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“Report of the Committee on Undergraduate Housing Part II,” ca. 1928-1937.
Seymour Family Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Thomas Ginakakis ’09, Charles Seymour on Experts and Education

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As an undergraduate, Seymour studied abroad at Cambridge and gained an appreciation for the subdivision of the larger institution into smaller colleges. This experience would shape his vision of a university and the community that it should foster. Later in life as Provost of Yale (1927-1937), Seymour would revive previous plans for a Residential College system. This is a report from his office discussing the reasons for continuing with the proposed plan to establish this college system.

The introduction of the colleges, however, was not widely accepted by Yale faculty. Many professors thought the colleges would replace their role in the everyday lives of the student, relegating them to mere instructors of academic study. Seymour, however, envisioned the colleges as residential communities that would "help the students to meet the requirements laid down by the faculty." Seymour's lack of confidence in professors and other academics to make meaningful contributions outside their area of expertise, such as the daily lives of students, encouraged him to foster communities centered around residence halls rather than certain faculty members or disciplines.