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Chapter II.-Organization

Purpose and type. While there is much similarity in organization in all the land-grant colleges and universities there is one difference between them that is of major importance. In the typical university form of organization, one individual known as the dean of agriculture is usually responsible directly to the president for the agricultural work of the institution in the three fields of resident teaching, research, and extension. In the college type of organization three officers known as directors or deans of resident teaching, directors of research and of extension, are each responsible for one division of work. In a number of instances one of these officers is responsible to the president for two divisions, such as resident teaching and research. He then usually has the title of dean and director.

Where a dean of agriculture is responsible for all of the agricultural work of the institution it usually is necessary for him to have three officers reporting to him, each one directly responsible for the details of administration of one of the three divisions of work. They may have the titles of assistant deans, assistant directors, or directors, in accordance with the terminology that best fits the institution as a whole. Under this type of organization one of the important duties of the dean is to see to it that the work in the three lines of service under his supervision and direction is fully coordinated so that resident teaching, research, and extension function as one team for the best interests of the students and people of the State.

Where the college type of organization is used, the responsibility for coordination and teamwork in the three divisions rests directly on the president of the institution. Where his other duties are not too heavy for him to give ample time to this very important function and where his training, experience, and point of view are such that he naturally and easily performs it, this system is workable and effective. Where this is not the case there is little doubt that the agricultural work of the institution is best served if one officer is given the responsibility for the organization and coordination of the three functions of resident instruction, research, and extension.

Both in the college and university type of organization, the work of resident instruction in agriculture normally is further subdivided into departments organized on the basis of subject matter, such as agronomy, animal husbandry, horticulture, etc. At the head of each of these departments is an officer known as a department head. The department head may be immediately responsible for all the work in the subject matter of the department in teaching, in research, and in extension, and all the workers in this field be members of the department. Where this is the case, the department head is responsible to the director of resident instruction for the resident teaching work, to the director of research for the research and experiment station work, and to the director of extension for the extension work. It is his duty among other things to coordinate all these types of work in his department. This is known as the departmental basis of organization and is in operation in 19 of 46 institutions reporting on organization.

In 22 institutions the divisional basis of organization is the primary one. Here the head of the resident subject matter department is not directly responsible for all of the corresponding work in research and in extension. He may have direct charge of the resident teaching of his department alone, or of resident teaching and of one or the other of the two remaining phases of agricultural activity. Where the latter is the case, the department head is responsible to the director of resident instruction for the teaching work and to the appropriate director of research or of extension for the other portion of his departmental functions. The individual carrying on extension work in the subject matter of the department is known typically as the extension specialist and is primarily responsible to the director of extension.

The essential differences in the two plans may be stated as follows: Where the departmental plan of organization is primary, the department head is directly responsible for all the subject-matter work of the department whether in teaching, research, or extension. Where the divisional plan is primary he is directly responsible for only a part of the work in his subject matter field, and coordination of the work in the various lines must be provided for in other ways.

In three institutions neither the divisional nor departmental basis of organization can be said to be primary, a combination of both being used. One of these is a large institution and two are small.

In whatever manner the institution may be organized, full coordination of work, of subject matter, and of policies in teaching, research, and extension is not only desirable but essential. Only where this condition prevails can the institution effectively serve its students, develop agricultural science, and be of the greatest help to the rural population through its extension and service work.


In addition to administrative organization other methods of coordination of the different lines of work in agriculture are employed. In 23 institutions the same or contiguous offices are used by those engaged in resident teaching, in research, and in extension in the various subject matter fields. In 25 institutions formal and in

formal conferences between those in the three different lines of work are depended upon to secure coordination. In 13 the workers themselves are expected to arrange such informal conferences as seem to them necessary to teamwork.

In 24 of the 46 institutions under consideration the head of the subject matter teaching department is responsible for the coordination of the subject matter presented by all the workers in his field in resident teaching, research, and extension, although the extension representative may be administratively responsible to the director of extension, and the research worker to the director of research.

Experience in many States indicates that the matter of coordination of the work of the research staff, the teaching staff, and the extension staff is an ever-present problem and that every means that can be used to harmonize the policies and the recommendations of these groups should be employed. There is no doubt that the use of the same or contiguous offices by all representatives of the same subject-matter field where contacts come naturally and informally between all the workers may contribute greatly to fine personal relationships, completeness of understanding, and agreement in recommendations. This is even more important in many States than the advantage of staff cohesion obtained by maintaining all members of the extension staff in offices at a distance from the departments whose subject-matter field they represent. Under whatever plan an institution is organized contacts formal and informal between the workers in all lines should be encouraged to the utmost by administrative officers and department heads.

