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Encyclopedia > Robert Hutchins
Robert M. Hutchins
Robert Hutchins around 1963.
Born January 17, 1899
Brooklyn, New York
Died May 17, 1977
Santa Barbara, California
Occupation Educator

Robert Maynard Hutchins (January 17, 1899, Brooklyn, New YorkMay 17, 1977, Santa Barbara, California) was an educational philosopher, a president (1929–1945) of the University of Chicago and its chancellor (1945–1951). Image File history File links Download high resolution version (590x785, 72 KB) Summary Robert Hutchins. ... Year 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar). ... For other meanings, see Brooklyn (disambiguation). ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... Santa Barbara is a city in California, United States. ... January 17 is the 17th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar). ... For other meanings, see Brooklyn (disambiguation). ... May 17 is the 137th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (138th in leap years). ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... Santa Barbara is a city in California, United States. ... The University of Chicago is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. ...

Contents

Early life and career

Although father and grandfather were both Presbyterian ministers, Hutchins became one of the most influential members of the school of Secular Perennialism. After completing two years at Oberlin College, a small liberal arts college in Ohio, Hutchins served in the American and Italian armies' ambulance services during World War I. After returning from the war, Hutchins went to Yale University (B.A. 1921), where he was a member of Wolf's Head Society, and Yale Law School (L.L.B 1925). In 1927, Hutchins became Dean at Yale until he left in 1929 to become President of the University of Chicago. Hutchins served as President of the University of Chicago until 1945, after which he served as the University's Chancellor until 1951. After leaving his position at the University, Hutchins founded the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in 1959, which was his attempt to bring together a community of scholars to analyze this broad area. Hutchins described the Center's goal as examining democratic institutions "by taking a multidisciplinary look at the state of the democratic world -- and the undemocratic world as well, because one has to contrast the two and see how they are going to develop." He further stated, "After discovering what is going on, or trying to discover what is going on, the Center offers its observations for such public consideration as the public is willing to give them". Presbyterianism is part of the Reformed churches family of denominations of Christian Protestantism based on the teachings of John Calvin which traces its institutional roots to the Scottish Reformation, especially as led by John Knox. ... For other types of minister, see Minister In Christian churches, a minister is a man or woman who serves a congregation or participates in a role in a parachurch ministry; such persons can minister as a Pastor, Preacher, Bishop, Chaplain, Deacon or Elder. ... Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that they deem to be of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. ... Oberlin College is a small, selective liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, in the United States. ... A liberal arts college is an institution of higher education found in the United States, offering programs in the liberal arts at the post-secondary level. ... Official language(s) None Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus Largest metro area Cleveland Area  Ranked 34th  - Total 44,825 sq mi (116,096 km²)  - Width 220 miles (355 km)  - Length 220 miles (355 km)  - % water 8. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... “Yale” redirects here. ... A Bachelor of Arts (B.A. or A.B.) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or program in the arts and/or sciences. ... Wolfs Head is the third oldest secret society at Yale University. ... The Sterling Law Building Sculptural ornamentation on the Sterling Law Building Yale Law School, or YLS, is the law school of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. ... The degree of Bachelor of Laws is the principal academic degree in law in most common law countries other than the United States, where it has been replaced by the Juris Doctor degree. ... In religious terminology, a dean is a title accorded to persons holding cartain positions of authority within a religious heirarchy. ... The University of Chicago is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. ... The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, California was an important liberal think tank from 1959 to 1969, declining in influence thereafter. ...


