• U.S.

Education: Authoritative Rating

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Presidents read with interest. Professors hemmed, hawed, mentally scrutinized their departmental colleagues. Undergraduates frowned loyally. Alumni wondered. The headline they were all looking at said: VOTE HARVARD FIRST IN NINE DEPARTMENTS. The despatch was from Cambridge, Mass., chiefly quotation from the Harvard undergraduate newspaper. President Raymond M. Hughes of Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) had, it seemed, felt the need of an “authoritative rating of the universities of the country” by subjects commonly taught. He had prepared a list of 20 subjects and mailed it to “several hundred scholars and scientists” of the U. S., asking each to vote on his own subject only. The verdict had been: Harvard, first place in Chemistry, Classics, Economics, English, French, Government, History, Philosophy, Spanish; second place in German, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology; tied for second with Chicago University and Johns Hopkins in Zoology.

Chicago University had been voted first in Botany, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Sociology: second place in Astronomy, Educa- tion, French, Government, Spanish. Columbia University had won Edu- cation, Psychology, Zoology; second place in Botany, Economics, English, Philosophy, Sociology; tied for second with Yale in Geology.

Other colleges, said the Cambridge despatch, “were conspicuous by their absence” in this vote. Equally conspicuous, thought the most generous reader, were certain facts omitted in the despatch: What “scholars and scientists” voted? Who won in Astronomy and German, the other two first places open? What was meant by “excellence of teaching”−method, personnel, equipment? How were the voters instructed? What weight did individual reputations bear in such a vote? What weight person- alities, tradition, foreign esteem?

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