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graduate knew not how to use his hands and his eyes, that he had not learned to “do things."
So came in manual training and a certain number of hours were taken from the older studies and devoted to teaching shop work and domestic handicraft.
And now at last the farmer's boy has discovered his birthright and clamors to be taught how to plow and plant, the time for this to be taken from that allotted to the three R's in the grade or common school, diminishing by so much his liberal education as a citizen and member of the community.
There is grave danger that here as in the college too much utilitarianism may result in depriving education of its real meaning which is teaching boys and girls “to think.”
If this sort of thing continues, what is to hinder our teaching pupils how to eat and drink, how to button their clothes and how to stand up and sit down? Paternalism can go no farther.
4.-Vocational Training. Starting with the introduction of technical training as a part of the college course, the vocational idea has spread down through the high school and the grade schools until it bids fair to be universal.
We have agriculture, domestic economy and manual training taught in our grade schools to children of ten and twelve years of age, we have our high schools split up into separate courses, or as in some cities into separate institutions, where the young citizen specializes in Latin and Greek, in mathematics and shop work, or in bookkeeping and commerce, according as he expects to go to Congress, to be a captain of industry or a bank president.
As to how the child of twelve or the youth of sixteen is to determine his future vocation, we are not informed. Meanwhile the time he can devote to the general studies which develop thinking, which cultivate the imagination and which round out the intellect is steadily diminished.
None of us would be inclined to deny the value of vocational training but many of us believe that some other things are more important and should not be sacrificed merely for utilitarian considerations.
5.-The Small College. The college of our fathers has become the "small college" of today. It gives must the same sort of an education as it did then and a very good sort it is. It may have conceded something on Greek and Latin and it may give a little more time to modern languages and to modern science. It has set its face firmly against technical studies and has tried to give a liberal all-around education such as every good citizen should have, be he farmer or shopkeeper, lawyer or manufacturer.
With the growing prominence of the university, the small college finds itself in danger of being forgotten. Between the modern high school with a curriculum embracing much that was formerly taught in college and the modern university taking its students directly from the high school and training them for professional life, the college finds itself ignored.
This should not be so. Granted that comparatively few of our youth graduate from high school and that fewer still enter college, we should not be deterred by this but should so shape up our educational plan that it may serve the minority as well as the majority. In this plan the college has a definite part. Let the graduate from high school enter the college and get his four years of regular college life with its pains and its pleasures, its traditions and its activities. During this time let him make up his mind as to his future profession and choose his electives to that end. Then as a college graduate with his A. B. or his B. S., let him go to a good university and spend two or three years in professional and technical study.
Perhaps you say this will take too long and delay too much the beginning of his life work. If you will cut down the grade school work to six years, teach well what is taught there and cut out the things which are superficially taught because they do not belong in the grade school curriculum the youth will still find it possible to graduate from the university at twenty-two.
The word university has been so abused in this country, so often misapplied, that one hesitates to use it. Going back to our first definition, let us grant for the purposes of this paper that a university is an institution where are provided professional or technical as distinct from general courses. Let us hope that in our scheme of national and state education it may some time mean more than this and be the capstone which binds together and makes useful the components of school and college education.
Let us further hope that in the attempt “to get learned quick" no unholy union of high school immaturity and technical education be tolerated without the intervention of college training or its equivalent.
The weak point in our present method is its superficialty. The graduate of our land grant college or state university knows something of many things but his knowledge is incomplete and shallow. In the endeavor to teach him everything that bears on his future life and profession, he has been taught many things that he should learn at home or in practical life. His knowledge of history is so crude as to be laughable. His smatterings of natural science are too fragmentary to serve any useful purpose. He cannot read French or German without a lexicon and a phrase book. Worst of all he cannot read or write or speak his mother tongue as a scholar should.
What use under these circumstances to further load up his schedule with smatterings of other less important subjects having more or less reference to the earning of bread and butter?
