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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 12. September 6, 1954


. . . During the Past Year, two overseas visitors of distinction have given us the benefit of their views upon our University. We welcome this opportunity of seeing ourselves as two experienced academic persons see us.

The first comment was made by Professor Allison Dunham of the University of Chicago who came to us under a Fulbright grunt. He was in New Zealand from March to September, 1953, and lectured in law. His strongest impression was that the New Zealand University teachers had much more freedom in teaching than could be expected from the statements which they made about the controls to which they were legally subject. He expressed his next impression in these words:

"My next reaction concerning the University was with respect to its place in the community. Many of you both on and off the staff mentioned to me several times the impression that you in New Zealand take your professors much more seriously than we do in the United States. I must be frank to say that I had exactly the opposite reaction and this was rather to my surprise. It does not seem to me that New Zealanders in general hold University education high in their list of values. The relatively low position the University has in the list of priorities for capital spending and even for ordinary government funds and the relatively insignificant place of the University administrator and professor in public affairs seemed to me to bear out my impression.

"This is partly due I believe to the fact that that type of research from which the public can observe the results (i.e., applied science re-search) is almost exclusively the monopoly of a government department and not in the hands of the professors. It is also due in part I believe to the prevalent attitude that the function of the University education is to train a special type of artisan or skilled tradesman who for reasons of English tradition are trained at Universities and not at a training or technical college. . . .

"Since my New Zealand experience is the first with 'part-time' students that is one of the facets of your education to which I have a reaction. Now it is true that a very high percentage of our alleged 'full-time' students work at least part of their way through university. Perhaps we should define a university with full-time students as one where the university schedules its classes for its own convenience and the students fit their Jobs into the vacant periods, and a university with part-time students as one where the classes are arranged to fit the free time of the working students. There is more of a difference than this, of course. At home we in law at least impose formal requirements, so that a part-time student cannot proceed as rapidly as a so-called full-time student and we generally separate the two kinds of students into different programmes and consciously or unconsciously a professor compensates for the fact that his students have full-time as distinguished from part-time jobs."

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