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freshman elimination is a serious enough problem to warrant some real research based on actual diagnosis of individual cases. When one institution with an enrollment of fewer than 2,000 students reports that 49 per cent of its freshman class was automatically dropped for deficiencies in class work, it appears that the institution has a problem on its hands acute enough to challenge careful examination of its practices. Serious losses that are less startling demand careful research. The experience of the institutions that are developing departments of mental hygiene would indicate that the old rule-of-thumb method of diagnosing causes of failure is far from satisfactory. It is much easier to say that a student is lazy and “won't work” than it is to uncover the emotional conflict that may be at the bottom of his apparent unwillingness to work. It would seem that the services of the mental hygienist should be called in far oftener than they are.
What are the colleges actually doing to cut down student mortality? First of all they are trying to build up stronger cooperation between the preparatory schools and the colleges. In this, many of the land-grant institutions are developing close relationships with the public high schools. Nearly all of them report high-school visitation as the first step in securing this better understanding. In three of the land-grant institutions the State high-school principals are brought together for a joint conference yearly. Eighteen of the land-grant institutions send a definite report of the actual record of each graduate of each high school back to the principal of the school. This is a double-barreled device. It gives the high school an actual measure of the success of its graduates, and it stimulates the student to do his best, since he knows that the report of his success or failure is going back to his home community.
A few of the larger of the land-grant institutions are giving the college ability tests to seniors in the high schools, in the spring preceding high-school graduation. On the basis of these tests and the students' records in high school, they are advising graduating seniors about the probability of their success in college. While the first obvious use of this device is to discourage those whose chance of success is small, two of the institutions that have tried it report that it is almost as valuable in encouraging the student of marked ability who had not planned to come to college. Sometimes because of economic conditions or unsympathetic attitudes at home a student of very marked intellectual ability has felt that he can not hope for education beyond high school, yet he may be the very one who could profit most by such educational opportunities. It is fully as important for the college to find this student and encourage him to go on as it is to discourage the student whose chance of success is too slight to warrant his making the effort.
So much for the devices in use in attempting to select students. When a student who has been accepted shows signs of failing in his work the institution must take steps to help him. In addition to the methods already discussed-warning, probation, readjustment of program, and assignment of a faculty adviser-certain suggestions are made by some of the land-grant institutions. The one occurring most frequently is that of careful study of the student's schedules, usually in connection with the “How to study” course. Two institutions report that they assign a failing student to a tutor or to coaching classes in order to enable him to catch up with the majority of the students in the section. Three institutions report that they have noncredit preparatory courses to which they assign students who are deficient in preparation. Two institutions establish study halls where the deficient students may study under supervision. Only one institution suggests that since the living conditions of the students have so direct a bearing on their success or failure in college work the institution itself has a responsibility to provide more dormitories so that the students may be better housed. One institution reports that it is making a case study of the relation between failure in studies, excessive participation in extracurricular activities, and the health condition of the individual student. It makes the suggestion that permission to participate in extracurricular activities be based not only on ability to carry scholastic work satisfactorily as it is at present, but also on a satisfactory health record, so that the institution may be sure that the student is not overtaxing himself.
The reports of the land-grant institutions on their methods of dealing with failing students show that there is a vast amount of guesswork as to causes of scholastic deficiency. When only 4 out of 44 land-grant institutions mention their own instruction of their freshmen as a possible source of some of the student failures, and all the others lay the full responsibility either on the preparatory school or the student himself, it would seem that a little self-appraisal might well be in order. The institution's own large responsibility in the matter of housing its students and assuring right living conditions and study surroundings can not be overlooked. This question is discussed more fully in the section on provision for student housing and feeding. Its direct bearing on scholastic success can not be doubted. The majority of the land-grant institutions are conducting graduate work. It is suggested that the question of freshman mortality affords a profitable field for useful graduate study which might produce some doctor's and master's theses of real value.
Chapter VIII.—Religious Organizations and Convocations or
An argument of the small denominational college familiar to all who work in State-supported institutions is that the religious life of the denominational college safeguards the beliefs that the student brings with him from the home, while the State-supported institution is a Godless machine ignoring the spiritual side of the student's life. It is interesting, therefore, to find, how large an emphasis is placed upon religion by the land-grant institutions. The courses offered in some of the larger institutions in the philosophy of religion and kindred curricular treatments of religious experience may be neglected by this report. This section deals entirely with the actual recognition by the institutions of the place of religious observance in the student's life, the cooperation offered by the institution to existing religious organizations, and the fostering within the institutions of student activity centering around religious organizations.
Even in the institutions with the most extreme “ hands off” attitude toward organized religious activity, the report on the number of student religious organizations and activities showed that with the cooperation of the faculties, the students are maintaining numberless denominational organizations, as well as vigorous all-inclusive religious groups, such as the Young Men's and the Young Women's Christian Associations. It is a question whether the student himself may not benefit in a higher degree from the self-sought, self-maintained religious life than from compulsory observances of formal religious services which he has no share in directing. The comment of one of the universities which maintains compulsory chapel service was pertinent on this very point. In its reply to the question regarding any experiment to improve chapel exercises in the institution, it stated that, “ Although attendance is compulsory, we have little difficulty in getting the students to attend the services.”
