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Sociology, at Harvard perhaps more than else-where is of immediate educational importance. Because it is a newly-established field is no reason for being neglected by the University; rather it should be a cause for fostering the Department. No other conclusion can be reached than that many of the most valuable implications of a strong Sociology Department have never been imagined.
It need only be recalled how many men of a political turn have appropriated the name sociologist to realize what potential value it has in governmental affairs. True, sociology has been in bad odor because of many newly-arrived uninformed, often unscrupulous Washingtonites who have masqueraded under its colors. A primary duty, then, of any university is to send forth fully-equipped men who can oust political pretenders from their positions, fakers who apply the term "social" to any personal cerebration whether it is for the public welfare or not.
Particularly is Harvard concerned in this matter. When its new School of Public Administration comes into being, a prerequisite for entering candidates should be intensive training in sociology, as well as other social sciences. Without such instruction, students would miss sociology's unique and infinitely valuable approach to government as an institution.
Yet, either as a worth-while preparation for such purposes or for more immediate uses, the Sociology Department is regarded with deep suspicion and jealousy. Its position at Harvard is in the limbo of forgotten, perhaps intentionally forgotten departments, as Psychology and other newly arriving studies once were. Yet without question sociology is a "coming" science not only in its handicapped role here, but also in many of the Embree report's "eleven best" colleges, as enrollment figures on other pages conclusively show.
The percentage increase of enrollment in this field at Harvard has been remarkable, and so have both the quality and quantity of work done, under manifold difficulties, been even more surprising. Yet the departmental budget has advanced in no like proportion, has, in fact, remained almost stationary. Intimately connected with many previously noted criticisms is the Department's unhappy position of financial rigidity. It is no simple task, for example, to attract brilliant assistants with a mere pittance. Neither is it easy to keep the tutorial system up to par at the same time that new lecture courses are being steadily added to the curricula, for the lecture system ranks first in importance at Harvard and there are no available funds for employing more tutors.
Tangible proof of a department's progress, for University authorities, must be found in increases in enrollment, additional courses, and heightened general productivity. These Sociology has demonstrated in its five years of existence, without, however, receiving recognition from the college. Somewhere more funds must be found, even if it means accepting the highly disagreeable onus of hurting the delicate sensibilities of other departments which have been losing their popularity.
The Sociology Department can do only so much unaided. Much it has done and much it can still do internally. But, considered from many points of view, the University is definitely under the obligation to discontinue treating it like a step-child and instead strenuously apply itself to forwarding its progress. Sociology may be a child at present, and not a fully-developed one at that, but every indication points to its being a giant of the future.
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