Skip to main content

Full text of "The reply of the trustees to the class of eighteen eighty-five, Amherst College 1911"

See other formats


LD 

.3 




2° 
o 



GIFT 



THE REPLY OF THE 
TRUSTEES TO THE CLASS 
OF EIGHTEEN EIGHTY FIVE 




THE REPLY OF THE 
TRUSTEES TO THE CLASS 
OF EIGHTEEN EIGHTY-FIVE 



THE REPLY OF THE 
TRUSTEES TO THE CLASS 
OF EIGHTEEN EIGHTY-FIVE 




• : • ;• ; . •» 



AMHERST COLLEGE 
1911 






*s 



^'^ 



THE • PLIMPTON • PRESS • NORWOOD • MASS • U • S • A 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 
TO THE CLASS OF 1885 



w 



IDE attention and comment have been 
awakened by the memorial presented to the 
trustees of Amherst College by the Class oj 
1 88^ at its twenty-fijth anniversary, on the 
condition and policy of the institution. In 
response, the college corporation has made 
the following answer: 

TO THE CLASS OF 1885 OF 
AMHERST COLLEGE 

THE president and trustees of Amherst 
College recognize in your address a 
gratifying proof of the affectionate 
care of our alumni for this institution as a 
home of learning, from which they have 
profited and desire others to profit. You 
have done Amherst a great service by draw- 
ing the attention of the world of education 
to the policy of the College. Your criticism 
is frank, loyal, and helpful. We approve your 
spirit and intent. Your proposals are all the 
more valuable and gain greatly in practical 

[s] 



259959 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

efficiency and application because they urge 
much that the College administration was 
already putting into operation when your 
memorial was presented; and this advance 
has been supplemented by your advice. Our 
mutual confidence in the policy of our College 
must be strengthened when we find that its 
alumni urge what the president and faculty 
were adopting, and that its president and 
faculty approve additions to its policy which 
the alumni propose. 

Your address asks that the instruction be 
in future a "modified classical course"; that 
the degree of bachelor of science be abolished ; 
that the College devote all its means to the 
increase of teachers' salaries; that the number 
of students be limited; and that entrance be 
permitted only by competitive examination. 

We agree with you that the function of 
Amherst College is to train its students by 
means of the liberal arts and sciences for a 
more abundant life, and not for a larger wage. 
It should not attempt technical, vocational, or 
professional education. Amherst has always 
regarded both the humanities and the sciences 
as necessary to a complete education and the 
true foundation for intellectual discipline and 
for character. 

[6] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

A liberal education is not complete unless 
it enters several fields of learning. The value 
of the ancient classics, that is, the Greek and 
Latin languages and literatures, is recognized. 
But there are other knowledges that are 
requisite to a liberal education. Science, 
which has so developed in the last fifty years 
as to be a new creation, is a discipline, is a 
knowledge that every educated man should 
have. This, indeed, is recognized in your 
address when you say, "All would agree that 
some knowledge of science is part of a Hberal 
education," that "in any teaching of the 
experience of the race, the sciences have a 
necessary place." But history, philosophy, 
mathematics, political science, economics, 
music, the literature of one's own tongue, 
German and Romance languages and liter- 
atures, certainly a liberally educated man 
should know something of these great expe- 
riences of the human race. The curriculum 
includes all these subjects, and more than 
half of the choices of students are made from 
among them. 

Amherst does not, however, leave the selec- 
tion of studies to the wandering choice of 
the student. It has applied this principle 
to physical development as well as to mental 

[7] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

training. The studies of the first year are 
prescribed: Latin and Greek, or Latin and a 
modern language, mathematics, English, and 
a science. The second year an ancient lan- 
guage and a science are continued, and three 
subjects are chosen. The third and fourth 
years the student chooses all the subjects he 
will pursue. Thus about one-third of the 
whole number of courses is prescribed and 
two-thirds are elective. In order that some 
studies may be continued beyond the ele- 
mentary stage, three of the subjects elected 
are studied three years and oncv subject two 
years, while no subject is elected for a course 
of less than one year. The three-year courses 
are called majors, and the two-year course a 
minor. 

