Item 104 - Letter from George Airy

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Add. MS a/200/104


Letter from George Airy


  • 6 Jan. 1854 (Creation)

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9 pp.

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Playford near Ipswich -- GA and Richarda Airy will not be able to make a trip to Cambridge. GA gives his views regarding 'the objects of university studies and the modes of attaining these objects'. The purpose of a university course is 'to prescribe a course of studies (not necessarily the same for every individual), to assist them by books, lectures, &c, and to stimulate and reward them by honours and pecuniary grants'. It is the responsibility of the college to deal with the first of these requirements. The intention of the college in regard to the college course of studies ought to be built into 'the ordinary subjects prescribed for daily study in the successive years of an undergraduate's college life, and in the examinations relating to them: 'these must practically express the course prescribed by the college'. GA did not approve of the Trinity Commemoration Day prizes: 'The essayists and the youths who have written Alcaics and Elegiacs are called up early, and are addressed in flattering terms, and altogether are made the heroes of the day and of the year, while the first-class-men are dismissed at the end of the ceremony without a single word. The general impression left on me was, that the lectures and the annual examinations are kept up merely for form's sake'. This has injured the educational interests of the college. The changes made since GA was a freshman have given undergraduates too great a share in the selection of their courses of study.

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