Read more in Opinion
The experiment which the university has tried of late years of inviting prominent specialits, either professors at other institutions or independent scholars, to deliver university lectures before the students is, we believe, proving itself a success. It is certainly an innovation that gives great promise for the future in broadening the aims and increasing the opportunities of the college. Its direct results, of course, are not made apparent by examinations as in all other courses; but this is hardly to be called a drawback to the system. It may perhaps come to pass that this innocent experiment shall result in showing the authorities that it is possible for men to acquire useful knowledge in certain subjects by such means, without having that knowledge afterwards clinched by the painful process of examination. This result can only come if students exhibit in ways more or less direct the positive and active effects of these lectures on their own knowledge and thoughts. For the present, at least, these lectures form an interesting relief from the irksome grind of formal courses. As the Chronicle says on this subject, "New lines of thought are followed; old ones are made more attractive, and a new spirit is imparted both to scholar and professor." A new subject will be treated this year by Mr. G. S. Hall, who will lecture on "Pedagogy." The only other college course of any importance on this subject is that of Prof. Payne at Ann Arbor; and he has been very successful in preparing his pupils for higher grade positions. The courses of such men as Pres. Walker and Prof. Newcomb (of last year) cannot but be of the highest value. The single lecture of Prof. Bryce before the students, while he was here in Boston, was certainly highly appreciated by his hearers; and the course of the Natural History Society last term was of interest to all and of great value to many. Hitherto, generally the very ablest men have been secured; and this must be carefully looked to in all cases, if the success of the system is to be maintained. Indeed, the great variety and high value of the voluntary instruction of all sorts, offered by Harvard is one of her highest recommendations before the public.