University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Information bulletin
(June 1951)

Read, James M.
Present status of universities,   pp. 25-26 PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 26

(although only one Englishman' was on the commission
together with 11 German), then why is not an exclusively
German commission set up to assess the situation? Ameri-
can higher education certainly derived great benefits
from the work of the President's Commission on Higher
Education which issued its report in 1949.
NE OF THE BASIC SUGGESTIONS advanced in the
O Gutachten wads the series of recommendations de-
signed to bridge the gulf between university and the
public. The gulf is large at the present time; the academic
island is surrounded by an oversized protective moat and
the drawbridges do not come, down. Learning is with-
drawn into cloisters as it w~als during the middle ages, a
process which the earliest universities served to combat
from their very birth in the 13th century.
Academic freedom is an admirable part of our cultural
heritage, but in a democracy the professors and scholars
must have contact with the intelligent and sensitive
leaders olf the community. The Gutachten suggested the
establishment of a university council and a board of
trustees. If such councils were established, with real
powers, they might indeed encroach on some of the
duties of the overworked Kulturministers (cultural
ministers) as well as on the complete autonomy of the
faculties. But the interests of the public would be better
preserved, to the benefit of all.
Such representation from the public would probably
insist that something be done about one of the most
serious charges of all that is leveled at the German Hoch-
schulen, that of over-specialization. And here I arrive at
my third conclusion: the need for more general educa-
tion. The basic idea of a liberal education, designed to
bring to full self-development the really free man, has
been lost sight of. The universities are producing only
the specialist, the Fachmann. And this is at a time when
as in no other the well-rounded, civic-minded citizen and
sicholar is needeid.
I do not want to leave the impression that I consider
this an exclusively German problem. It is European! and
American. But a counter-move has set in with us and
made the introduction of the studium generate (general
studies) in one form or another a matter of general con-
cern affecting almost all of our institutions of higher
learning. One of the most notable products of this trend
was the report of a committee of scholars set up by
Harvard University, entitled General Education in a Free
Society, which has been translated into German under
the title Allgemeinbildung in einem freien Volk (General
Education for Free People). You can get a copy of this
at any US Information Center. I recommend it highly.
R ELATED TO THIS LACK of general education is also
the underdevelopment of the social sciences in
general at the German universities. Sociology, anthro-
pology, political science have been neglected fields of
research and teaching. A proper studium generate is dif-
ficult to achieve as lonig as these all-important branches
of study in human relations are neglected.
And so we have these three problems: The attitude of
the faculties, the contact with the public, the need for
INFORMATION BULLETIN
general education. They are obviously interrelated. It
there were a more direct relationship to the community
around them the faculties would be forced to be more
aware of the demands of modern times, and they would
certainly answer the needs of the community for more
general education.
I hasten to add that I am not ignorant of certain begin-
nin,gs in these directions. At several universities advisory
councils have been establiished,'for instance, in Freiburg
and Hamburg. At the Technical University of Karlsruhe
a broadened senate is to take over the functions of such
a council. Several universities have set aside one day
as a dius academicus (day of learning) for general lectur-
ers. Several of the universities have also now set up
chairs of political and social science. Heidelberg has now
entered into arrangements with certain 'schools of adult
education whereby the professors do not appear only to
hold a lecture and then disappear as rapidly as possible,
but where they devote a whole evening to discussion with
the students.
In Tuebingen the Leibniz College has been founded,
a wonderful attempt to combine the studium generate
with student community life. May these examples and
beginnings be increased soon and successfully. Then we
would not have to, be disturbed at the threatened return
of medieval social forms like the fighting fraternities at
the German universities or the obscuration that comes
from blind allegiance to tradition. The cycle of 150 years
ago where cultural and scientific leadership of the world
was assumed by the German Hochschulen might be
repeated.                                   +END
Bavaria Receives Two IRO Hospitals
The International Refugee Organization (IRO) has
turned over to German administration two IRO sana-
toriums for tubercular refugees at Gauting and Amberg
in Bavaria. Included in the transfer is a DM 2,000,000
($476,000) grant to convert Gauting into one of Europe's
largest tuberculosis hospitals.
The United Nations-sponsored agency's announcement
stated that the agreement will assure adult IRO refugees
the same hospital care which the agency has furnished
to more than 10,000 tubercular DP's in the US Zone of
Germany during the past four years
Under the program to be operated by the Bavarian
state insurance administration (LVA), Gauting's bed
capacity will be increased from 850 to 1,150. The former
German Army hospital, leased by LVA for 50 years, will
receive sufficient funds from the Bavarian Ministry of
Finance to cover operating costs and give patients such
sick grants as are accorded in German institutions.
The agreement also provides that refugee doctors pre-
sently employed at Gauting will be retained and that at
least two percent of the staff's physicians shall be IRO
refugees as long as they are available. In the adminis-
trative service, DP's will be offered 10 percent of the
posts and in auxiliary services, at least 25 percent. Ad-
missions will be limited to eligible refugees until their
number falls- below 80 percent of the hospital's capacity,
at which time other patients may receive treatment.
JUNE 1951
26


Go up to Top of Page