It is important that students have a working 
knowledge of modern languages, since they 
are more and more needed in actual life. 
To ensure this knowledge, those students that 
have had both Latin and Greek will, begin- 
ning with the next entering class, be required 
before graduation to translate at sight German 
or a Romance language (French, Spanish, or 
Italian), and those that have had but one 
ancient language, to translate both German 
and a Romance language. 

[8] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

If a Student completes in the first two years 
the required courses in classics, science, and 
the modern languages, the last two years 
will oflFer a free and wide choice of subjects 
whose mastery and advanced study will be 
rendered feasible by the ability to consult 
works in German and a Romance tongue, by 
familiarity with scientific method and classical 
study on broad lines. 

The degree of bachelor of science has not 
been off'ered in Amherst for a course of 
technical training, but for a course in which 
the culture of science and of other liberalizing 
studies was sought as a sound preparation 
for technological and professional schools and 
for life. For eight years past, three years of 
preparatory Latin have been required from 
those entering this course. But the degree 
appears now open to the misapprehension 
that it is conferred upon completing a course 
of technical training. Since it is a course in 
the liberal arts and sciences, there is no reason 
why the degree of bachelor of arts should not 
be given on the completion of such a course, 
and therefore the degree of bachelor of science 
will not be off'ered to classes entering after 
191 3, but only the one degree of bachelor of 
arts. As now arranged, the course leading 

[9] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

to this degree is a better training for technical 
studies than the course that led to bachelor 
of science. Four years of Latin will be 
required of all for entrance. Two years of 
an ancient language and two years of science 
are in the future to be required in the college 
course, instead of one year each in classics 
and science, as in the past. Hitherto half 
the College took two years of the classics and 
half two years in science, a part taking both. 
In future all will take both studies for two 
years. Amherst does not look on any man as 
educated unless he has been taught to inter- 
pret the problems of his own day through 
the lessons of the past and has received a 
knowledge of classic literature, philosophy, 
and civilization, gaining discipline in the 
expression of his own tongue through the 
mental process of translation. Neither does 
Amherst look on any man to-day as fully 
trained for modern life who has not learned 
the methods of the laboratory and laid a 
secure foundation in science. 

With the requirement of a preparation of 
four years of Latin and of two years of an 
ancient language in college, Amherst is defi- 
nitely on the basis of a modified classical 
course. It is to be regretted that the require- 

[10] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

ment of Greek cannot be made, since so few 
preparatory schools teach it. But the Col- 
lege believes in Greek, believes in its value for 
discipline, for the culture and for the wide 
horizon opened to the student by knowledge 
of the vital past on which the literature, the 
institutions, the life of to-day are founded 
and without which they cannot be fully under- 
stood. To encourage the study of Greek, 
plans are being made to establish a classical 
lectureship, and a number of honorary schol- 
arships for students fitted in Greek. 

The outside activities of the College have 
never trenched upon studies in Amherst to 
the extent that is charged elsewhere and 
intimated in your address. We look on these 
activities as of great cultural value, and we 
also believe that the development of the 
curriculum tends to the proper subordina- 
tion of these interests. By limitation of the 
number of activities, by insistence upon good 
scholarship as a requisite for participation, 
by giving opportunity and encouragement to 
every student to have some share in them, we 
are securing from year to year a wiser balance 
of work and play. We would not prevent 
the competition of students with their fellows 
for prizes and honors justly dear to under- 

[II] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

graduates. In this spirit, besides the required 
gymnastic exercise, the College is developing 
team work by the general body of students 
on the athletic field. This year three-fifths, 
300 out of 500, share this stimulus for the 
physical and social well-being, and the policy 
will be continued until all not physically 
disqualified are engaged in some athletic 
competition. Dramatics, music, literary 
publications, intercollegiate debates, and 
oratorical contests have a place and engage 
an interest of great value. 

The Amherst graduate, with these plans 
and policies in full force, will have ofi'ered 
four years of Latin or Greek or both, at 
entrance; he will have had in college two 
years of an ancient language and two years 
at least of science; he will have a reading 
knowledge of German and a Romance lan- 
guage; he will have pursued three subjects 
for three years and one subject for two years; 
he will have had the choice, besides the 
requirements of classics, sciences, mathe- 
matics, and modern languages, of philosophy, 
including metaphysics and psychology, his- 
tory, economics, political science, and litera- 
ture; he will have had abundant opportunity 
to interest himself in college activities and 

[12] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

athletics, and he will not have been permitted 
to overdo in either. Best of all, this will have 
been done in an institution whose president, 
trustees, faculty, alumni, and undergraduates 
believe that the first office and duty of its 
training is to stimulate spiritual responsibility 
for the service of humanity. 

