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At a special meeting of the Regents of the University of Wisconsin, held at the Capitol, on the 22d day of June, 1859, Chancellor Barnard read the following paper:
Gentlemen of the Board of Regents :
I thank you for this early opportunity, after reaching the State, of commencing my administration of the affairs of the University with a personal introduction to its legal guardians, under whose direction I am to act, and without whose continued kindness and confidence, I do not anticipate even a moderate degree of success in my labors.
In availing myself thus early of the privilege and requisition of your ordinance, defining the duties of Chancellor, "to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall deem necessary and expedient," I wish mainly to express my readiness and desire to act with you and for you, in such direction as you may officially indicate, and my determination to retire from my present position so soon as I shall know or feel that we do not harmonize in our aims and plans. With this declaration, and for the purpose of indicating the general aim and policy with which I enter upon my duties, I invite your attention to the following subjects:
1. I wish to settle as early as possible, the lowest point at which the proper studies of the University are to commence, by removing the students and studies which constitute the Preparatory Department, into the Public High School of Madison. A brief visit to the classes of each, and a conference with their instructors, has satisfied me that the two are now trying to do the same work, and to some extent, are a mutual hindrance, instead of a help to each other, and that a union of students and efforts,
will make a far better institution than either. A good Public High School in this city, while it will constitute an indispensible feature in the public Schools of Madison, and an unmixed blessing to its people, can be made a model for schools of this grade in the cities and large villages of the State, and thus become itself, and help to make the other Public High Schools, the natural sources of supply for the University and other institutions of the same grade. A State cannot have good elementary schools, or an efficient University, without schools of an intermediate grade, developing and encouraging a love of learning in the young, and furnishing the Lecessary preparation for the studies of the University. So far as I can now sce, this is the weak point of the system of public instruction in Wisconsir.
2. I wish to take the necessary preliminary steps to develop the Normal Department of the University, and to bring it into close and immediate connection with the State system of Normal instruction. This, in my judgment, can best be done, so far as their studies are identical, and so far as professional instruction in classification, teaching and discipline of the district, village and city school are concerned, by uniting the Normal pupils of the University, with the Normal class of the Public High School of Madison; and at the same time affording them opportunities of residence, class instruction and lectures, in other studies at the University. I would also advise the opening of a brief course of Normal instruction for those teachers who cannot spend even the time at present required by the Normal Regents, of institutions participating in the fund administered by them.
3. The immediate development of the University course, by practical instruction in the application of science to individual and public health, to agriculture, architecture, and other industrial pursuits of the State, seems to me to be called for by the true interests of the University and of the State, if these can ever be otherwise than identical. The completion of the central edifice, or University Hall, will give, if not the best, at least large facilities for an analytic laboratory, and for practical operations; and the appointment of at least one additional Professor in this Department will be absolutely necessary to the proper inauguration of the department of practical science, or a polytechnic school.
4. An early revision of the ordinances and by-laws, including the courses of study, seems to me necessary; and in such revision I would recommend, among other particulars, the admission of pupils to any department or study, and for any period of time, not less than one term, provided they are found qualified, on examination, to enter, and will conform to regulations; the classification of pupils by their individual studies, and not by any grouping of studies, or by the period of residence; the conferring
of all degrees and certificates of proficiency after public examination, conducted by both written and oral questions and answers, and without reference to the institution where candidates have pursued their studies; the arrangements of the terms and vacations so as to better accommodate both students and instructors, allowing the former to devote their vacations to such kinds of labor, in the field or school as will enable them to pay the expenses of residence here, and allowing the latter to visit other colleges, and engage by lectures in the educational movements of the State; and the appointment of all professors, hereafter, for specified periods of time, and with salaries to some extent dependent on the amount of time devoted to instruction, and the number of pupils in attendance on each.
5. While the comfort, health, morals, manners and expenditures of students, from abroad, are directly and powerfully influenced by the arrangements which are made for their board and lodging, I am clear that those arrangements should not be a tax on the income of a fund established for purposes of instruction; much less be made to absorb the fund itself. Whatever may be the seeming necessity for dormitories in the first beginning of an institution, experience has shown that the objects had in view can be gradually secured without the enormous expenditure, both in the original cost of buildings, and in the constant repairing and modifications of the same. It is now too late to inquire how far the interest of $40,000 (less than the original cost of the two dormitories) temporarily withdrawn, would have assisted families of the right character to establish permanent boarding houses in the immediate neighborhood of the Halls, Library, Cabinets, Class and Lecture rooms, which constitute the real material requirements of a University. The only thing to be done now is to make the most economical use of what we have invested in buildings and outfit for lodging and boarding students, and secure the nearest approach to a true domestic life for them. The drain on the income of the institution, for this purpose, should be stopped at once, thoroughly and forever.
