Page images

problems is necessarily highly personal, her office and its settings may be the most effective means of drawing out a student's confidence and winning her friendship.

Since the success of the dean of women depends about as much upon the confidence of the faculty in her judgment as it does upon the confidence of the student body in general, she must maintain close relations with the other academic officers and with the faculty. The list of academic officers with whom she shares some of the student advisory work is legion. They range through the whole faculty-professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and instructors, down through a long list of nonfaculty personnel.

Office of the Dean of Men

Although the practice of assigning to a single college official the duties of a dean of men is not nearly so general in the land-grant institutions as is the practice of assigning to a dean of women the corresponding duties for women students, many of the statements concerning the office of the dean of women apply with equal force to the office of the dean of men. The idea that the personal relationship between faculty and men students needs embodiment in a single officer is of very late origin, and by no means so widely accepted as is the recognition of the need for a dean of women. Consequently, in many of the land-grant institutions the deans of the colleges and the deans of divisions are still carrying on this work fairly effectively, especially where the student body is small. A tone of almost belligerent denial of the necessity for centralization could be detected in some of the statements furnished for survey purposes.

In marked contrast with the clear-cut enumeration of the duties of the dean of women and definition of her functions, the deans of men are apparently groping to discover just what their justification for existence may be. The most illuminating material is found in the proceedings of the annual meetings of the National Association of Deans of Men. Here is evident a very masculine sentimentalizing of the work and of the relations with students, which vanished from the discussions held by deans of women a score of years ago. Two extracts from papers presented by the leading deans of men, no longer than two years ago, set the key for practically all the discussions. Stanley Coulter, dean emeritus at Purdue, at the 1928 meeting epitomizes the duties thus:

It is utterly impossible to tell what the function of the dean of men may be. He is a personality, not an officer. If he is not that he will be utterly unsuccessful in his work as a dean. He is the human element in the university mechanism.

The dean of men should not hedge his office work with whole tiers of filing cabinets and card indexes until the machine hides the purpose. There are some deans who put everything down on the records. I am sorry for them and sorry for the students under them. I have no time to make records and I do not want records.

The following year, 1929, Dean Culver, of Stanford University, introduced his paper as follows:

Speaking very frankly I do not see how any one can define or set forth such duties. It is as impossible as defining the legal and social and parental duties of a father, or the duties of an older brother or friend. Where fathers have sometimes failed we must try to succeed; where older brothers have been neglectful, or thoughtless or selfish we must be generous, alert, and thoughtful; where friends have lasted only while the sun shines, we must last throughout the years.

It will be seen that these statements are idealizations which are expressive of the actual accomplishments of the men who made the statements. However, no person can really permeate a college atmosphere-his only method of reaching students is through establishing contacts whereby individuals come to him, and to do that he must have definite functions and duties, through which he can make his influence felt. The dean of a college of engineering in a land-grant institution reported that he personally supervises the programs of all his students, that he manages a loan fund, that he interviews all students whose work falls below standard, that he establishes contacts with the business world for placement of his graduates and so on indefinitely—and that he performs all the duties of a “ dean of men ” in his college, and sees no room for such an official in addition.

When the actual status of the office of dean of men campuses of the land-grant institutions is considered it is found that two were established in the years 1901 and 1902, respectively. Only 9 deans of men were appointed in the years from 1901 to 1919, while 20 have been appointed since the latter date. Eighteen institutions have no dean of men, but the duties are distributed among various other officials ranging from the deans of major divisions to the Y. M. C. A. secretaries. One institution reported that the latter performed many of the duties of the dean of men very satisfactorily.

The deans of men were asked to report on the qualifications for the holder of the office. Replies were either so noncommittal as to give no picture or so vague as to indicate that they were largely idealizations. However, seven institutions reported that the dean of men must be a member of the faculty holding full professorial rank. The qualities that he should possess were variously listed, the most frequent being sympathy and ability to counsel with young men. The vague term “personality" was given as a characterization repeatedly. The high light in this section of the report came from the institution which stated that the dean of men must be “ supreme in the academic world, with all the usual quali

on the

fications of the best professionally, a combination of Sherlock Holmes and the Angel of Mercy.” Fairness, a sense of justice, ability to work with the faculty as well as with students, “ a proper moral attitude," courage, initiative, and a sense of humor, were other qualifications that were mentioned many times.

The duties of the office vary greatly in the institutions, but as was found with the deans of women, the greater part of the time of the dean of men is given to personal conferences with individual students on scholastic, financial, physical, and emotional problems.

