Urbana, Illinois, January 31, 1914.
Mrs. Mary C. B. Munford. 503 E. Graoe Street. Richmond, Virginia.
My dear Mrs. Munford: -
I am not surprised at your note telling me that a movement has been started to transform the Farmville Normal School into a State College for Women. It is one more outcropping of an unfortunate tendency in these last few year for normal schools to aspire to become colleges, usually without any real justification. If the normal schools of the average state were even approximately fulfilling their proper function of preparing adequately a sufficient number of well trained teachers to care for the elementary schools there might be some justification for their outreach towards college functions; but neither in Virginia nor in any other state that I know of with possibly one or two exceptions do the normal schools turn out fifty percent of the number of trained teachers required annually to take the place of experiences teachers going out of service. To an outsider it would seem little short of a calamity for the state of Virginia, on its own initiative or through the urgency of persons ambitious for the elevation of a particular normal school, to turn any one of its normal schools into anything other than a much better normal school than it nor has. Virginia has made such notable progress in the improvement of its educational originations, facilities, and support during the last decade that the elevation of one of its normal schools into a college would be a distinct shook to its momentum.
Furthermore the idea of adding a college to a normal school contains a fundamental fallacy. The sins of normal schools and colleges are in the main distinct and irreconcilable, and in the present stage of the development of training for teachers the diversion of money properly belonging to a normal school to work of a collegiate character would certainly seem short sighted.
As I see the Virginia situation there is need of a real college for women, not an enlarged school for training teachers even though a large percentage of the women do go into teaching. If one would press the argument along the lines of expensive equipment of libraries, laboratories, and faculty for real collegiate or university introduction as compared with the relatively simple equipment needed for the normal schools, the danger to the interests of elementary schools would become all the more apparent.
Very truly yours, Kendrick C. Baboook. Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Soienoes.