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Schoenfeld, Clay (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 49, Number 8 (May 1948)

Doudna, E. G.
How big should the University be?,   pp. 14-16


Page 14


HOW BIG SHOULD THE UNIVERSITY
   IT IS OFTEN asserted that Wisconsin has too many teachers
colleges, that they are not well located, that they do not educate
enough well-prepared teachers, that they cost too much, that they
neglect the fundamentals, and so on-words without end. Many
of the indictments have some validity, but most of them are mere
variations of banalities recited about every type of public education,
especially above the elementary level.
   Wisconsin has a unique system, or lack of system, for the educa-
tion of teachers. It tried in the beginning to make the State University
"sub-
sidiary to the great cause of popular education by making it, through the
normal department, the nursery of the
educators of the popular mind, and
the central point of union and har-     * An analysis of the his-
mony to the educational interests of    tory, present situation,
the commonwealth."
  Chancellor Lathrop said that this     and future prospects of
would enable the University Board of    Wisconsin's nine normal
Regents to set up "a normal organiza-
tion unsurpassed anywhere, at a moiety  schools, by the man who
of the. expenditure it would require to knew  them  best.
set up a normal school separate from
the University, which could not be ex-
pected to perform the work so well."     By E. d. DOUDNA, "17
The department was discontinued in
1867 with the glowing pronouncement    Late Secretary to the Board of
unrealized.                                Normal School Regents
  A system of subsidizing academies
and high schools to train teachers also
failed, and  in 1866 the Board    of
Regents of Normal Schools as presently
constituted was created and authorized
to establish normal schools. This Board
decided it was wise ,and practicable to
establish one school in each congres-
sional district. They would thus be so
distributed that every area of the state
could be reached. They believed, and
experience justifies the idea, that each
school would draw most of its students
from areas within a radius of fifty
miles. Although the congressional dis-
trict was not the best unit, it has been
rather closely used in locating Wiscon-
sin's nine teachers colleges at Eau
Claire, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Oshkosh,
Platteville, River Falls, Stevens Point,
Superior and Whitewater. This, then,
is the historical reason for the location
of these institutions.
               *  *  *
  The primary function of a teachers
college is to give specific education for
teachers of all grades of the public
schools. A secondary purpose is that of
serving as regional junior colleges. In
spite of many apparent deviations from
their principal business, they are jeal-
ous of their reputation as institutions
to help young men and women become
better teachers.
  In a very few years the normal
school has moved from the secondary
to college level with a name which indi-
cates the present status. With this shift
there have arisen some extremely diffi-
cult p r o b 1 e m s of harmonizing the
purely academic viewpoint with the
teacher training p r o g r a m. Much
greater emphasis is now being placed
upon adequate and realistic knowledge;
but because this is so evident in the
new teachers college set-up it is un-
fair indeed to conclude that the other
141
THE AUTHOR, Wisconsin's beloved "John
Schoolmaster," died suddenly April 16 at
his Madison home. He was 71. Mr.
Doudna- educator, historian, raconteur,
and friend to thousands-had spoken in
practically every community in the state
and was one of Wisconsin's best known
men. Since 1900 he had been associated
with Wisconsin education as teacher and
professional secretary. He earned his UW
degree by dint of hard work in corre-
spondence courses and summer sessions.
Mr. Doudna had just finished the Cen-
tennial history of the state, The 30th
Star. The accompanying article is his
last public statement.
problem is being neglected or that the
adjective has been eliminated from the
name.
   But we have not yet found all of the
 answers to the old question: "What
 should a teacher in a teachers college
 do or not do that he w6uld or would
 not do if he were in an institution of
 the same rank not preparing teachers?"
   During the period that teachers col-
 leges were emerging from the normal
 school status there has also been de-
 veloping a science of education which
 has carried us far beyond the days
 when sonie metaphysics answered for
 a philosophy of education and some
 empirically contrived methods and de-
 vices could be passed on through the
 medium of methods courses and prac-
 tice classes. The college of education
 today is as far from the chair of theory
 and art of teaching which the univer-
 sities once found adequate as teachers
 colleges are from the old normal school
 which prepared teachers for temporary
 work in a most uninviting field. Yet
 these departments have had to fight
 for recognition, and but for the sup-
 port of public school administrators,
 normal schools, and teachers colleges
 they could not have achieved their
 present position of leadership. And
 they, too, have to take from academic
 Brahmans exactly the same profes-
 sional patronizing and basic misunder-
 standing which the teachers colleges
 have had to endure in their difficult
 and dangerous years.
 In the colleges of education research
 work which is making a science of
 education is being  steadily pushed
 ahead. Today we have a fairly large
 body of useful scientific knowledge
 which makes for better schools. The
 adaptation of the results of this re-
 search and the relating of it to subject-
matter for the specific purpose of teach-
ing become the basic work of the
teachers college. It is grossly unfair to
make invidious comparisons accusing
the teachers colleges of lack of exper-
imentation and publication, or of the
university departments of education
for being devoted to research instead
of training. In fact, if educators gen-
erally would declare a moratorium on
public attacks of each dther we should
all be the happier and wiser.
  The government of the teachers col-
leges is vested in the Board of Normal
School Regents made up of 10 members
-two appointed each year by the Gov-
ernor for five-year terms and the State
Superintendent of Public Instruction
who is a member ex officio. The Legis-
lature of 1947 passed an act requiring
all members to be confirmed by the
Senate. There is usually one member
of the board from each city or locality
in which a teachers college is located,
but this is not a requirement. The
board selects the secretary and direc-
tor who is virtually its executive officer.
The presidents of the teachers colleges
Th1e
Teche     d Cellege Ioele
BE?


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