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THE LITTAUER PLAN

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

If the wisdom and shrewd deliberation evinced in today's recommendations for the organization of the Graduate School of Public Administration continue to characterize the development of that school, Mr. Littauer should see his gift unfold as a genuinely noble experiment, in the pre-Prohibition sense of the expression. Guided by the excellent maxim that "It is far more important that the work of training students be started right than that it be started early", the commission has advocated a slow beginning, with a year set aside for conditioning in cooperation with bureau chiefs, before students are admitted in September 1938. It has thereby avoided the temptation to rash action that so novel and exciting an adventure is bound to offer.

Outstanding among their pregnant remarks is what may be thought of as an exemplary application of President Conant's principle of roving professorships. The suggestion that the new school take most of its faculty from members of the faculties of existing schools, is a fitting tribute to the public administration minds already in the service of Harvard, a recognition that such minds are hard to find, and a provision for the highly desirable correlation of this school with the rest of the University. The borrowing of courses by the new school from the old ones and the interchange of students also serve the interests of unity. There is, however, the obvious danger that in giving new jobs to certain professors, the University will render intolerable their already heavy loads. Reorganization and adjustment of the old to facilitate addition of the new must be the solution.

Already serving the purpose which the Littauer School proposes for itself, are six fellowships here at Harvard financed by the Rockefeller Foundation. They include two years of graduate instruction in courses appropriate to public administration, but interspersed between those two is a year of actual internship at some post in Washington. They too are still in the experimental stage, and there is as yet no full-fledged product of the system. But the first man to enter internship (There was only one the first year.) succeeded so well with his work for the Social Securities Commission that he stayed on at the job without returning here for the academic conclusion. The internship, which seems to work so well, is not an element proposed for the Littauer School. The recommending commission shows considerable uncertainty over the possibilities of placing the new school's graduates; that possibility might be increased, in this age of practicality, by some genuinely practical instruction. Scholarly training, no matter how it shun theory, can hardly substitute for that. The scheme of bringing part of Washington here, instead of sending the students to Washington, may indeed make the graduates acceptable to their government. At any rate, the two rival schemes will continue side by side for some time to come, and the success of the two can be compared. As the greater system will probably ultimately absorb the smaller, the scheme proven the more efficient can be accepted by it as the final solution.

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