As to the limitation of numbers: It is, of 
course, necessary to limit numbers in accord- 
ance with our equipment and capacity for 
teaching in the most efficient manner. The 
teaching policy of the College is to have 
small groups of students. The last semester 
76 courses were given. Of these, 64 courses 
were taught to groups of 30 or less, namely, 
18 courses to groups of 20 to 30; 5 courses 
to groups of 15 to 20; II courses to groups of 
10 to 15; 15 courses to groups of 5 to 10; 
and 15 courses to groups of 5 or less. In 
only 1 2 courses were the groups larger, ranging 
from 31 to 54. The number 30 is arbitrarily 
chosen as a dividing line. There are few 
subjects that should be taught to as many as 
30 men. The ideal of Amherst is small 
numbers in the classroom and thorough 
teaching. 

We deem it desirable that the numbers 
remain in the neighborhood of five hundred, 

[13] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

in order that the distinct atmosphere of a 
small college may be preserved, a number 
not too large for personal acquaintance of 
teachers with students, and of students with 
one another, not too small for esprit du corps 
and enthusiasm. 

Competitive examinations on all subjects 
we do not regard as the best method of testing 
candidates for admission. In view of differ- 
ences of preparation and opportunity, we 
take the best evidence obtainable whether 
canditates can do college work or not. 

Amherst is less solicitous about the size 
of its Freshman class than about the character 
of the Seniors it yearly graduates. It is as 
desirous to improve the work done by the 
lower third of a class as to lavish effort 
on the upper tenth. Hence our system of 
prescribed subjects and of major and minor 
courses, our raising of grades for passing in 
each course and for graduation, which has 
been advanced to a minimum of 70, on a 
scale of 100, after having been for several 
years at 65; our policy of small divisions, of 
examination at the end of each semester, 
and of rigid scholarship requirements in case 
of participation in athletics and other outside 
activites. 

[14] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

Such a course and such aims as have been 
outlined call for instructors free from anxiety- 
over their daily expenditure. It is the policy 
of the board to increase salaries until they 
are at a reasonable level. This policy has 
been practically pursued for several years. 
The sum of $400,000 has been applied in the 
last ten years to raising the salaries of pro- 
fessors, while at the present time we are 
engaged in securing a fund of $400,000, which 
is nearly completed, for the same purpose. 
We mean to have the best teachers, to put 
the emphasis on teaching more than on 
research, and to make the emolument such 
that teachers will not be enticed away. We 
do not think, however, that the College has 
no other needs. The faculty is unanimous 
in the opinion that there should be an increase 
in hbrary accommodations, that there should 
be another recitation hall, and more adequate 
administrative offices. 

In reply, then, or in response to the address 
of the Class of 1885 we would say that the 
curriculum offers the studies of a liberal 
education; that courses in classics, mathe- 
matics, modern languages, and science are 
required; that the choice of three-years, two- 
years, and one-year courses is from history, 

[is] 



THE REPLY OF THE TRUSTEES 

literature, philosophy, political science, and 
economics, as well as from classics and science; 
that the one degree of bachelor of arts only 
will be given; that the compensation of 
teachers has been increased and will be still 
further advanced ; that the number of students 
will not be arbitrarily fixed, but will be deter- 
mined by the provision for efficient teaching; 
that candidates will be selected according to 
evidence of their fitness to do good work; 
and that a high standard of scholarship is 
maintained. 



[i6] 



^D9-20m-7, i>y vAbi»o^s4 



RETURN TO DESK FROM WHICH BORROWED 

LOAN DEPT. 

This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 

Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 





RECEIVED BY 




JUL 1 B ^335 


IN STACKS 


1 

CIRCUUTION DEPT, 


NOV 271959 








REC'D L.D 




NOV 3 Ufa 








''lAY 1 8 1976 


1 






m,m -'''■'■ 




' :":iUMMi|i>y 




JUL 1 1 1985 




^mnQiaJDmr 




rMV.t?o»r.^'er -'^EjS'^'- 






UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA UBRARY 







i^liMi