What has so far been said applies more particularly to the small minority of youth which completes a college or university education. By far the greater number of pupils stop at the end of the grade school courses and but a small fraction of the remainder go to college. We hope that this state of things may gradually change for the better, but it cannot be supposed that any considerable fraction of the youth of this country will get a college education.
The principal function of the grade school and possibly of the high school should be to consistently educate the boy or girl who will have no further schooling. Whether this necessarily means teaching handicrafts is open to question. Assuming that a certain amount of so-called vocational training is necessary and desirable, what part does the university have in the matter? As the apparent leader in the educational system of the state, how far is it responsible for the details of elementary and secondary education? Its interest in the subject is immediate, for the product of the school is the material of the university. By its influence and its example it should set high standards of quest and attainment. This applies to all and every subject taught in the secondary grades, whether cultural or practical, elementary or advanced.
That the university should concern itself directly with any secondary instruction or that it should in any way be held responsible for such instruction seems a perversion of its proper function.
University extension, if it means anything, means the extension of university work to outside fields whose occupants cannot come to the source. The fact that the instruction is given elsewhere than at the university is no reason why its character should be changed. In other words the university at home or abroad should do no teaching which is not of university caliber and should teach no subjects for which credit cannot be given on the university books. We have gradually been getting rid of those most undesirable nuisances, the irregular and special student and the short course man, so that no one can claim to be a student of the university unless he is matriculated in the regular four-year course. Let us not again allow any lowering of the standard. Of course, we are all aware that our agricultural brothers are not as yet free from the evils of short terms, and elementary instruction. But agriculture as a science occupies about the same position as did engineering twenty-five years ago. It is to be hoped and expected that in the next twenty-five years it will make progress in the maintenance of suitable educational standards comparable to those of the engineering schools.
7.-Engineering Extension. Although vocational education is at best an experiment and even if successful is not a work in which the university can be expected to engage, there are avenues through which the higher institution may approach those who by circumstances are prevented from taking the regular course.
The young man who has served his apprenticeship in field or factory and who realizes his need of more scientific training may be admitted to special or irregular courses which suit his particular needs, but even he should be required to qualify for entrance in the regular way.
Some way should also be devised for reaching those who need technical training but cannot spare the time for even a special course, The assistance thus given, however, should be of the same character and grade as that given to regular students and such as may receive university credit. In other words, it is the business of the university to teach subjects of a certain standard to all who can profit by them.
It is distinctly not the business of any institution of higher learning to give elementary or secondary training whether in college or out and such training should be left to the care and attention of those engaged in elementary or secondary instruction under the charge of the educational boards which are constituted for this purpose.
It is to be hoped that the time will come when our universities may be relieved of much that now burdens their curricula and thus be enabled to give advanced instruction which shall be on a par with that of European institutions. The fact that a university may receive national or state aid does not necessarily mean that it is a charitable institution.
8.-Experiment Stations. Experimental research is a field peculiarly appropriate for all land grant institutions. The fact that such colleges and universities receive their support largely from the nation and the state makes it incumbent upon them to assist in developing the natural resources of the country and the locality.
This is a work requiring considerable expenditures for equipment and control and must of necessity be confined to institutions where relatively large laboratories and engineering staffs are available.
It is furthermore work requiring expert supervision and extensive knowledge. In this country with its enormous area and its varied resources we have as yet but "scratched the surface." Each and every state has its own problems, its own natural advantages and it should be the peculiar province of the land grant institution to rediscover and to develop these.
It only needs to speak of the fuel investigation at Illinois, the ceramic work at Ohio, and the railroad experiments at Purdue to show what is here possible.
The work of this sort is at present rather sporadic and unrelated. Each institution has had its own problems thrust upon it and has solved them in its own way. There has been a lack of co-operation between the different colleges and probably some duplication has occurred.
Only a few institutions publish regular bulletins of the work accomplished and some of it goes to waste from lack of publicity. If this Association can take steps to unify the experimental work done by the various colleges and universities in its membership and to arrange for more general publicity regarding this work, it will confer a lasting benefit on the institutions themselves and on the engineering profession.
