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The University of the State of New York, though generally regarded as a legal fiction, is, in truth, a grand reality. The numerous institutions of which it is composed, are not, indeed, as in England, crowded into a single city, but are scattered, for popular convenience, over the entire State. It is hoped that the present meeting will more fully develop this fact, in accordance with which the officers of colleges and academies now convened are cordially welcomed as members of a great State University. It is also confidently expected that the deliberations now inaugurated will result in the more intimate alliance and coöperation of the various institutions holding chartered rights under the Regents of the University."
The Chancellor and Secretary of the Regents were, on motion, duly elected presiding and recording officers of the meeting. A committee, subsequently made permanent for the year and designated as the executive committee, was appointed by the Chancellor to prepare an order of proceedings. Among other recommendations of the committee, the following were submitted and unanimously adopted:
The Regents of the University of this State have called ths present meeting of the officers of the colleges and academies subject to their visitation, for the purpose of mutual consultation respecting the cause of education, especially in the higher departments. It becomes a question of interest whether this convention shall assume a permanent form and meet at stated intervals, either annually, biennially or triennially. In the opinion of the committee, it seems eminently desirable that the Regents and the instructors in the colleges and academies should thus meet, with reference to the attainment of the following objects:
1st. To secure a better acquaintance among those engaged in these departments of instruction, with each other and with the Regents. 2d. To secure an interchange of opinions on the best methods of instruction in both colleges and academies; and, as a consequence, 3d. To advance the standard of education throughout the State. 4th. To adopt such common rules as may seem best fitted to promote the harmonious workings of the State system of education.
5th. To consult and coöperate with the Regents in devising and executing such plans of education as the advanced state of the population may demand.
6th. To exert a direct influence upon the people and the Legislature of the State, personally and through the press, so as to secure such an appreciation of a thorough system of education, together with such pecuniary aid and legislative enactments, as will place the institutions here represented in a position worthy of the population and resources of the State.
And for the attainment of these objects, the committee recommend the adoption of the following resolutions:
Resolved, That this meeting of officers of colleges and academies be hereafter known and designated as "The University Convocation of the State of New York."
Resolved, That the members of this Convocation shall embrace, 1. The members of the Board of Regents.
2. All instructions in colleges, normal schools, academies and higher departments of public schools that are subject to the visitation of the Regents, and (by amendment of 1868) the trustees of all such institutions.
3. The president, first vice-president, and the recording and corresponding secretaries of the New York State Teachers' Association.
Resolved, That the Chancellor and Secretary of the Board of Regents shall act severally as the presiding officer and permanent secretary of the Convocation.
Resolved, That the meeting of this Convocation shall be held annually, in the city of Albany, on the first Tuesday in August [see amendment], at 10 o'clock, A. M., unless otherwise appointed by the Board of Regents. [Amended, in 1873, as to the time of meeting, by making it the first Tuesday after the Fourth of July, except when the Fourth occurs on Monday, in which case it shall be the second Tuesday thereafter.]
Resolved, That at each annual Convocation the Chancellor shall announce the appointment, by the Regents, of an executive committee of seven members, who shall meet during the recess of the Convocation, at such time and place as the Regents may direct, with authority to transact business connected with its general object.
At the fourth anniversary, held August 6th, 7th and 8th, 1867, it was Resolved, That the Regents be requested to invite the attendance of representatives of colleges of other States at future anniversaries of the Convocation.
At the fifth anniversary, held August 4th, 5th and 6th, 1868, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That there be appointed by the Chancellor, at each annual meeting, a committee of necrology, to consist of three persons.
Resolved, That it shall be the duty of each member of the Convocation to notify the chairman of the committee of necrology of the decease of members occurring in their immediate neighborhood or circle of acquaintance, as an assistance to the preparation of their report.
Resolved, That the secretary publish, with the report of each year's proceedings, the original resolutions of 1863, as they are or may be from time to time amended, together with the two foregoing, as a means of better informing the members of the Convocation in regard to its nature and the purposes of its organization.