In checking the major duties of the office, work with student organizations was mentioned by 29 deans of men; guidance of students and discipline by 28; social activities by 27; handling of excuses for absence from class by 23; work in connection with the orientation of freshmen by 22; work with scholarship committees by 22; the handling of student loans by 18; some supervision of housing and feeding by 15; concern with student health by 13; placement work by 11; employment work by 10; religious education of students by 5; and cooperation with the physical education department by 2. Though this follows roughly the order of frequency in this same group of duties of the dean of women, it varies from it markedly in some respects.

The deans of men reported the percentages of members of the four college classes that they interviewed.

In 10 institutions they interviewed between 75 and 100 per cent of the freshmen, while in 8 they interviewed between 20 and 50 per cent. In only 3 institutions was the percentage between 75 and 90 in the sophomore class, while in 14 institutions it was between 10 and 50 per cent of this class. The interviews with the junior class were not so frequent in any of the reports. Apparently the need of this group of students for personal contact is not felt to be so urgent. The number interviewed rose again in the senior group, ranging between 5 and 50 per cent in 13 of the institutions and up to 75 per cent in 3 of the institutions. One dean reported that while it was impossible to state what proportion of the students in various classes were interviewed, he felt that he came in contact with every man student at some time in that student's college course. The list of officers with whom the dean of men cooperated was the same as that for the dean of women.

The salary of the dean of men ranges from $1,200 to $8,000 with the median at $4,500. The salary in all but four of the land-grant institutions is paid from State funds. In two of the land-grant institutions a small portion of it is paid from student fees, and in 2 others it is paid wholly from miscellaneous receipts rather than from State funds.

Most of the 29 deans of men had fair equipment in the way of clerical and stenographic help, 83 clerks and stenographers being distributed among them. Twenty-five had assistants who were above the rank of clerk. All of the deans of men in the institutions reporting had private offices, but a private waiting room was provided for only 24 of the 29. The recommendation can not be made too strongly that the office of every dean of men be entirely private, and that there be a waiting room provided where his stenographic and clerical assistants may have their desks, so that the dean himself may hold uninterrupted and confidential conferences with the students who need to consult him.

Typical statements of the duties of the office of dean of men indicates a tendency to make of the office a sort of collegiate catch-all, where the issuing of automobile permits and the collection of student debts may crowd out the real functions such as cooperating with student self-government and counseling with student organizations. Many of the tasks assigned would seem to aid in only the slightest degree in making the dean of men “ the human element in the university mechanism.” It would seem that deans of men in the landgrant institutions have not yet analyzed their jobs and defined their duties as clearly as have the deans of women. In the institutions where the deans of men have had a clear conception of their offices have refused to be loaded with irrelevant duties and have defined their functions and devoted their energies to the very necessary and legitimate tasks of this important office, the deans are really liaison officers for the whole institution. They do “succeed where fathers have sometimes failed "; their lasting friendships with alumni who were their students are the best justification their office could ask.

Chapter III.—Personnel Service

The term “personnel service” has been carried over into the colleges from industry, where it came into prominence just after the World War. Its emphasis in industry, however, is quite different from that in the college and university. Industry's first interest in personnel is in increasing the efficiency of the individual worker in order that the organization may benefit. For this reason industry uses personnel work in selecting, teaching, lessening turnover, conserving health, and providing recreation for its workers. The benefit to the individual worker is incidental; the benefit to the industry paramount. When colleges took over this type of work, however, the emphasis was immediately changed. The fundamental aim in personnel work in the college is that of service to the student as an individual, and its entire organization centers around this aim. So fundamental is this conception of service to the individual student that the form of organization is entirely secondary to the actual accomplishment. For this reason it is not particularly discouraging to find that only seven of the land-grant institutions report a unification of this work into one administrative department.

If the work in the college is to be well done for the individual student it must permeate every department of the institution. It must enter into the student's selection of courses, his relations with his individual instructors, his choice of his life work, and even into such seemingly unrelated things as his own emotional adjustments and physical condition. Because this is true it is almost impossible to say definitely that only certain college officers are personnel officers and that others are primarily officers of instruction. It is equally impossible to draw a sharp line of distinction, as some attempt to do, between vocational and educational guidance and advisement, since they are closely tied up in the individual student's experience.

Examination of the data collected shows that personnel work, socalled, is still in its infancy as a separate function in the land-grant institutions. Of the seven institutions reporting single administrative departments covering all of this work, only four employ a sin. gle director of personnel whose work covers the whole institution,

« PreviousContinue »