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There can be no doubt that our schools have suffered greatly from lack of organization. Consolidation and more effective county supervision would help the rural schools immensely. State co-ordination and supervision would make our high schools vastly more effective.
It seems almost self-evident that in education, as well as in other governmental activities, there is properly a national as we as a state and a county sphere. Undoubtedly there are educational problems of nation wide character, unsolvable effectively by individual states alone.
The development of the industries of a country is one of the problems which can be solved only through the national government. It would not be proper, for example, for the states and the cities to enact separate tariff laws. The problems of agriculture and of the mechanic arts are too wide and too vital to entrust entirely to unco-ordinated state action.
Hence, when the national government entered American education as a really effective factor it was very properly in the field of agriculture and the mechanic arts.
Two reasons seem to have prevailed most strongly in securing the passage of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862: First, the great industries of agriculture and the mechanic arts are so vital to the national welfare that their effective development by the agencies of technical education and technical investigation was a national necessity; second, all existing educational agencies neglected, even derided, the technical education of the industrial classes.
The ideals of those who enacted the Morrill Land Grant Act are clearly stated in a letter from its author, Senator Justin S. Morrill, written June 11, 1891.*
"It is a joy to me to know that the Land Grant Colleges in nearly every state are fully meeting the original purpose, as well as public expectations, and are offering an American system of liberal education to the great masses of our people formerly limited mainly to the instruction offered by common schools and academies. American colleges, prior to 1862, having been created almost wholly on the plan of ancient English universities, bestowed very narrow attention to practical sciences, with perhaps a little more of modern languages, and awarded their highest honors to scholarship in the dead languages. Anything useful except discipline appeared to be carefully avoided. A professorship of agriculture was quite as alien to these long established literary institutions as would have been a professorship of hypnotism, and yet they served very satisfactorily, and may continue to serve, the so-called learned professions, as all of their graduates must have a subsequent three years' training to supply that part of their education required for practical use. A liberal culture for these professorships only, however important it may be, includes but a small portion of the whole community. Arts and sciences have been vastly extended and multiplied, and special learning is everywhere in demand and early rewarded. The land grant colleges are aiding in supplying in large measure this want felt by more than fifty million of the American people, that is to say, a want felt by all those who hope to achieve personal independence, through some industrial employment, and also to win such reputation as sound learning nearly always confers. The great bulk of our people urgently seek that instruction which can be utilized before the average of human life is more than half exhausted.
* See Proceedings of the Land Grant College Engineering Association, November, 1914, p. 25.
“The land grant colleges, however, by no means exclude classical branches of education and they should be supplied. It is only provided in the organic act that the lead shall be given to 'such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic acts, but ‘without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics'—'in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life.' It will be seen that these colleges were not limited to one or two pursuits or professions of life, but included many.
“Agriculture and the mechanic arts should be foremost to be provided with the best instruction of all the ages, but, having this lead, all other branches of liberal learning should not be arrogantly ignored or excluded, and whatever is included should be taught with absolute thoroughness.
“The Cornell University, with its abundant endowments, is able to cover a very broad field, and a long procession of learned pursuits and professions of life it offers the highest instruction to numerous and diverse classes. It cannot be expected, however, that other states, with far less funds, can equal the matchless resources and appliances of Cornell as to agriculture and the mechanic arts, and also to rival other literary institutions even in other branches of study.
"But, with the supplementary appropriations of Congress, made last year to the act of 1862, it would seem that the land grant colleges cannot now fail to render service not alone of transcendent importance to agriculture and the mechanic arts, but of wide and healthy importance to industrial, scientific, literary and military education in every state of the Union.
“A son of a farmer or of a mechanic who desires a liberal education, preparatory to some different vocation from that of his father, should be able to find it in the land grant college of his state, and should not be subjected to the inconvenience and increased expense of seeking for it in a distant state. The sons of the state, for which they have an ineradicable birth-right affection, have some right to receive, some duty to accept, within its home borders that instruction which will be to them of the highest utility."
With the above ideals in his soul Senator Morrill directed the wording of the Land Grant Act. The following sections of that law constitute the great, national charter of the Land Grant Colleges, whose faculties might do worse than to establish a custom of standing with bared heads during frequent readings thereof: Sec. 4.
"the interest of which (fund) shall be inviolably appropriated, by each State which may take and claim the benefit of this act, to the endowment, support, and maintenance of, at least, one college, where the leading objects shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the Legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits of life.”
“Fourth. An annual report shall be made regarding the progress of each college, recording any improvements and experiments made, with their costs and results, and such other matters, including State industrial and economical statistics, as may be supposed useful;
The Ideals of the Land Grant Colleges. The Land Grant Colleges yield to no other institutions in emphasis
upon the highest ideals of personal integrity, good citizenship, and professional service to the public.
The Land Grant Colleges emphasize high ideals of professional service by their graduates to the state and to the nation, which have educated them to this end.
The Land Grant Colleges emphasize high ideals of professional service by their graduates in the development of state and national industries. Their engineers are educated to be officers in the great industrial army, rather than merely members of a closed profession. The successful manufacturer, the honest and efficient contractor, the railway manager with personal experience in every branch of railroading, the inventor, the mine operator, are held to be examples to be emulated as well as the machine designer, the consulting engineer, the chief railway engineer, the mining expert, and the electrical engineer.
The Land Grant Colleges emphasize high ideals of brotherhood between the professional engineer and the artisans and skilled mechanics whose labors he directs. Engineering, while as truly a learned profession as law or medicine, is held to be much broader than either. In the mechanic arts are engaged millions of men, of all grades from unskilled workmen to professional engineers. The best qualified engineer must have, in addition to his college technical education and after professional experience, a training to be gained only by sympathetic mingling with the industrial rank and file.
The Land Grant Colleges magnify rather than belittle the applications of engineering to agriculture and to rural communities. Highway, drainage, irrigation and farm machinery engineering are given special attention.
The Land Grant Colleges recognize extensive obligations to the artisans as well as to the professional engineers. By Engineering Extension work, including correspondence study, they are coming to offer every mechanic a chance to secure some technical education without leaving home.
The Land Grant Colleges recognize obligation upon themselves, as well as upon their graduates, to assist in the development of state and national industries. In their engineering extension work they are offering special training to assist special industries. In their Engineering Experiment Station work they are offering the facilities of their laboratories and the skill of their investigations to help in the solution of industrial problems.
Land Grant College ideals of organization, to meet their special obligations, are coming to include three great lines:
Professional Engineering education, to train the leaders.
Engineering Extension work, to take some technical education to the workmen, to assist the development of mechanic arts, and to carry technical information to the public.
Engineering Experiment Stations, to solve the technical problems of the state.
The Future of the Land Grant Colleges. The great problem in American industrial advancement today is: How can we secure the national efficiency of the thorough German system of industrial education, and of the German governmental industrial activities, without sacrificing our American ideals of individual freedom, democracy and anti-militarism.
The Land Grant Colleges are our nation's first attempt to solve the problem. Their foundation act is wise and broad.
If the Land Grant Colleges awake to their responsibilities and
opportunities in mechanic arts as they have in agriculture, they can wisely head and guide the great system of vocational education which America is just beginning to develop, and may render future service to the state and nation far beyond that of the past.
President Marston resumed the chair.
PRESIDENT MARSTON.—Hon. P. P. Claxton, United States Commissioner of Education, has not arrived as yet. We expect that he will be here shortly. In the meantime, with the consent of Dean Benjamin, we will pass to the next item on the program, which is a paper by Dean Benjamin, of Indiana, entitled “The Functions of a University.”
DEAN BENJAMIN.—Mr. President and gentlemen of the Association:
In what I have to say this morning I want you to understand that I am not in opposition to all these tendencies which are materializing now, but I think it is somebody's duty to hold back a little. The people in this country are a little inclined to "slop over” when they get hold of anything new and to ride a free horse to death. I never have posed as a conservative, but I believe sometimes it is good discipline to do that.