Throughout his career, Hutchins was a fierce proponent of using those select books, which have gained the reputation of being great books, as an educational tool. In his interview in 1970 titled, "Don't Just Do Something", Hutchins explained, "...the Great Books [are] the most promising avenue to liberal education if only because they are teacher-proof." Illustrating his dedication to the Great Books, Hutchins served as Editor and Chief of Great Books of the Western World and Gateway to the Great Books. Additionally, he served as coeditor of The Great Ideas Today, Chairman of the Board of Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica from 1943 to 1974, and published his own works, No Friendly Voice (1936), The Higher Learning in America (1936), Education for Freedom (1943), The University of Utopia (1953), and The Learning Society (1968). The Great Books Great Books of the Western World is a series of books originally published in the United States in 1952 by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. ... Gateway to the Great Books is a 10-volume series of books originally published by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. ... The Encyclopædia Britannica is a general encyclopedia published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. ... Left panel (The Earthly Paradise, Garden of Eden), from Hieronymus Boschs The Garden of Earthly Delights. ...


Educational Theory

According to Hutchins in The University of Utopia, "The object of the educational system, taken as a whole, is not to produce hands for industry or to teach the young how to make a living. It is to produce responsible citizens". In The University of Utopia, Hutchins describes a country that has evolved to become the perfect society, Utopia, as well as their educational system, which has the well-defined purpose of "promot[ing] the intellectual development of the people". Hutchins also explores some of the improper directions educational institutions have taken in the United States. He argues that education is becoming nothing more than a trade school, and a poor trade school at that. Hutchins discusses the relationship between a foundry and the local college in a particular town in California. This college offers courses on doing foundry work, which instruct students to become workers at the foundry. In this way, the college is satisfying the need of the community for foundry workers rather than the intellectual needs of the individual. Further, Hutchins asserts that the foundry students actually receive poor training since educators do not have the practical experience of working in the foundry. Hutchins believes the students would receive a much more efficient and thorough education on working in a foundry by actually working in that foundry. He claims Universities should instead teach intellectual content, specifically the intellectual content related to the occupation, but that the occupation itself should take responsibility for training its employees. Hutchins also warns that education has shifted its focus from being educational to custodial. He charges that many schools have become no more than baby-sitting services for adolescents, protecting them from the tumultuous world of youth. He cites courses in home economics and driver's education as focusing on meeting a societal need rather than an educational goal. Hutchins also berates education for the path it has taken regarding specialization. According to Hutchins in his essay, "The Idea of a College," the specialization of American education has robbed students of the ability to communicate with other students outside of their field. He argues that a student of biology cannot converse meaningfully with a student of mathematics because they share no common educational experience. A vocational school, also sometimes referred to as a trade school is one operated for the express purpose of giving its students the skills needed to perform a certain job or jobs. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Euclid, Greek mathematician, 3rd century BC, as imagined by by Raphael in this detail from The School of Athens. ...


In The University of Utopia, Hutchins outlines the educational experience of young Utopians, where the first ten years of instruction prepare students for the learning experiences to come. Communication is the primary skill developed. Students learn to read, write, and discuss issues in preparation for their future lifetime of learning. Students study science and mathematics, which form part of the groundwork for future learning. History, geography, and literature are also studied to add to the framework for even deeper learning later in life. Finally, art and music are studied because these are considered the elements that make society great. History studies the past in human terms. ... Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ...


Throughout these fields of study in Utopia, the Great Books, those books that shaped Western thought, are used as study material and are discussed by classes using the Socratic method. The Socratic method, named for Socrates and his method of teaching, involves the teacher's keeping the discussion on topic and guiding it away from errors of logic. In a discussion conducted in accordance with Socratic principles, unexamined opinions are fair game, and only reason itself is the final arbiter. Thus, any conclusions reached in such a discussion are the individual's own, not necessarily those of a class consensus, and certainly not necessarily the teacher's. The Great Books are a natural choice, since they are considered to be works of genius, timeless, and ever relevant to society. Why settle for lesser materials when you can have the best? Despite his other foci, Hutchins does not entirely shun the laboratory world; he believes however, that some such things are best learned through discovery once a student has been graduated to the outside world. Socratic Method (or Method of Elenchus or Socratic Debate) is a dialectic method of inquiry, largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts and first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. ... This page is about the ancient Greek philosopher. ...