6. The exceeding beauty of the situation and grounds of the University arrest the eye, and command the admiration of every stranger, and help to weave the web of attachment, in which every student must feel himself bound to this institution. No encroachment of wave, no neglect, and no amount of violence, can materially diminish the general effect of the scenery which is outspread from every window of the University buildings, and from every foot of its enclosure. But I would respectfully remind the Regents, that no friendly appeal, and no legal effort, should be spared to protect the grounds bordering on Lake Mendota from further destruction, by artificial embankments, or by reducing the waters of the lake to its former level. Every storm drives the trespassing waves on to
the banks so as not only to mar their beauty, but wash away the proper ty of the University.
7. Whatever may have been the real or imaginary necessity for the large expenditure for buildings, which will continue for years to come, in interest, insurance, repairs and sinking fund, to absorb a large amount of the income of the productive property of the University, it is to be hoped that that necessity will pass away with the completion of the main edifice, and henceforward whatever can be spared from the expenses of instruction, will be devoted to the increase of the library and cabinets, and the extension of the laboratory, and of facilities for the application of science to the industrial pursuits of the State.
8. In conclusion, I must respectfully remind the Regents, that in accepting this office, I expressly stipulated, that I was to be relieved from all instructional duty in the classes of the University, and was to be at liberty to co-operate with the Board of Regents of Normal Schools, as their agent, and with the teachers and friends of common schools, in their efforts to develop all the means and institutions of education, intended for the great masses of the people. On this firm and broad foundation of good elementary schools, must the higher institutions of learning rest, and in the sympathy and confidence of the people, find their necessary encouragement and support.
To the Regents of the University :
MADISON, July 26th, 1859.
As I am not prepared, from a personal knowledge of the financial and instructional operations of the University, to give minute information, as to its present condition, or make suggestions of improvement, in addition to such as I had the honor to submit to your Board, at the special meeting in June, I respectfully ask your attention to the accompanying communication of my predecessor, whose administration of this office, in accordance with your vote, and with my request, covers the collegiate year, which is about to close.
I regret that the absence of Dr. Lathrop at the time, should deprive the Board of any additional personal explanation, which may be called for, on any point presented in his communication.
TO HON. HENRY BARNARD,
Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin:
In compliance with your request, I submit a brief statement of the administration and condition of the University, during the year ending July, 1859.
The whole number of students in attendance on the instructions of the University, in connection with the several classes in the departments of Science, Literature and the Arts, has been one hundred and fifty-nine.-Oatside of this number, there have been in the Commercial College, attached to the University, eighty-four pupils, making a total of two hundred and forty-three.
Courses of instruction have been rendered in the following departments, to wit:-in Ethical and Political Science, in Mental Philosophy, Logic, Rhetoric and English Literature; in Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Astronomy; in Physical Science; in Ancient Languages and Literature; in Modern Languages and Literature; and on subjects preparatory to these several University courses. Public Examinations, of all the classes, have been holden at the close of each term; the one at the close of the third term, covering the studies of the year. Those passing this latter examination, will be admitted to the instructions of the year next in advance.
Eight of the whole number, on the fourth year of the University course, just closed, are candidates for appropriate degrees in Science and Arts, to be awarded at the approaching commencement.
The attendance of students on the prescribed exercises has been exemplary, and the standard of scholarship high.
Weekly reports are made by each officer, of the attendance and proficiency of students from whom exercises are due; and at the close of each term, the result is made up, and goes upon the permanent records of the institution.
The deportment of each student is also made a matter of weekly review, at the stated meetings of the Faculty, and of permanent record at the close of the term.
Whenever it is made apparent that the deficiencies of any student, in scholarship or deportment, are such as to unfit him for continued membership, such notice is given to the the parent or guardian, and usually resalts in the voluntary withdrawal of the member from the University body. This result, however, is not reached, till faithfl admonition has been tried and proved unavailing. And it is not often that more stringent measures are needful to the conservation of the order and the healthful tone of discipline in the institution,