University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Academic Development: University of Notre Dame / by Philip S. Moore, C.S.C.

VII. The Faculty

The first preserved announcement of the Faculty appeared in the letter of Father Sorin addressed to parents and benefactors for the year 1850. There were eight members -- two priests, of whom Father Sorin was one, three Brothers and three laymen. One hundred and ten years later there are four hundred and eighty-four members, exclusive of a few administrative officers who are nevertheless members of the Faculty, of whom less than one hundred are priests and Brothers of Holy Cross. The others are non-Holy Cross priests and laymen. In addition there are more than two hundred teaching fellows, graduate students who participate, mostly in the laboratories, in instruction. Paralleling this increase in Faculty has been an increase of students from three or four score to some sixty-four hundred. Moreover, these students are today college, professional and graduate students instead of high school and college students. It is interesting to note that laymen were on the Faculty from the earliest preserved announcement in 1850, and that the proportion of lay teachers to priests and Religious has grown until presently they have reached roughly a ratio of five to one.

The second announcement of Faculty appeared in the first Catalogue for the year 1854-55. By that time the number had increased to fifteen -- five priests and five Brothers of Holy Cross, and five laymen. By 1865 the number had more than doubled to thirty-seven members. Three non-Holy Cross priests appeared for the first time in that year, and also nine Holy Cross seminarians. Of these nine, five held the title of Adjunct Professor, a rank which first showed up in 1860. Up to that year everyone was listed as Professor. Another innovation in the 1865 announcement was the separate listing of those teaching only in the Preparatory School, though throughout the history of this School most of its Faculty taught also in the colleges.

The rapid increase of Faculty between 1850-1865, doubling every five years or so, levelled off for the next twenty-five years. In fact there were fluctuations, Thus in 1870, the number had dropped from the thirty-seven in 1865 to twenty-seven, and five years later it had climbed back only to thirty-one. Fifteen years later, in 1890, it had reached only forty-four, seven more than it had been twenty-five years earlier. The ratio of laymen to priests and Brothers increased somewhat over these years. Thus in 1890 of the forty-four members, seventeen were priests, nine were Brothers and eighteen were laymen. The presence of seminarians on the Faculty disappeared. Between 1890 and 1920 the increase in Faculty remained slow, the number less than doubling in those thirty years from forty-four to eighty-six. But this changed after 1920, with the dropping of the high school, the upsurge in college students, and the development of the Graduate School, and from then on the numerical growth has been much more rapid until it has reached the current figures given above.

Our present ranks of Faculty, Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor did not put in their appearance until 1924-25. But before that time some distinctions were made. We have already noted that the rank of Adjunct Professor was first designated in 1860. This title continued until 1875. Then appeared a division in the Faculty announcement under the headings: Professors; Assistant Professors and instructors, but since no individual designations were given, it is impossible to tell who were Assistant Professors and who were Instructors in the second half of this division. In 1900 this division disappeared and the Faculty were listed under one heading: Professors and Instructors. Again it is impossible to tell which are which, though the Instructors are undoubtedly those toward the end of the list. Then in 1905 new classifications were adopted: Professors in the Colleges; Instructors in the Preparatory School. Since most of the men were in both classifications, it is obviously the level of education in which they were engaged that determined their ranks. These classifications continued until 1920, when The Preparatory School was discontinued. For the next four years the entire teaching staff was listed under Faculty, arranged according to seniority of service, but with no ranks designated. Then, as we have seen, the present four ranks were instituted, and for each member of the Faculty was given his rank and his degrees, with institutions and dates for them specified.

In regard to academic degrees, these were listed for laymen and non-Holy Cross priests from the outset; on the other hand, degrees for Holy Cross priests and Brothers were not placed after their names in the faculty listings until 1915. Up until 1862 the degrees of laymen were the A.B., one M.D. and two or three LL.D.s. From 1862 on an increasing number of M.A.s and M.S.s appeared. The first Ph.D. was listed after the name of Austin O'Malley in 1895, but for the next twenty years only two more men with the doctor's degree were numbered among the Faculty. Then in 1915 the number picked up Some Holy Cross priests had been earning the doctorate since the early 1900s, and the surprising number of thirteen out of twenty-three on the Faculty of the colleges have the Ph.D. after their names in the 1915-16 Bulletin. In the same year only two laymen held this highest degree.