In Utopia, initial schooling is followed by college, which continues the study of a highly prescribed curriculum. Here, however, the focus shifts from learning the techniques of communication to exploring some of man's principal concepts of the world and the leading ideas that have propelled mankind. After college, students sit for an extensive exam created by an outside board, which reflects what an education appropriate to a free person should be. This rigorous exam is similar to those taken throughout a student's education but is more comprehensive. When the student passes this exam, he or she is awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree. The degree is conferred based on the mastery of this information, not on the number of classes taken, credits earned, or hours spent in class. A B.A. issused as a certificate Bachelor of Arts (B.A., BA or A.B.), from the Latin Artium Baccalaureus is an undergraduate bachelors degree awarded for either a course or a program in the liberal arts or the sciences, or both. ...


After proving that they have the necessary education to become a part of the republic of learning and of the political republic, the student may enter the work world or continue his or her formal education at the University. Once departing from formal education, a lifetime of learning follows for the citizens of Utopia. They visit centers of learning to explore and discuss ideas and analyze great works. These centers of learning are residential institutions where citizens go during what Americans would traditionally think of as vacation time. If they choose to matriculate to University, students begin to specialize, but they do not study collection of data, technical training, or solutions to immediate practical problems, but rather they explore the intellectual ideas specific to their chosen field. Here, students study in much less formal situations but with no less vigor. During their initial schooling and college, students had to prove that they could learn independently; if they then chose to attend a University, they were expected to make effective use of those skills.


In addition to Hutchins's belief that school should pursue intellectual ideas rather than practical, he also believed that schools should not teach a specific set of values. "It is not the object of a college to make its students good, because the college cannot do it; if it tries to do it, it will fail; it will weaken the agencies that should be discharging this responsibility, and it will not discharge its own responsibility." The schools should not be in the business of teaching students what is right and just; it should be in the business of helping students make their own determinations.

When young people are asked, "What are you interested in?" they answer that they are interested in justice: they want justice for [those who are black]; they want justice for the Third World. If you say, "Well, what is justice?" they haven't any idea.

—(Berwick, 1970) This article is about the concept of justice. ... For the Jamaican reggae band, see Third World (band). ...

Critics will point out that the great books do not have one answer to what justice is or isn't. In fact, there are many contradictory answers to this question. But what some see as a weakness, Hutchins sees as a strength. Hutchins asserts that students should be exposed to these conflicting ideas so that they may weigh and balance them in their own minds, boiling down the arguments and synthesizing a view of their own. In this way, and only in this way, can students learn what justice, beauty, and good really are.


Chicago Tenure

Hutchins was able to implement his ideas regarding a two-year, generalist bachelors during his tenure at Chicago, and subsequently had designated those studying in depth in a field as masters students. He moreover pulled Chicago out of the Big Ten Conference and eliminated the school’s football program, which he saw as a campus distraction. He also worked to eliminate fraternities and religious organizations for the same reason. While he exhibited great fervor for his curricular project and numerous notable alumni were produced during the period, nevertheless, the business community as well as donors became highly skeptical of the value of the program, and eventually were able to have the four-year, traditional A.B. and S.B. reinstated (and in time, football). The College’s financial clout, which had been considerable prior to his tenure, underwent a serious downgrading with decreased collegiate enrollment and a drying up of donations from the school's principal Chicago area benefactors. As such, his critics view him as a dangerous idealist who pushed the school out of the national limelight and temporarily thwarted its possible expansion, while his supporters argue that it was his changes that kept Chicago intellectually unique and from taking on the vocational inclinations that he denigrated in his writings. While modified and reduced in form, the collegiate curriculum to this day reflects the Great Books and Socratic method championed by Hutchins' Secular Perennialism. The Big Ten Conference is the United States oldest Division I college athletic conference. ... While the term fraternity can be used to describe any number of social organizations, including the Lions Club and the Shriners, fraternities and sororities are most commonly known as social organizations of higher education students in the United States and Canada but there are fraternities in the whole world (for... Great Books refers to a curriculum and a book list. ... Socratic Method (or Method of Elenchus or Socratic Debate) is a dialectic method of inquiry, largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts and first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. ... Perennialists believe that one should teach the things of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. ...


