THE criticism of Mr. Allen's survey entering into my article on the situation at Madison was based entirely upon the Report upon the Survey of the University of Wisconsin, published by the state Board of Public Affairs. This publication, besides the report of the board's own findings, contains the whole of the Allen report with the university comments upon each section. Each party in this controversy was at pains to put its own side fully before the public. None of my criticisms were the survey were dependent upon other sources.
Upon the situation which led up to the action of the Wisconsin Legislature and governor and upon that action itself, I sought light from interviews with different members of the university, and of the Legislative Reference Bureau, from a state senator and from two deans and a professor in the law school. I mention this because Mr. Allen, with but little circumlocution, accuses me of having presented what he calls a Weinmanised review. A Weinmanised document he defines as one written or colored by university officials in the interest of its administration and published over another name.
Any one who has undertaken to read the published report of the survey of the University of Wisconsin will see that one need not consult anyone in offering the criticisms which I have made upon it. No judgment contained in that criticism did I gain in Madison or from any source other than my own reading except the confirmation of the statement which had reached me that the members of the faculty of the university had been seriously disturbed by the survey's methods and procedure. The article was submitted in proof to the officers of the university and to Mr. Allen for criticism of points of fact.
I will now refer to contested points of fact.
I depended upon reports of "persons present" at the Senate hearing upon the substitute amendment to the financial measure, because I was told that the Senate had no stenographic minutes of this session. If I have reported Mr. Allen's defense of this amendment on this occasion incorrectly, this has not materially affected the account given of the whole affair.
I did not state what sums the regents asked for when they accepted the cut of $765,000 made by the finance committee nor was there the slightest reason for this being stated, nor did I state that in this sum there was an inflated allowance for salaries of $100,000, for this to my understanding was entirely false.
The points in which the findings of the Board of Public Affairs agree with the recommendations of the survey, are all in line with the efforts which all universities are making toward the improvement of their administration, if we except the recommendation of courses without foreign language requirements leading to a degree, which indeed seems to me quite out of place here as in Mr. Allen's survey. My position in regard to this coincidence of the recommendations of the members of the board with those of the survey was that the state Board of Public Affairs, although Mr. Allen was their employe, were unwilling to associate their recommendations with his, thus indicating their lack of confidence in his methods and results.
I did not say that the high school lay outside the scope of the survey, but that the question of educational policy in maintaining such a practical school for the department of education lay outside the province of a rapid survey.
The implication that President Van Hise agreed to the bases used by Mr. Allen for estimating the cost of research and instruction is utterly unjustified and a later statement with reference to research cost, to the effect that Mr. Allen recognized the periods of preparation for classroom work and those for laboratory supervision on the part of university instructors is equally disingenuous. My comment was that, in the particular instance of figuring out the cost of research, Mr. Allen actually allowed only a little over eight hours of work on the part of the professors for instruction. His earlier tabulation has no bearing upon this calculation.
I must maintain my position that contact with the university life on the part of the members of the survey staff was slight. This contact is not to be estimated by the number of questionnaires and letters sent out or classrooms visited under the conditions of stress which characterized the six months' survey. Adequate contact with the university life could have been obtained only if Mr. Allen and his staff had been working in such harmony with the university that they could have lived with it under normal conditions and through a considerable period. The short period and vast extent of the survey necessitated externality, and the extreme tension which the survey induced, while it called out comments of some more or less critical of the existing order of things, closed more doors than it opened.
On the basis of his presentation in the survey reports, Mr. Allen asserts that the controversy between the survey and the university arose only through the insistence of the president upon a method involving personalities, that he, Mr. Allen, sought repeatedly to protect the university against Weinmanism, that his findings were accurate, while the university sought to suppress and distort them, that the university held back the report as long as it dared, that opposition to his statements was due to, their being critical of the university, not to any question as to their reliability, that he was always ready to confer with members of the university staff and make all corrections pointed out by them so far as these were justified. And yet, in reality, there is no important allegation made in this survey which Mr. Allen has any right to expect any one to accept without an independent investigation of its sources.
The survey was conducted in such a manner and under such conditions that not simply the conclusions but the facts as well are contested, and there is no way of bringing the questions as to facts to an answer except by further investigation. Alow (sic) me to quote from the university comments upon the correctness of Mr. Allen's findings, pages 186-7 of the report:
"The reader is invited to test the worth of Dr. Allen's guarantee by this exhibit and the comment upon it.
"(4) In exhibit 34 Dr. Allen attempts to show that there is 'considerably more than $600.00 spent for research.' In order to justify this computation he selects figures from the data on the 'typical week,' by which he asserts that faculty members on an average spend 8.3 hours weekly for instruction and 6.7 for research. He then divides the salary list between instruction and research in the ratio 8.3:6.7
"But Dr. Allen's own 'working papers' show the absurdity (or worse) of this contention. His teaching hours are too small, on the basis of his own returns. When the laboratory and seminary work arbitrarily omitted by Dr. Allen is included. the mean teaching in the College of Letters and Science is 11.9 hours for all classes of full time teachers. This is about 43 per cent more than is assigned by Dr. Allen.
"The average hours of 'classroom and laboratory work' of a professor in the table given in exhibit 2 section 3, are 7.5. But when the laboratory work and seminary \work dropped by Dr. Allen though entered on his tables, is restored the mean is 10.3 hours; an increase of nearly 40 per cent.