Today it is the policy of the University that anyone appointed to the Faculty should hold terminal degree in his academic area. The terminal degree in most areas, with Law, the Fine Arts and Architecture among the few notable exceptions, is now the doctorate, though this has only recently become true in fields such as engineering and business. Requiring terminal degrees of appointees to the Faculty does not imply a fetish for them or a slavish conformity to academic practice among universities. In individual cases a man with only the bachelor's degree or with no degree may be appointed. Two or three such men, at least, are among the most outstanding members of the present Faculty. But this badge of full formal academic training does give a strong presumption that he who wears it will be greater master of his subject matter and of its methodology which will enable him not only to transmit knowledge but also to discover knowledge and to dent, however, little, the vast walls of human ignorance in which mankind is still enclosed.

To engage in intensive search for new knowledge, as well as to transmit knowledge, to awaken young minds to the love and pursuit of knowledge and to train them to think, to judge, to evaluate, is essential function of the university Faculty. The university status of an institution can therefore be largely measured by the encouragement and opportunity it gives to its Faculty to engage in this intensive search for new knowledge. Any institution, obversely, that looks upon this search as "frosting on the cake" or considers time spent on it as robbed from essential duties, has no claim to the title of university, no matter how large it is in student enrollment, programs offered, and physical facilities.

The measure of Notre Dame's development as a true University can, therefore, be measured in terms of the growing encouragement and opportunity it gives to its Faculty for the search for new knowledge. This has been nothing short of phenomenal during the past fifteen years. First step in this has been building up a Faculty which is prepared for this essential function of the university -- a Faculty whose members hold terminal degrees in their fields. Significant indeed, then is it that, in 1945, eighty-three out of two hundred and sixty-seven members (317) held the doctorate; in 1960, two hundred and forty-eight out of four hundred and eighty-four (51%). Also today many more of the younger members -- some forty to fifty -- have completed all work for the doctorate except the dissertation than had the younger members in 1945. In another couple of years, therefore, the percentage of the Faculty holding the highest academic degree should jump to around 60%.

We can assert, therefore, that in terms of advanced education and of presumed competence the Faculty has been greatly strengthened in the past fifteen years, and that this strengthening will continue. And this means that every year greater percentage of the Faculty are prepared to carry out the two essential functions of the University, which we designate under the general terms, teaching and research. Every year more of the Faculty are prepared to profit from the opportunity to search for new knowledge.

To provide this opportunity entails reduced classroom schedules and periodic leaves of absence. Only in these ways can the time be gained for protracted study, travel and writing. But all this is expensive and Notre Dame nor any other university could carry this financial burden without support from outside. One source of this support is government, industry and Foundation sponsored research; another is private gifts and benefactions to the University. Under a preceding section on the Graduate School we have seen that between 1940 and 1960 the money spent in research at Notre Dame has jumped roughly from $100,000 to $3,300,000 annually, a growth of 3300%, and that of this latter amount some $2,000,000 comes from sponsored research and the other $1,300,000 from University resources.[177] These resources must come from gifts and benefactions, which explains why in 1954 the Notre Dame Foundation launched its Faculty Development Program, an intensified effort to bring in the funds which will enable the University to continue to carry its share of the burden of research, as well as to pay higher salaries to all the Faculty, and especially to those most qualified for and interested in the search for new knowledge. Notre Dame has had a number of colorful teachers and exceptional scholars throughout its history. Among these men some have left their special imprint and memory upon the University in one way or another. From the past may be mentioned James F. Edwards, who laid the foundations for our Archives of the Catholic Church in America, Rev. Auguste Lemonnier, fourth President, whose name is linked to the origin of the University Library, Rev. John A. Zahm, to whom extensive reference has already been made in this study, his brother Dr. Albert Zahm, pioneer in Aerodynamics and Aeronautical Science, William Hoynes, Dean of Law for twenty-seven years, Maurice Francis Egan, poet and novelist, Jerome Greene, pioneer in wireless telegraphy, John W. Cavanaugh, ninth President and great pulpit orator, Rev. James Burns, tenth President and authority on American Catholic elementary education, Rev. Charles O'Donnell, twelfth President and poet, Rev. Julius Nieuwland, chemist, botanist and founder of the Midland Naturalist, and Waldemar Gurian, political scientist and founder of the Review of Politics. And men of the present are carrying on in even more productive ways the traditions to which they are heirs from men of the past.

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