Quotes

  • Our universities have become "high-class flophouses where parents send their children to keep them off the labor market and out of their own hair." (1954, qtd. in Martin Gardner, The Night is Large)
  • Martin Gardner: "Word spread around the country that the University of Chicago was a former Baptist school where Jewish professors were now teaching Catholic theology to atheists."
  • Hutchins, who eliminated intercollegiate athletics at the University of Chicago (formerly a member of the Big 10), is reported to have said, "Whenever I feel like exercising, I lie down until that feeling goes away."
  • "A world community can only exist with world communication, which means something more than extensive shortwave facilities scattered about the globe. It means common understanding, a common tradition, common ideas and common ideals."-Hutchins
  • If the GI Bill is passed, "colleges and universities will find themselves converted into educational hobo jungles."

Martin Gardner (b. ... The G. I. Bill of Rights or Servicemens Readjustment Act of 1944 provided for college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans as well as one-year of unemployment compensation. ...

Trivia

Intriguingly, as the writer Tony Barrell has pointed out (London Sunday Times, January 8, 2006), Hutchins was born on the same day as Al Capone, in the same part of the world (Brooklyn, New York City), and both became powerful men — in very different ways — in Chicago. Tony Barrell (born 23 February 1958) is a British journalist, known for his humour and his exploration of the unusual and the unexplained. ... The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper distributed in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International which is in turn owned by News Corporation. ... “Capone” redirects here. ... Brooklyn (named after the Dutch city Breukelen) is one of the five boroughs of New York City. ... Nickname: Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1625 Government  - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area  - City  468. ... Nickname: Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in the Chicago metro area and Illinois Coordinates: Country United States State Illinois County Cook & DuPage Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ...


See also

Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that they deem to be of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. ... Shimer College is a liberal arts college in Chicago, Illinois which is best known for its small enrollment and its Great Books curriculum. ...

References

  • Berwick, Keith. (1970). Interview with Robert M. Hutchins (transcript). Don't Just Do Something. Retrieved July 6, 2004, from the School of Cooperative Individualism: http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/hutchins_on_center_democratic_institutions.html
  • Encyclopædia Britannica. (2001). Hutchins, Robert M. Retrieved July 6, 2004, from the University of Pennsylvania, English Department, Al Filreis, The Literature and Culture of the 1950s: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/hutchins-bio.html
  • Hutchins, Robert M. (1950). The Idea of a College. Retrieved July 6, 2004, from the University of Portugal: http://www.direito.up.pt/IJI/Cadernos%20do%20IJI/ANTIGONA%20IV/hutchins.htm
  • Hutchins, Robert M. (1953) The University of Utopia. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Academic Offices
Preceded by
Thomas Walter Swan
Dean of Yale Law School
19271929
Succeeded by
Charles Edward Clark
Preceded by
Max Mason
President of the University of Chicago
1929—1951
Succeeded by
Lawrence A. Kimpton
Persondata
NAME Hutchins, Robert Maynard
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTION philosopher and university president
DATE OF BIRTH January 17, 1899
PLACE OF BIRTH Brooklyn, New York, United States
DATE OF DEATH May 17, 1977
PLACE OF DEATH Santa Barbara, California, United States

  Results from FactBites:
 
Robert Hutchins - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1783 words)
Robert Maynard Hutchins (January 17, 1899, Brooklyn, New York – May 17, 1977, Santa Barbara, California) was an educational philosopher, a president (1929-1945) of the University of Chicago and its chancellor (1945-1951).
Hutchins asserts that students should be exposed to these conflicting ideas so that they may weigh and balance them in their own minds, boiling down the arguments and synthesizing a view of their own.
Hutchins was able to implement his ideas regarding a two-year, generalist bachelors during his tenure at Chicago, and subsequently had designated those studying in depth in a field as masters students.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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