Professor Weighs Success, Failure Of Bennington's Educational System

"This student symbolizes the merits and dangers of the progressive word. She has apparently been steeped in it, at home and at prep school. She has a respect for intellectual activity, but has no real understanding of it. She reads widely, rapidly, enthusiastically. She has some imagination and some agility, but is basically uninterested except in the answer, the latest word. She likes people, wants to be liked, is a warm, motherly sort of thing, will put herself to considerable trouble to carry off a situation happily, and has a good deal of infectious buoyancy.

It has not, I think, ever occurred to her that she is essentially mediocre and will remain so until she learns to discipline herself. She has a smattering of many things, talks with skill, has read a scattered collection for counseling as well as for courses. But as a literature major in prospect, she had not, after four weeks of questioning, been able to get Chaucer within two centuries of his presumed time of activity on this earth.

She is constantly manipulating people in her mind in the fanciest psycho-analytic conceptual frames of reference, and seems to have only of smattering of lay information. Her really considerable weakness, then, is her inability so far to recognize her notable inadequacies. I regret that falling the science course will in all probability be regarded as an evidence of her distaste for something called "science."

"She has, during this term, enormously enjoyed mothering a neurotic, engaging and presumably intelligent college student. She proposes to resolve his unhappiness by keeping him under careful observation herself and having him analyzed. This will come to no good end if she marries him, but she probably won't and all will be well. She will be on much safer ground mothering nursery, school kids, at which she seems to be pretty adept.

"Basically she is intelligent, happy, busy. In terms of a liberal education she is pretty chaotic and ought to be pinned down carefully to performance compatible with her abilities. It is no kindness to her to let her breeze through Bennington on cliches and a happy smile."

This is an example of a faculty counselor's report on a Bennington girl. This partial evaluation by OLIVER GARCEAU '33 is from an unpublished study compiled by the Student Personnel Office.