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Schoenfeld, Clay (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 49, Number 9 (June 1948)

The faculty,   p. 5


Page 5


   THE FACULTY
   WHATEVER THE UNIVERSITY of Wisconsin has lacked in
the line of buildings and equipment, it has always had, by accident
or by design, a pretty good faculty.
  Its first professor, John Sterling, was no whirlwind teacher or
administrator, but he manifested a staunch loyalty to the institution
which virtually alone kept it going during the lean years prior to
1866.
  The Williams College triumvirate of Chadbourne, Bascom, and
Birge, in command off and on from 1866 to 1926, placed great em-
phasis on the purely academic aspects of University performance
and built up a teaching staff which became famous for the liberality
of both its machinery and its doctrines.
  Again__ in 1946, -Pres. E_. B. Fred, himself_ a product and an ex
ponent of Wisconsin's strong faculty tradition, put his blue budget
chips on salary raises instead of on building funds-and held the
University staff together in the face of siren calls from rival col-
leges.
  This is not to say that the University of Wisconsin's 2,250 faculty
members today are all Frederick Jackson Turners.
  The fact is that on the Madison campus this year could be found
some of the best-and some of the worst-teaching in the 99-year
history of the institution.
   Of the 2,250 members of the teaching staff, only 855 are profes-
sors. The rest are instructors and grad assistants. On them fall the
bulk of the instructional load, particularly in freshman and sopho-
more courses. Some of these tyros are by nature good teachers, with
a certain amount. of personal interest in their students. Others are
primarily concerned with their own research projects (because pro-
motion often depends largely on publication), and they merely go
through the motions of conducting classes.
   Some veteran professors maintain fairly successful in-service
training programs for their assistants. Others let the instructors
shift for themselves.
   Most Wisconsin faculty members are busy. Some lack time to
function properly as advisors and friendly consultants. Other lack
incentive.
  The faculty administrative setup is a maze of committees. Some
professors mistake this democratic system as an excuse for quibbling
and delay.
  But if some Wisconsin instruction is not up to par, there is a good
deal that is superior. In just about every University department
there are at least one or two professors who have national reputa-
tions as experts in their respective fields,, who have an abiding inter-
est in good teaching, who have personalities that appeal to under-
graduates, and who have the necessary combination of tact and
force to make a committee run.
   Some of these professors are getting old now. They have been
known and loved by generations of Badgers. They have dedicated
their lives to making the University of Wisconsin a great example
of Jeffersonian education. Others are comparatively young. They are
only beginning to make their influence felt in faculty meetings, in
lecture halls, and around the state.
   Above all, the University of Wisconsin has a great faculty tradi-
 tion. It is a tradition that men will take precedence over bricks and
 mortar. It is a tradition that no limitations shall trammel scientific
 inquiry. It is a tradition of strong faculty participation in policy
 formation. Periodic slumps in financing, bulges in enrollment, or
 political whims may occasionally put this tradition in the shade, but
 there is strong evidence that in the long run the University of Wis-
 consin will maintain a faculty of the caliber which merits pride.
   It will take money and courage.
RAY A. BROWN. like any other profes-
sor, would not want to be passed off
here as a typical UW prof. And indeed
he isn't. But Professor Brown of the Law
School is representative of the type of
faculty member which over the years has
built Wisconsin's strong faculty tradition.
  Professor Brown joined the UW faculty
in 1923 at the age of 33 and except for
leaves of absence has been here ever
since. He has a high-powered educa-
tional background with degrees from
Minnesota and Harvard. He taught at
the University of South Dakota before
coming to Wisconsin" and has since been
loaned to the Universities of Chicago.
Kansas, and Southern California.
  Professor Brown has a national reputa-
tion. He has been a member of a special
federal staff on a 1927 survey of Indian
affairs and a special consultant with the
tax alVISon o0 the Department of Justice.
He is the author of four law texts on
personal property, real property, and
workmen's compensation. From 1937 to
1940 he served as national president of
the Order of Coil.
  Professor Brown likes to teach. From
1944 to 1946 he took a fling as attorney
for the American Telephone & Telegraph
Co. in New York City, but his love for
the campus brought him back to Madi-
son last year.
  Professor Brown gets himself and his
subject across. He looks the part of the
studious, urbane. pipe-smoking prof. He
acts the role of the teacher in the best
sense of the word. Typical student com-
ments run like this: "One of the best
teachers in the law school.... Stimulat-
ing. . . . He's so good he leaves you
weak in the knees. . . . We need more
Ray Browns on the HilL"
  Wisconsin has been blessed with
  many Ray Browns in the past. It has
  lured them from other schools and it has
  developed some home-grown products.
  It has made their lives at Madison fruit-
  ful with fairly decent salaries, an ex-
  hilerating air of free inquiry, and a
  challenging idea of service to the com-
  monwealth. Wisconsin has a goodly
  leavening of Ray Browns today. Would
  Wisconsin have enough Ray Browns to-
  morrow? Badgers everywhere had faith
  that it would.
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