News | Published:

University or Polytechnic

Nature volume 140, page 541 (25 September 1937) | Download Citation



IN the current issue of Queen's Quarterly, a Canadian review, "The Higher Learning" is discussed by Dr. R. C. Wallace, formerly president of the University of Alberta and now principal of Queen's University, Ontario. He refers to a recent assessment by R. M. Hutchins, president of the University of Chicago, of "The Higher Learning in America" (Yale University Press) which confirms Abraham Flexner's estimate of the modern university. Admitting that there is a tendency for the university to become a mere congeries of professional schools deserving rather the name of polytechnic, Dr. Wallace rejects the suggested remedy—the severance of professional schools from the university and the restriction of the university's field to the fundamental sciences and mental discipline, such as metaphysics. He argues that the aim of liberalizing university education may be realized by invigorating and revitalizing the arts school, establishing a system of organic connexions and interchange of thought between it and other parts of the university so that its influence may permeate them all, and selecting for key positions in the professional schools persons of wide sympathies and philosophic outlook capable of using professional courses as instruments of mental culture as well as of vocational training. So confident is he of the potential liberalizing influence of the arts school that he declares its actual impotence to be the gravest fault of the existing university system.

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing