"記美國醫學教育與大學教育的改造者弗勒斯那納先生 (Abraham Flexner-- 1866-1959) "(台北:自由中國 第21卷第10期 1959年11月16日)
Abraham Flexner (November 13, 1866, Louisville, Kentucky - September 21, 1959) was an American educator. His Flexner Report, published in 1910, reformed medical education in the United States. He also helped found the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
BiographyA younger brother of the medical researcher Simon Flexner, who was employed by the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research from 1901-1935, Flexner graduated from Johns Hopkins University at age 19. Nineteen years later he did graduate studies at Harvard University and at the University of Berlin. However, he did not complete work on an advanced degree at either of those institutions.
After graduating from Johns Hopkins, Flexner returned to Louisville and founded a private school in which to test his ideas about education. He believed that education should be marked by small classes, personal attention, and hands-on teaching. Graduates of his school were soon accepted at leading colleges, and Flexner's school attracted considerable attention.
Between 1912 to 1925, Flexner served on the Rockefeller Foundation's General Education Board, and after 1917 was its secretary. With the help of the Board, he founded another experimental school, the Lincoln School[disambiguation needed], which opened in 1917, in cooperation with the faculty at Teachers College of Columbia University.
In 1908, Flexner published his first book, The American College. Strongly critical of many aspects American higher education, it was especially critical of the university lecture as a method of instruction. According to Flexner, lectures enabled colleges to "handle cheaply by wholesale a large body of students that would be otherwise unmanageable and thus give the lecturer time for research."
Flexner's book attracted the attention of Henry Pritchett, president of the Carnegie Foundation, who was looking for someone to lead a series of studies of professional education. Although Flexner had never set foot inside a medical school, Flexner was Pritchett's first choice to lead a study of American medical education. Thus Flexner joined the research staff at the Carnegie Foundation in 1908. Two years later, he published the Flexner Report, which examined the state of American medical education and led to far-reaching reforms in the way doctors were trained. The Flexner report led to the closure of most rural medical schools and all but two of America's African American medical colleges. Ironically one of the schools was located in his own hometown of Louisville, Louisville National Medical College.
Flexner soon conducted a related study of medical education in Europe. According to Bonner (2002), Flexner's work came to be "nearly as well known in Europe as in America." With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, he worked toward restructuring the nation's medical schools. Flexner (Bonner 2002) "...exerted a decisive influence on the course of medical training and left an enduring mark on some of the nation's most renowned schools of medicine." Flexner worried that "the imposition of rigid standards by accrediting groups was making the medical curriculum a monstrosity," with medical students moving through it with "little time to stop, read, work or think." Bonner (2002) calls Flexner "the severest critic and the best friend American medicine ever had."
In his 1930 Universities: American, English, German, Flexner, returning to his earlier interest in the direction and purpose of the American university, attacked distractions from serious learning such as intercollegiate athletics, student governments, and other student activities. "Intellectual inquiry, not job training, [is] the purpose of the university."
With Louis Bamberger, Flexner founded the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, heading it from 1930 to 1939 and overseeing a faculty that included Kurt Gödel and John von Neumann. During his time there, Flexner helped to bring over many European scientists who would have likely suffered persecution at the hands of the rising Nazi government. Flexner even penned the letter inviting Albert Einstein to the Institute and to the United States.
The Flexner family's legacy in American science and academia still survives. In addition to the contributions of his brother Simon, Louis Barkhouse Flexner (January 7, 1902 - March 29, 1996), a nephew of Abraham and Simon Flexner, was the founding director of the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and a former editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Flexner is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Abraham Flexner Way in downtown Louisville's hospital district was named by the Louisville Board of Aldermen in November 1978 to honor Flexner.
Books by Flexner
- 1910. Medical Education in the United States and Canada.
- 1910. Medical Education in the United States and Canada (at Google Books).
- 1916. A Modern School.
- 1918 (with F.B. Bachman). The Gary Schools.
- 1928. The Burden of Humanism. The Taylorian Lecture at Oxford University.
- 1930. Universities: American, English, German.
- 1940. I Remember: The Autobiography of Abraham Flexner. Simon and Schuster. Fulltext on Questia.
- 1943. A biography of H.S. Pritchett.
Flexner, Abraham. 1910. Medical Education in the United States and Canada. New York: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Flexner, Abraham. 1930. Universities: American, English, German. New York: Oxford University Press.
Flexner, Abraham. 1940. I Remember: The Autobiography of Abraham Flexner. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Books about FlexnerWheatley, Steven. 1988. The Politics of Philanthropy: Abraham Flexner and Medical Education. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Bonner, Thomas Neville, 2002. Iconoclast: Abraham Flexner and a Life in Learning. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press. ISBN 0-8018-7124-7.
- Nevins, Michael, 2010. Abraham Flexner: A Flawed American Icon. iUniverse. ISBN 978-1-4502-6086-2.
- Starr, Paul, 1982. The Social Transformation of American Medicine. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-07935-0.
- Wheatley, S. C., 1989. The Politics of Philanthropy: Abraham Flexner and Medical Education. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-11754-5.
|This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (March 2008)|
- Jacob This site offers biographical information about Abraham