"But this error of 40 per cent is a small matter. In the computation of cost of research he places as comparable numbers 8.3 hours of instruction and 6.7 of research. But his own data show that the 'typical week' consists of nearly 60 hours, of which 6.7 are given to research. If the whole of research were cut off only about one-ninth of the instructors' working time would be freed. according to Dr. Allen's data. and therefore a very small part of the salaries should be charged to research: a smaller part, indeed, than results from the computations of the university.
"Had Dr. Allen presented the data on the 'typical week' which his 'working papers' contain, his computation of cost of research would have been seen to be worthless.
"The reader is again invited to consider the value of Dr. Allen's guarantee.
'No statement of facts and no conclusion or recommendation of Dr. Allen can be accepted without verification."
If one has convinced himself in advance, as Mr. Allen seems to have done, that the authorities of the University of Wisconsin are rascals whom Mr. Allen has caught in flagrante delicto, he may push their comments aside as valueless because of their source. On no other theory could Mr. Allen's facts be accepted without an independent verification.
As I have insisted, this is the capital judgment to be passed upon the survey. No investigator should have undertaken what Mr. Allen undertook until he was convinced that he could present data which could be used. Nor can Mr. Allen demand of anyone, who does not reject in advance all university testimony that he accept his reply: "I have done my best, while the university authorities have refused to co-operate," for they answer, on pages 185-6:
"In part I of his report, under the heading, Co-operation with the University, Dr. Allen describes at length steps taken to secure a statement of the facts which would be acceptable to all parties. He says: 'Findings of fact have been submitted to the university for comparison with official records, numerous conferences have been held with committees and officers, with respect to each section of the report, the following steps have been taken . . .' and then he lists seven steps which appear to indicate a commendable willingness on his part to come to a basis of agreement on the facts.
"As a matter of exact truth, it must be said that it did not prove possible for the university and Dr. Allen to come into agreement regarding any instalment of his material which was of consequence, that a large part of the disagreement related to questions of fact, and that his report and exhibit were and are saturated with inaccuracy and error.
"In exhibit 33 Dr. Allen asserts that it was easy for the university and himself to come into agreement regarding section 3, for nearly two-thirds of the instalments no conference with the survey (Dr. Allen) was requested although (a) early conferences showed that it was easy for the university and the survey (Dr. Allen) to come into agreement regarding sections; and (b) the regents and state Board of Public Affairs agreed in May, in June and in October that such conferences should be held, as was clearly and emphatically stated by the president of the university at the October joint meeting [quoted from Allen ms. since a copy of exhibit 35 is not accessible] but we think this statement is the same in its printed form in exhibit 35].
"the facts are as follows: (1) The conferences were suggested by President Van Hise as a means of narrowing the zone of controversy,' and with the hope that Dr. Allen would accept university criticisms of his draft instalments in such a spirit that it might be unnecessary to file critical comments upon them. The arrangement for conferences was based on this idea, and many conferences were held.
"(2) There was not a single conference which 'showed that it was easy' or even possible for the university and Dr. Allen 'to come into agreement regarding section.' Certainly the early session of the Board of Public Affairs upon Dr. Allen's 'significant facts' regarding the Wisconsin high school cannot be construed to be a conference of this nature. [See supplement to exhibit 23 and university comment on this exhibit.] As a result the university filed comments as it was able upon substantially all the Allen material.
"(3) The conferences had to be abandoned for the following reasons:
"(a) The Allen instalment poured in on and after December 1, and we were informed that the Board of Public Affairs was to hold its final meetings December 18. There was, therefore, no time for anything but an effort to prepare and place our criticisms on file.
"(b) Part IV of the Allen report, which presents in summary form all his criticisms and recommendations came to us December 1, although a number of vital exhibits, on which Part IV is based were held back. It would have been nonsensical to attempt to 'confer' with Dr. Allen on his Part IV before we knew ( from all the exhibits) the facts on which it purported to rest.
"(c) Earlier conferences had proved illusory as was most conclusively demonstrated at the open meeting of the Board of Public Affairs December 18, 1914, by Regent Buckstaff. Responsibility for the failure of conferences does not rest upon the university; the conferences which took place did not hold out any hope of inducing Dr. Allen to stick to the facts: further conferences would have had no better results."
I cannot discuss the mutual charges of perversity by Mr. Allen and the university authorities. I can only insist that as the statement of facts and conclusions based upon these, the Allen survey is worthless. Apart from this lie the propriety of such self-contradictory presentation as Mr. .Allen s statement of the cost of research, or his method of examining classroom work, or the bureaucratic conception which Mr. Allen entertains of the administration of the university.
Except in a negative way the problem of how to survey a university has not been advanced by Mr. Allen.
MR. MATSCHECK brings items which indicate that the process of self-criticism by the university has been probably quickened by experiences through which the university passed during the period of the survey, which my article has already stated.
I must maintain my opinion that the plan of the central board with its corps of salaried regents who were to be business men and to have control of the finances of the university was distinctly hostile to the interests of a university that was to be free and effective.
The cut of $150,000 to which I referred was in the funds for operation of the university, that is the funds out of which alone salaries could be paid.
I am unable to determine at this distance whether I was mistaken in ascribing to Mr. Allen the statement in regard to the average yearly increase of 10 per cent among the students. The matter is not of importance. Courses which are not full time have to be provided for as well as the others.
In 4, Mr. Matscheck merely states what I have stated except that he calls my statement garbled.
I must differ from Mr. Matscheck in regard to the intent in the enactment of the "curative amendment."
Finally, I agree heartily with him in his statement that the people of Wisconsin are not hostile to the university, as I insisted in the article in question.