THE FUNCTIONS OF A UNIVERSITY.
| DEAN C. H. BENJAMIN, LA FAYETTE, IND.
1.-Definition. It is needless to say that by the term university is meant a technical university. Furthermore it may be understood that some so-called universities are but second-rate colleges and that on the other hand some colleges are doing work of university grade. For the purposes of this paper, let it be granted that a technical university is an institution where technical instruction is given through the medium of departments, schools or colleges of engineering and science, such instruction leading to semi-professional degrees of Bachelor of Science. This as distinct from the college which aims to education men in general subjects of a scientific or literary character, thus preparing them for subsequent professional or technical study in a university.
The general scheme of education as it has been developed in this country since the Civil War may be thus described:
(a) From four to six years of age the kindergarten or similar objective instruction, aiming to cultivate the faculties rather than to impart information. Of doubtful utility.
(b) From six to fourteen years of age the grade schools, whose aim formerly was to teach the fundamentals of language, mathematics and science. The graduate of the eighth grade was to know how to read, write and speak the English language creditably, to know how to perform ordinary commercial operations in arithmetic and to have an elementary knowledge of facts and principles in history and natural science. In these later years the time allotted to these very important subjects has been curtailed to permit the introduction of vocational courses and studies of a miscellaneous nature.
(c) From fourteen to eighteen years of age the high school, the finishing school of the education for the ordinary boy and girl. Formerly in these four years the pupil studied the elements of chemistry, physics and physical geography, either ancient or modern
language, algebra and geometry, rhetoric and English literature, an education which gave him or her the fundamentals on which to build either for life work or college. Manual training in its various forms upset this curriculum. If the boy was to do carpenter work and the girl to learn sewing, something else must be sacrificed.
(d) If the graduate of the high school was allowed to go on, next in order came the college with its four years' of training in ancient and modern languages, the higher mathematics, history, economics and the like and such branches of natural science as there was room for.
At the end of the four years, the student had a general education which fitted him fairly well for citizenship and for entering into business or into professional life. In the latter case he was expected to spend two or three years in a professional school to obtain the necessary technical training.
He then became a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor or a minister.
If on the other hand his tastes led him towards agriculture, engineering or mercantile pursuits, he had no special training which fitted him for any of these callings and was obliged to serve some sort of an apprenticeship on the farm, in the factory or in the store.
As the demand for educated men in field and shop began to de velop, it became apparent that much of the college education and some of the school education was comparatively useless in these pursuits. It was questioned whether Greek, Latin and philosophy were worth while for the farmer and the engineer and whether something better might not take their place. This feeling finally took shape in the passage by Congress of the Morrill Act and the establishment of Land Grant Colleges and State Universities, where Greek and Latin were supplanted by manual and technical training in agriculture and the mechanic arts.
At first the time devoted to these was limited from lack of knowledge and want of equipment, so that the curriculum as a whole was as much cultural as utilitarian. But as the years rolled on, the literary and historical studies were crowded to one side or dropped and the technical training developed and specialized, until today it extends throughout the entire four years and occupies nearly half of the allotted time.
At Purdue University, in its schools of engineering, the average percentage of time devoted to technical and professional subjects for the four years of the course is forty-eight, as against twenty-six for pure and applied mathematics and twenty-six for science and literature. It is to be presumed that these ratios do not differ much from those at other similar institutions.
And still the pressure for more specialization continues. Each instructor is a specialist, not only as a civil engineer or a mechanical engineer, but in branches of these branches, and claims to be a structural engineer or a railway engineer or a telephone engineer. He is enthusiastic about his own particular subject and is continually pleading for more time and further specialization.
Will it come to the point where we shall have professors of the lower chord and instructors in the anatomy of the piston rod? IS not the pendulum swinging too far?
And again the critics of our secondary school system saw that no time was devoted to so-called practical training, that with all his knowledge of history and science and mathematics the high school