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Inbreeding

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

In days of yore when Indians padded about the local forest, Harvard men tended to stick together. Although hostility of the Indian sort no longer abounds, Harvard tends to look only within its own confines when looking for new professors and thus neglects the talent available at other universities.

In theory, this is not supposed to happen. The Ad Hoc Committee which recommends who should become a professor is composed of leading men in the field from Harvard and elsewhere. The Committee, supposedly, looks for and considers qualified men from the entire nation. But in practice, the Ad Hoc Committee frequently fails to limit a department's tendency to become ingrown with like minded and similarly trained men. Departments oft-times make it clear to the Committee which man they want for the job. A "fair haired" young man is groomed for a particular professorship so that the Ad Hoc Committee simply approves a choice made by the department years before. There are few professors who do not have definite opinions about who should be the new man in the department or who should be their successor. Fewer still are those who maintain silence about their predilection.

There are, of course, definite advantages to training a Harvard man at Harvard for a Harvard professorship. Such a man will certainly know what the faculty, department, and students expect of him. This system will perpetuate the department's high standards, but it will also perpetuate some undesirable ones. To avoid a closed room type of intellectual atmosphere, a department could demand that its members spend at least a year teaching at other universities. At present, when a junior faculty members accepts an appointment at another university, he is rarely considered a few years later for a professorship--even if his record at Harvard was outstanding.

Harvard should take advantage of all available talent, and should actively seek new blood. The departments, Ad Hoc Committees, and the Corporation should look to the rest of the nation more frequently when seeking professors. Fresh air is always welcome in the lecture hall, and from time to time even in Widener.

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