5 pages of signatures excerpted from University Reform Association survey responses
Language of Materials
20.3 x 16 cm size sheets
These pages were found in 2009 among miscellaneous historical records at the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, and have been described by the NZCER contract archivist, Rosemary Collier.
"Five pages (cut from a note-book). Pasted onto the pages are signatures cut from letters. Pages have been re-ordered to original order, as evidenced by rust-marks left by paperclip. Heading of first page is “Signatures of those who replied to University Reformers’ questionnaire”. Heading is in Alistair Campbell’s (?) handwriting - resembles what is probably his writing on some photographs, and is in a more modern, light blue ink, which would not have been in use in 1910.
The signatures are those of eminent people in the university world; a few have the name of their university below the signature, and one a date in 1910. The JC Beaglehole Room at Victoria University Library holds some Hunter Papers. On checking, these were found to contain minute books of the University Reform Association, formed in 1910. These proved that, as implied, the Association sent out a questionnaire to academics in the English-speaking world, concerning particularly the question of a University (in this case being the University of New Zealand) being solely an examination and degree-granting body, in which the teachers in the constituent colleges were not involved. Replies were received from 65 academics. The questionnaire and the replies are printed in full, in University Reform in New Zealand, printed in 1911 by Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd., Wellington, and “Published by the General Editors (professors Hunter, Laby and von Zedlitz) under the direction of the University Reform Association”. P. 13 (of 196) refers to the letters, while pp.114ff comprise the Appendix “Opinions of Educational Authorities Abroad on the Organisation and Examination System of the NZ University”, i.e. the letters.
Research in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography vol. 5 revealed that G.A. Wood (signature on 5th page) was professor of history at the University of Sydney, and father of F.L.W. Wood, later professor of history at Victoria University of Wellington (and grandfather of G.A. Wood, lecturer in Political Science, Otago University). One entry only is dated: “M.W. MacCallum 18.11.10”; it is assumed that all the signatures were from late 1910. The article on Sir Thomas Hunter in DNZB (vol. 3, pp. 241-243) states that university reform was one of Hunter’s pet subjects.
The New Zealand University Reform Association was formed in 1910, and Hunter worked in it with Thomas Laby, George von Zedlitz, Harry Kirk and David Picken, all professors at Victoria University College (see Beaglehole, J.C. The University of New Zealand, an historical study, NZCER, Wellington, 1937, pp. 179-182).
Another notable New Zealand name is that of Richard C Maclaurin on the fourth page (see DNZB vol. 3, p.309).
Hunter was founding chairman of NZCER in 1934, and served for 20 years, until his death in April 1953. Other papers which may have belonged to him are to be found in NZCER archives, since they were created or received as part of the work of the Council or of the New Education Fellowship Conference, 1937. It is assumed that these papers which long precede the establishment of NZCER were in Hunter’s possession and at NZCER offices when he died."
Part of the J C Beaglehole Room, Victoria University of Wellington Library Repository
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