in the history of the School when the chief problems of physical plant and equipment were solved. The efforts of the administration were directed toward improving teaching methods, developing and expanding research and continuing the classification and cataloguing in the Library.
The number of students enrolled in the School was 751, representing 169 colleges in the United States, besides 27 colleges abroad,--in Hawaii 1; the Philippines, 3; Austria, 1; Canada, 5; Egypt, 1; England, 3; France, 4: Hungary, 1; Japan, 3; Russia, 1; Sweden. 1; Switzerland, 2; Turkey, 1. Harvard College sent 112 students; Yale, 35; University of California, 26; Stanford University, 24; Dartmouth College, 22; Princeton University, 21; Williams College, 18; Brown University, 16; Bowdoin College, 15; and Massachusetts institute of Technology, 14. Students registered from 43 states, the District of Columbia, Hawall, the Philippines, and 19 foreign countries. The largest state delegations were from Massachusetts, 153; New York, 66; California 56; Ohio, 49; and Pennsylvania, 26.
The Baker Library
During the year a beginning was made on a more complete classification system as applied to Business Literature. Our present classification was made in the early years of the School before the Faculty had an adequate basis for the work. It is very expensive to change but a welcome gift makes substantial progress possible. Concomitant with this classification work a start has been made upon building up an adequate cataloguing organization. Many books which have been stored for several years have been made available. Classification is of great importance, and to work out this problem in such a way that it may serve students and business men alike, a substantial number of years must elapse before the study can be completed. The aim is to carry on the work of cataloguing as rapidly as the classification work is advanced.
Generous donations of books, pamphlets and manuscripts continue to pour in and these are appreciated as increasing the scope of the collection, but on the other hand they require an augmented staff and cannot remove the necessity for selectively directed purchases. Partial relief in this direction has opportunely appeared through the generosity of the anonymous donor of the $100,000 Florence T. Baker Fund. The income from this Fund is available for the purchase of books and other printed material.
During the year the School decided to operate, on an experimental basis, a special session for business executives. This plan was successfully carried out during the summer of 1928. In the period from July 9 to August 18 five courses were offered: "Finance," "Public Utility Management and Economics," "Marketing, Sales Management and Advertising," "Marketing, Retail Store Management and Advertising," and "Transportation."
The enrolment was gratifying. One hundred and seventy-nine men, of whom 170 were business men from 95 companies and 9 were teachers from other colleges, took the full six weeks' course. The ages of men ranged from 21 to 60 years, but 85 per cent were evenly distributed over the range from 25 to 44 years. From the United States, 26 states and the District of Columbia were represented, with Massachusetts (51), New York (34), and Illinois (23), leading.
Canada and England furnished the foreign representation.
The majority of the men attending the Session, who were almost equally divided between college and non-college graduates, occupied position of responsibility. Several were vice-presidents of banks, railroads, and industrial corporations; other were general managers, credit managers, and store superintendents; still others were sales
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