II. MINUTES OF THE FOURTEENTH ANNIVERSARY, HELD JULY 10TH 11TH AND 12TH, 1877.
The sessions of the fourteenth anniversary of the University Convocation of the State of New York were held at the Capitol, in the city of Albany, beginning on Wednesday, the 10th day of July, 1877, at 10.30
Chancellor Pruyn, as president ex-officio, called the Convocation to order, and, at his request, Vice-Chancellor Benedict made a brief address of welcome, on behalf of the Regents, after which the Rev. Dr. Upso led the Convocation in the use of the Lord's prayer.
Professor John W. Mears, D. D., of Hamilton College, as chairman of the executive committee, made the following preliminary report, which was accepted and adopted:
The executive committee of the University Convocation would respectfully report, that they have secured a list of essayists sufficient to occupy the usual time of the Convocation, and on topics worthy of the attention of this annual gathering of educators. They would recommend the
adoption of the usual thirty-minute rule, in regard to the length of essays; and the restriction of speakers to the maximum of five minutes, in the hope of providing for a more satisfactory discussion of the papers presented.
They have aimed, in their revised report, to classify the papers, and thus to give more system and concentration to the work of the Convocation. It is desired that remarks, which might appropriately follow more than one of the papers, should thus be brought within practicable limits, as to time, and be made more effective in their bearing upon the subjects under discussion.
They would, also, recommend the adoption of the usual programme, as to hours of meeting from day to day; and of the rules, as set forth in the printed circular, for the disposal of the papers read before the Con
All of which is respectfully submitted.
JOHN W. MEARS, Chairman.
Dr. Mears, in the absence of Principal James H. Hoose, Ph. D., of the Cortland Normal School, read his paper on the subject "Should the Educator aim at Man as an Individual; or, Man in Society?"
The essay intimated that the practical difficulty underlying recent unfriendly agitation and legislation, upon public schools, was the lack of adaptation, in our systems of education, to the demands of man in society. The people who are taxed demand a practical return for their outlay. The tendency of the old courses of study is to develop man as man; and while it is conceded that they do develop man, as a social being, yet it is, possibly, not in the most excellent manner, and in the fullest measure. We should honestly come to the task of arranging courses of study for man as a member of society. Utility should be our aim; not material utility, but that which will best serve society in its widest and most liberal well-being; in its material, intellectual, moral and religious growth. The elements, in the present state of the case, all converge upon this one point: not man as man, but man as a member of society. This is the true objective center and limit of courses of study in school.
Upon Principal Hoose's paper, Dr. Mears observed, that the friends of the so-called old education, in contemplating man as man, of necessity, took account of his social qualities and capacities, as an essential part of his complex nature; but they did not take the social element as the center of their system.
The error of the proposed "new" education is that of taking the social relations of man as the center, whereas they are on the periphery; the true center is the individual, from which, and for the sake of which, the whole man, including his social capacities, can be fairly and profitably developed. Society is only valuable as the individuals of which it is composed are of a high order. As to the charge that the old culture neglects the social relations of man, it is sufficiently disposed of from the eminence given, in the old curriculum, to the study of language, which is the primary and indispensable element in the realization of human society.
Dr. N. W. Benedict, of Rochester Free Academy, said that if he understood one passage in the paper, it stated that the great difference in the Prussian, or European, method of organization of schools for the
people, and that of common schools of the United States, is, that in the former, the higher education, the university, etc., originated and controlled the lower; while in this country, the common people originate, organize and control the common school. The speaker stated his impression that, in this country, the higher education has originated the lower; colleges and schools of higher education were first organized; personal instruction, at home and by clergymen, or other professional men, was given to prepare boys for college. This originated academies, and these again led to the establishment of schools for the first rudiments of education, and thus the common school. The college is the foundation of learning in this country, as well as in the old world.
To the conclusion of the writer, that the true end and object of education is to educate man for society, rather than man as man, he wished to simply say, that the very best education that can possibly be given to man, to fit him in the very best manner for society, is, and ever has been, and ever will be, that, and that only, which educates man solely as man, because he is man; and which aims at the absolute perfection of man physically, intellectually and morally.
