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Establishing a precedent in University development, the new Littauer School of Public Administration will open on March 1, for a three month session without students during which the faculty will hold sessions with fifty prominent officials drawn from federal, state and local government, President Conant announced last night.
Regular students will not be admitted until the fall of 1938 after two further exploratory sessions during the academic year 1937-38.
In order to keep the school on a realistic basis, the visiting officials will advise the faculty on such questions as the scope of the curriculum, the detailed courses, the most effective methods of instruction, the nature of the instructional data, and the research program, it was explained. The exploratory conferences were arranged because of the pioneering character of the school.
The work of organizing the preliminary session this spring has been undertaken at President Conant's request by William B. Munro, '01 a member of the executive council of the California Institute of Technology and formerly Professor of American History and Government here. Professor Munro was a member of the advisory commission, headed by President Harold W. Dodds of Princeton, which made plans for the new school.
Members of the initial staff have all been chosen from the Harvard faculty. They include Howard L. Bevis, William Ziegler Professor of Government and Law; John D. Black, Henry Lee Professor of Economics; Harold H. Burbank, David A. Wells Professor of Political Economy; Carl J. Friedrich, associate professor of Government; Erwin N. Griswold, professor of Law; Arthur N. Holcombe, '06, professor of Government; Nathan Isaacs, professor of Business Law; Ward Shepard, '10, director of the Harvard Forest; Sumner H. Slichter, professor of Business Economics; John H. Williams, Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy; and Edwin B. Wilson, '99, professor of Vital Statistics. E. Pendleton Herring, instructor of Government has been named secretary for the faculty. Additional members will be added from time to time.
A building for the new school, provided for in Mr. Littauer's $2,000,000 gift, will be completed sometime in 1938. The location is not definite yet. Temporary headquarters will be in Hunt Hall.
In accordance with the report of the advisory commission, the school will emphasize professional standards and stress a realistic approach in its instruction, it was stated. The advice of experienced government officials will be continually sought.
During the exploratory session each of the visiting officials will stay at the school for periods of from one week to a month or more. Arrangements have already been made for the attendance of a number of high public administrators from Washington, as well as from various state capitals and large cities. The Rockefeller Foundation has provided a grant of $65,000 for financing this series of conferences during the preliminary session and throughout the coming academic year.
Until October, 1938, the faculty will devote itself to laying groundwork in curriculum and methods with the assistance of the government officials, as well as with the help of promising younger men already in public service who will take leave of absence to afford assistance and at the same time broaden their own training. Young men of this type will always provide a nucleus in the student body, it is planned, and a number of "in-service" fellowships will be provided each year to enable these men to attend the school.
Advanced Students Only
At the outset at least, there is no likelihood that any considerable group of college graduates possessing only bachelor's degrees will be admitted. The school will be primarily for students of more advanced qualification. It will endeavor to provide training in public administration chiefly for graduates of law schools and technical schools and for others who have received advanced degrees or have done advanced work in some special field and who desire to acquire a broad knowledge of the practical problems of government as a means of entering the public service and advancing to positions of importance in it.
It is anticipated by Harvard authorities that the curriculum of the institution will follow the suggestions made by the special commission and emphasize the actualities of politics rather than the theories of political science. The courses will probably deal with economic analysis, and the business phases of governmental policy.
Avoid Vocational Training
Also following the report of the commission, the school will carefully avoid becoming a place of vocational training in the narrow sense. It will seek to provide a thorough grounding in the fundamental principles and problems of public administration without reference to the branch of the public service which its graduates may enter, although it is expected that career men on leave may orient their work more definitely than recent graduates.
Research will play an important part in the program. Liberal appropriations will be made and heavy teaching loads will be avoided, so that the faculty may promote the well-being of the nation by the results of their research into the difficult and complicated problems of public administration, it was explained.
"The university will endeavor to render a real and increasing service to the cause of better governmental administration through this new school," according to the official announcement.
The many courses already given at Harvard in public finance, accounting, state and local government, economic theory, political theory, political parties, labor problems, law, business administration, state government and municipal government will be used by the school whenever desirable, but the school will operate as an individual unit with its own separate faculty, dean, budget, and equipment.
Aid From Government
The school will always emphasize close cooperation with government officials, it was stated. The entire enterprise is of such an unique nature that the faculty will be entering new educational territory in which no instructional data is now available anywhere and therefore it will be necessary for the faculty to proceed cautiously and to seek the advice of experienced government men frequently. The university officials realize, it was explained, that public administration, now broadening its activities into new fields of human endeavor, is creating a demand for a type of training different from that heretofore provided and it is this demand which the school will seek to fill.
The school will keep its enrollment small, not exceeding forty to seventy students during its first regular year of operation, it is anticipated, so that it will not turn out graduates for whom positions in the public service are not available. The students will be encouraged to look upon their future careers as an opportunity for service to the public, and the chief goal of the school will be to promote the public welfare by realistic means
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