In 18 of the land-grant institutions the religious activities are under the leadership of one individual; in 13 of them this person is the Y. M. C. A. secretary; in 3 the college chaplain; in 1 the professor of religious education; and in 1 a student pastor. Where the work is under the charge of more than one individual the most frequent form of management is by a committee of the faculty. Next comes a student-faculty committee, then faculty advisers for the religious organizations, and then student pastors who are not employed by the institution but are supported by the various denominations and cooperate with the administrations in the religious program of the institu
tions. It was impossible to tell in the 18 institutions reporting a religious director whether his salary is paid wholly by the institution or partly by other organizations. It was surprising, however, in the reports on institutional funds devoted to religious work, to discover the number of institutions that make outright grants to denominational groups for carrying on their work. Fifteen of the land-grant colleges give direct support to student religious organizations in which there is no evidence of direct institutional control. The sums ranged from $200 per annum to $9,700 per annum. One institution gives $600 outright to each of four denominational groups on its campus, regardless of the number of students participating; the 35 students enrolled in the Episcopalian student organization receive the same grant of money ($600) as do the 450 students enrolled in the Baptist organization. The two largest subsidies were in Southern State universities—Florida, $9,700, and Tennessee, $7,600.
Thirteen of the land-grant institutions conduct chapel exercises and in 8 of these attendance is compulsory. Of the 8 institutions requiring attendance on the part of the student body, only 3 reported that attendance was compulsory for faculty members. Twenty-eight report that they do not hold chapel exercises as such.
The time of holding chapel varies; two hold it at the first hour in the morning, four in the middle of the morning, and the rest at noon. These exercises fall about equally on the days of the week with the exception of Saturday. A number report Sunday chapel exercises which come at the usual church time; one holds a vesper service in the late afternoon. Only six nave a building used exclusively for chapel services. In the others, the services are held in the general auditorium which is, of course, used for other purposes the greater part of the time. Ten reported that the building in which the exercises were held would accommodate the entire student body, but the rest stated that the accommodations were adequate for only about one-third of their numbers. In the cases where attendance was not compulsory the institutions invariably reported that the capacity of the building provided for more students than habitually attended the services.
The following program seemed to be typical in 13 of the 18 institutions which hold chapel exercises : Song, scripture reading, prayer, address, announcements, and song The devices to improve chapel exercises ranged from the attempt to make the students feel that they had a real part in those exercises, giving various religious organizations definite dates on which they were responsible for the program, using student choirs and ushers, and having the seniors attend in cap and gown; to the more obvious ones of improving the quality of the addresses, installing a new pipe organ, devoting the time to discussion of actual student problems instead of abstract inspirational addresses, improving the singing, and shortening the service.
Many other religious meetings of various kinds were reported from the land-grant institutions. A number of institutions support an intensive period of religious meetings, frequently under the leadership of some outstanding man of national reputation. These usually take place in the spring and all the religious organizations on the campus and denominational churches near-by unite in putting on this intensive period of concentration on religion. Another favorite form of religious meeting is the weekly discussion group, both for the Young Men's Christian Association and the Young Women's Christian Association. Sometimes these are organized for freshmen students only, under the leadership of a directing group of older students; sometimes they are open to all students in the institution. Meetings for those who expect to devote their lives to religious service were mentioned frequently. Special religious observances of the church holidays-Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter-and of national holidays such as Thanksgiving, Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, and Memorial Day were also mentioned. One holds morning devotions for the staff. A number of institutions also reported Bible study groups, meditation hours, world forums, life work groups, and noonday prayers. In two institutions, the Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations conduct joint courses in comparative religions.
The list of religious meetings held on the various campuses indicates that a student who desires to develop his spiritual life has ample opportunity in almost any of the institutions. In most it is the student's own problem to fit himself into the program offered him for voluntary participation.
It proved to be almost impossible to list all the religious organizations on all the campuses. No major religious group and almost no minor denomination within a religious group was unrepresented. The Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations, of course, led the lists. Since the statement of belief of these two organizations has been broadened so as to make it possible for Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Buddhists to participate in their programs, it is apparent that a great change has been wrought by the student leaders in these two organizations which started with so strict a Protestant evangelical bias. Even where these all-inclusive organizations are carrying on an active program, however, many religious organizations flourish. The Newman Club for the Catholics, and the Menorah Society, B'Nai Brith and Hillel Foundation for the Jewish students, represent the non-Protestant religious organizations. Within the protestant group the entire gamut is run from the Unitarian, Latter Day Saints, and Christian Scientists to groups like the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians. The Quakers, the Methodists, the Congregationalists, the Dunkards, the Disciples are all represented on the campuses. Many times within the denominational group separate groups are also formed for specific purposes such as Kappa Phi within the Methodist group, a club for women students organized to develop leadership in semisocial church life when the student goes back to her own community. Many of these in order to compete more successfully with the purely social organizations on the campus have taken Greek-letter names, and a phenomenally long memory is needed to keep in mind these various Greek-letter combinations and nonindicative names which conceal the social-religious intent of the group from the casual observer.