System May Tend To Prevent Student Contact With Professor--Lectures Becoming Too Specialized

"The Tutorial System marks a definite educational approach toward the ideals of a changing civilization," stated George Herbert Palmer, '64, Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity, Emeritus, in a recent interview. "It tends to put the student on a firm moral basis as an individual, and so far as it does this, it reflects a growing tendency which has colored every phase of modern life in the world of today. This tendency is characterized by a growing mistrust by people in the theory of competition.

"This theory," he continued, "of which capitalism is merely one interpretation, is at last slowly losing ground. We are beginning to analyze the good and evil implications of the philosophy of competition.

Questioned specifically about the nature of the Tutorial System, Palmer expressed the opinion that it did defeat to some extent, one desirable element in undergraduate life, since it tends to make courses larger, leaving individual work to the tutors. "No longer," he said, "is there as much actual contact between the lecturer and the student as there used to be. This is not true in every case by any means, but its being true at all is lamentable, since in no way can a college give more to its students than by this communion between men who have, in some degree, arrived, and men who are just getting started.

"And yet," he continued, "constant changes in the very nature of academic learning may account for this loss of contact. We are in an age of specialization. Nowadays, speaking generally, the most advanced students are interested in rather narrow limited fields. Great scholars such as Copeland, Kittredge, and Lowes, who have studied in many fields of learning are the exception, and surprise the world. However, I feel that there are as many geniuses in scholastic pursuits as there have ever been; it is only that they are of a slightly different order."