A paper entitled "A Plan to Harmonize our Public School System," prepared by Dr. John W. Armstrong, of the Fredonia Normal school, was read, in his absence, by Professor Otis H. Robinson, of Rochester University, Regent Leavenworth in the chair. The following is an abstract of Dr. Armstrong's paper:
The plan proposed to throw out all the academic instruction from the Normal schools, and limit their work to the training of teachers. It further prescribed a mode of arranging a course preparatory to entrance to the Normal schools, with the time to be devoted to it-candidates for admission to be examined on this course or its equivalent. The academic instruction, which would cover this preparatory course, is, by the plan of the paper, to be given by such institutions as the Regents of the University and the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall designate. These institutions are to receive pay from the State for those students who design to enter the normal classes, the students pledging themselves to teach for a certain time after their course has been finished. A provision is made for a release from the fulfillment of this pledge by the payment of such a sum as may be agreed upon with the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The author proposed that a preference should be given to the graduates of the Normal schools, in the appointment or selection of teachers, as far as practicable, in consideration of their pledge to teach.
It was claimed that this plan would unify our system of public instruction; render rivalry, in a bad sense, impossible; secure the interest of the colleges, and tend greatly to improve the instruction in every depart
Professor Alexander Winchell, LL. D., of Syracuse University, read a paper on "University Control."
The general principle maintained, in this paper, was the following: The corporate body, in the university, has too much control; the teaching body too little.
Under the American university system, two official bodies come into existence. The corporate body is chosen, generally, from the ranks of business. The teaching body is supposed to be created with a regard to the learning of its members, and their aptness to instruct and manage
young men. It is called into existence by the authority of the corporate body. The teaching body, owing its existence to a power which is not scholastic, nor necessarily learned, or expert, in university measures, constitutes, with the students, the essential part of the university; and, if it is possible for any body of men to be placed in a position to counsel wisely for the university, these are the men.
But the functions assigned to these two bodies, respectively, do not correspond to their respective and relative qualifications. Generally, the fundamental principle, or scheme of the university, is laid down before its control passes to the hands of the corporate body. Between this body and the prenatal influences, decisions are reached respecting all the most vital questions. First of all is the conception of the university; this, it was shown, is properly an effort of the most highly cultured intelligence. Next, the location of the university is to be considered, and its particular site. Then, as to the cost and plan of building. Shall most of the means be converted into architecture, or the proper appliances of learning and education? Shall the building be planned with reference to the needs of lecture-rooms, laboratories, cabinets and studios, or with reference to display on public occasions?
It is only after all these questions are finally settled, that a board of experts is called into existence, whose very specialty consists in knowing how to advise in such questions. Then there are the various questions respecting curriculum lectures, calendar, discipline, new elections, preparatory and final examinations, and the conferring of degrees—in all these matters, the faculty, in their experience and wisdom, may make proposals, but the supreme board possesses the power to set all their recommendations aside.
All this is wrong, in theory and in results. The most consummate business abilities may not fit a man to legislate wisely for a university. The results show that, very generally, the requisite wisdom is not possessed by the gentlemen who serve us as members of the corporate body. The consequence of the existing state of things is, that every university lives a life of ever-shifting expedients. No university learns from the experience of others. Each new "board of trustees plunges into the same crude experiments, learns the same costly lessons, and works out for itself results which have been recorded in the annals of higher education for two hundred years. Even successive" boards," of the same institution, have been known to flounder through an identical round of trials and failures. Still more conspicuously, in the case of State institutions, have successive Legislatures returned, again and again, to the same style of "tinkering" at the university. Every faculty in a State university will bear witness, that the meeting of the Legislature is an event which fills them with apprehension and dread. It is a public spectacle of ignorance and incompetency assuming to shape, or even to transform, the most delicate machinery of our civil institutions; and play at foot-ball with the dearest and highest interests of modern civilization.
As a remedy for most of these evils, the author of the paper suggested the retention of a corporate body, to look after the creation and conservation of the endowment, and the provision of annual income; and all other matters of purely "business" character. He would dispense with ex-officio members, and would admit alumni. To the teaching body he would confide the absolute control of expenditures, the election and dismissal of instructors, the determination of their compensation, the con