The departmental unit.—The first units for instruction in agriculture organized in the land-grant institutions were known as departments of agriculture or of horticulture. A department of agriculture is now rare. It has been divided into several departments such as agronomy or farm crops and soils, animal husbandry, dairy husbandry, and poultry husbandry. Many new departments have been organized as the special fields of agricultural science have developed. As a result of the high degree of specialization almost


1 See Vol. II, Part VII, “ Extension services."

? At the University of Minnesota the entire agricultural unit is known as the departarent of agriculture. This, however, is a local provision and the “ department” is divided into departments or divisions just as in other institutions.

120 different names are applied to departments in the agricultural units of the various institutions. The subject matter in many lines has been so divided into a large number of specialties that it is sometimes impossible for students in undergraduate years to take sufficient courses in any one department to get a comprehensive view of the entire field.

There can be no hard and fast rule on the basis of which departments should be organized. Local conditions of specialization in agriculture, of support of the institution, and sometimes of personnel, determine what these departments are to be. They should not be organized on the basis of the ambitions of certain members of the staff, of political considerations, or of the special interests of administrative officers. All of these may change while the institution goes on. The primary justification for the organization of departments is that they may contribute to the effectiveness of agricultural instruction in the institution, to the agricultural interests of the State, and to ease of administration. Evidence that departments in agriculture have actually been created upon such grounds is difficult to obtain. Forty out of forty-four institutions reporting on this point maintain that the relative development of the number of teaching units in their institutions corresponds to the development of the agricultural interests in the State, while 4 indicate that this has not been entirely the guiding principle. It may be seriously questioned whether multiplication of departments has not sometimes hampered instruction upon the undergraduate level and complicated administrative problems. It is certain that excessive departmentalization in some institutions has made extremely important the problem of creating devices of coordination both in the interests of unity of instruction and in the interest of simplified administration.

Similar departments in two or more divisions of the institution.There has been a tendency in a number of instances to develop similar departments in two or more major divisions of the institution, such as chemistry and agricultural chemistry, botany and plant physiology, engineering and agricultural engineering. In some cases this is advisable and desirable. Where much of the agricultural work is located on different campuses, as at the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska, and the University of California, such parallel departmental organizations often are a necessity. However, it would seem to be possible and practicable even in such cases to maintain central departments, of which the units based on location are branches. This might contribute toward a close coordination of the work in the various subject matter fields and tend to maintain a single common standard of scholarship.

Such organization in two or more major divisions of distinct units within a single field may be fully justified in the larger universities and colleges on the basis of the type of work done and the number of students taught, as well as on the different emphasis given to the subject matter. For instance, in an institution where there are thousands of students enrolled in chemistry from the college of arts and sciences, from the college of engineering, and from other major divisions, it may be advisable to segregate agricultural chemistry. Costs of equipment and of personnel may not be increased thereby. Instruction may be improved for students with a special interest. However, in the smaller institution where means are limited and students are comparatively few the organization of parallel departments in two or more divisions would not seem to be justified. In such institutions the work can usually be given the emphasis that will meet the needs of all types of student interest by means of individual attention to students and by wide understanding and sympathies on the part of instructors.

To avoid parallel departmental organization in two or more divisions many institutions resort to departmental organization on the basis of responsibility of one department to two or more major divisions. Thus, in 21 out of 43 institutions reporting, some departments of instruction are listed as of more than one college teaching organization. For example, agricultural engineering may be listed in the division of agriculture and in the division of engineering; entomology, in arts and sciences and in agriculture; bacteriology in agriculture and in veterinary medicine, or in arts and sciences and in agriculture, and so on. This may be desirable and sometimes contribute to coordination of work, and emphasis on those phases of the subject matter which would seem to fit the student body and local needs to the best advantage. The same principle holds true of the policy of assignment of work as between the departments of basic sciences and the departments of application like those in agriculture. There is no uniformity in the various institutions in this respect. Sixteen report that as much of the work as possible is assigned to the departments of basic sciences, 13 that as much as possible is assigned to the departments of application, and 14 that the practice is varied and is determined by many factors.

Junior divisions.—In addition to the organization of the colleges into divisions and departments as described by preceding pages, in recent years there has been much discussion of the desirability of the so-called junior divisions in colleges and universities, that is, a horizontal division of the institution into junior and senior colleges.

111490°-30_VOL 1-48

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