There is no corporate institution so well fitted by its character and location to develop the resources of a state as the state university and this should be regarded as one of its most important functions.
PRESIDENT MARSTON.—The formal discussion of Dean Benjamin's paper is to be given by Dean Turneaure, of Wisconsin.
DEAN TURNEAURE.—Mr. President and members of the Association:
Dean Benjamin kindly sent me a copy of his paper, and on the basis of the paper itself I think, in the light of his preliminary remarks, that we might not disagree quite so fully if we should sit down and talk things over, as my discussion might indicate.
THE FUNCTIONS OF A UNIVERSITY.
DEAN F. E. TURNEAURE, MADISON, WIS.
The paper of Dean Benjamin touches many phases of technical and general education but the speaker will limit his discussion to two features, the question of vocational education in the secondary school, and the proper attitude of the university towards special and vocational work not leading to a degree.
There is at present a very strong trend in our secondary schools to provide instruction of a vocational or semi-vocational character. To a large proportion of high school students the high school is preparatory. to their life's work and not to a college course. A further considerable proportion of seventh and eighth grade pupils who now drop out would remain longer in school if thereby they could get some vocational training. Should there be no vocational instruction offered to such students short of the traditional four-year course in engineering or agriculture? Until very recently there was scarcely a place in the United States where a young man could get any technical instruction except in a standard engineering course requiring for admission a four-year high school course. The boy who expected to become a machinist or patternmaker, or other type of skilled mechanic was virtually told that the only educational path the state had to offer him was the traditional academic high school and the technical university. The latter was often wholly out of the question and the former of little practical value to him. This seems to have been the attitude of the public mind in this country until very recently, partly because of our great fear that by any other plan we might possibly discourage a future Kelvin or a Huxley or a president of the United States. We have been afraid to soil our fingers with any practical technical education below the high level of the engineering course. Are there no elements of theory or practice that can be taught to anyone below the grade of the engineer? Is there nothing that can be efficiently taught in school of practical value to the artisan or mechanic or to the man who may become a superintendent or engineer through the gateway of experience, but who cannot or will not get a college education ? The great development of the secondary technical school in Germany and Great Britain and the successful work of the very few such schools in the United States demonstrates that such instruction is practicable and valuable.
One of the difficulties in developing this work in this country is the desire on the part of school men to ride two horses and to give such semi-vocational work as may be of some value and at the same time be accepted for entrance to college. The result is that the instruction is likely to be satisfactory neither as vocational nor as college preparatory work. Why not frankly provide such vocational instruction as experience has shown elsewhere to be most helpful in a vocational way and drop the college question until that is done? Perhaps an occasional pupil who decides late in his course to go to college will lose some time but it is better for the one boy to lose a little time than for the ten boys to lose time or to leave school altogether for lack of suitable instruction. This country has made some progress since the late Dean Johnson's appeal to the S. P. E. E. some thirteen or fourteen years ago and there has recently been enacted some very favorable legislation. It seems quite likely, however, that the development will have to come through separate systems of schools rather than through the present school organizations.
Granting that vocational instruction of a secondary grade should be provided, what should be the attitude of the technical departments of the state college or university towards this work? The speaker here disagrees with the author in some respects. He believes that the university should be as helpful as possible in all educational problems, and at the present stage of development of vocational education in agriculture and mechanic arts there are many instances where great assistance may and should be given by the university. Our system of secondary technical instruction is very incomplete. In this country technical work of college grade appeared to be the easiest to organize and has been given the preference, sometimes I believe because of the ambitious ideas of directors and governing boards rather than the needs of the community. It happens therefore that almost the only educators who are in touch with the practical needs in agriculture and mechanic arts, from contact with farmer and manufacturer, are those engaged in college work. They are therefore in a position to help and should do so. Who else but the professors in agriculture can take up the very important secondary work of short courses, farmers' courses and the like? It is of interest to know that the man who probably did most to start the short course in agriculture at Wisconsin about 25 years ago was the late Senator