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Wm. F. Vilas, then regent, a highly educated man and whom none could excel in appreciation of the value of the old cultural training.
At the present time there are likely to be many cases in which the university is the best, if not the only agency, available to do a piece of needed work. Short courses in highway instruction may be very profitably given in some states. Why is it not legitimate, if helpful, for the university to give such practical instruction, even though not of university grade, to those in charge of road work? Should it be necessary for these men to matriculate in college and become juniors or seniors before they are able to get a particle of instruction from a public institution which is perfectly well able to give it? It is the speaker's belief that it is the duty of the university to render assistance in any of these educational problems where it is the best or only agency prepared to do so. In many cases some other state agency should and will in time be developed to carry on secondary work. The university, should encourage this and stand ready to give over these functions when the proper time comes. In technical lines, however, it will probably be a long time before re will cease to be educational work of this character in which certain university departments may be of great assistance.
Finally, the author is quite particular that the university should confine itself to work of a university grade; he thinks the special student a nuisance and should be got rid of, but at the same time says that “it is the business of the university to teach subjects of a certain standard to all who can profit by them.” I am not quite clear as to who may receive this instruction but take it that in every case the student, whether in residence or not, must be required to qualify for entrance.
I recognize fully the necessity of upholding scholastic standards in high school and university by strictly enforcing certain requirements for matriculation and graduation, but if the university is to teach subjects of university standard to all who can profit thereby, then some arrangement must be made for special students who cannot matriculate.
What is work of a university standard? As a matter of fact, as entrance requirements are now arranged, there is, I believe, no subject except mathematics, and perhaps English, in which a school preparation beyond eighth grade is required in order that it may be pursued in the university. Beginning courses in languages, history and all the sciences are offered at most universities in the country. The thing supposed to be demanded of applicants for admission is, as Dean Benjamin says, the “ability to think" and the accepted measure of this is fourteen to fifteen units of high school work. While, under all the circumstances, this may be the best measure, it seems to me it should not be absolutely the only one. Maturity of mind and experience in vocations requiring mental activity will also give the ability to think and where a person is well prepared to pursue a particular subject or group of subjects already taught in the university, he should be given the opportunity under suitable restrictions. Surely a young man who has served in an engineering party or in a draughting room for four or five years and who has the necessary preparation in mathematics is quite as capable of taking work in elementary surveying or freshman chemistry, or in fact in almost any beginning course as the boy of 16 or 17, fresh from the high school. If a university is willing to teach solid geometry to the high school graduate it should be willing to teach trigonometry or analytical geometry to the man from the office.
The speaker belieres that through ertension courses and by arrangements for special students the state university or college should extend its help to such persons, and be bas no fear of lowering of the standards of the institution if proper regulations are enforced to safeguard the interests of the great body of regular students who come with a preparation secured by the uscal school instruction.
PRESIDENT MARSTON.—This topic is now open to general discussion.
Pror. E. B. VORRIS (Wiscorsin).-For the comfort of Dean Benjamin I would like to inform the socie:y that our engineering entension work in Wisconsin is rapidir adrancing out of the "secondary school" stage. We did find it necessary in the beginning (as the colleges used to find it necessary to bare their preparatory schools) to give a great deal of work that might be cossidered to beiong properly to the local educational institutions. However, two years ago, Wisconsin started a sistem of industrial educazion of industrial schools and other forms of continuation schoo's so that a great deal of the work which we formeris did because there has to oczer agency through which to accomp.ish it, tas now been tagen over be chose
The engineering ertension werk of the past year tas been at least according to my own sandards of practicar college grade.
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the engineers of the city was the real solution, or would go the farthest towards solving the problem.
That city has a well organized continuation school, but there was nobody in that city, and you could not expect to find in the average town anybody connected with the public schools or who might become connected with them who could solve that problem.
It is very clearly a problem for an engineering college. We teach some work along that line in our engineering colleges but our engineering instructors probably gave these men a great deal more information along that line than we give to our engineering students. On the other hand, they were not men qualified in many ways to enter a college.
We organized the firemen and engineers of that city into a class. We were fortunate in having an instructor who was able to go right into the boiler room and show the men how to fire coal, and who could actually do it, to reduce smoke. They studied the question not only of firing coal, but the principles of combustion, the chemistry of combustion, and they were taught the use of the Orsat apparatus.
They studied various types of boilers and settings and stokers, and at the end of the course the class made a complete test of a power plant involving the evaporation of 210 tons of water, and worked up a complete report according to the A. S. M. E. code, showing what these men were capable of doing after one winter's study.
To see whether the work really accomplished anything worth while, I wrote to the manufacturers and to the mayor of the city. The city council had made appropriations and had sent all of their employes to the class, and most of the manufacturers of the city did the same, and paid for the instruction. I think I can show that they were amply repaid.
The mayor writes me as follows:
“Your favor of the 5th instant received. In reply I beg to say the lectures and class work conducted by your Mr. Elliott were of the greatest assistance, not only to the men in the class, but to their employers and to the community in general.
“As you undoubtedly know, we have been having very serious trouble with excessive smoke but the course of instructions given by Mr. Elliott has done away with the greatest part of the trouble and we are having very little complaint now. The only offenders at this time are those who would not send their employes, sneering at the idea that it would be of any benefit to them, and I am afraid we will have to use harsh methods with them. However, I do not see how any community can get along without this kind of work."
One of the engineers made the statement to us that he had succeeded in greatly increasing his boiler efficiency, giving us the following figures:
“Yours to hand today asking how I liked the course of instruction given on steam boilers- (The English is not very good) “and had been practical use to me, I would say it has benefit me greatly in the operation in our boiler plant.
"We had succeeded in bringing our boiler efficiency up from 68 to 79. That speaks very well for what it has done for me, and as for Mr. Elliott, I consider him a hard worker and a good instructor. Trusting that this is what you required, thanking you, I remain,” etc.
Those figures seemed rather astounding to me, and so I wrote to his employers asking them to give me the figures as to evaporation for the month of July following the completion of the course, and they substantiated his record of evaporation. They do not state what the evaporation was, but I judge from the figures they give for July,
and from their own statements, that the engineer is correct. He certainly had been figuring his evaporation.
The manufacturer writes as follows:
“Replying to your favor of the 7th instant relative to the work conducted in this city last winter by the University Extension Divi. sion, beg to advise that we believe that through this work the efficiency of our power plant and employes in that department has increased. The men seem to take a great deal of interest in their work and are co-operating with us in reducing the cost of operating our power plant."
“Our records for July show we evaporated, on the average, 283,368 pounds of water for 30,782 pounds of coal, or 9.206 pounds of water for each pound of coal.
“We have been very much pleased to think that the employes of our plant availed themselves of the opportunity of taking the course in engineering of the University Extension Division, and they have expressed themselves as being desirous of taking further studies, especially in the turbine and electrical parts of this kind of work."
This represents a saving in this one plant of about $2,500 a year. Certainly engineering extension work which accomplishes such results is justified.
DEAN D. W. SPENCE (Texas).-Mr. President and gentlemen:
I did not come here with the intention of discussing this paper, but there are a few points as to which I should like to see a discussion started in order to see what others have to say.
I think the function of our schools and colleges and universities is to accomplish the greatest possible good for their states in any way they can.
Of course, we have our regular four-year courses, and we have had to solve our special problems as to where those courses shall start and that determines where where they shall end.
Personally I am not in favor of taking up very much in a correspondence way or extending our work by going into correspondence courses. I thought at one time that we could accomplish something in our state by correspondence courses. I talked with a number of our graduates and they all oppsed it. One young man who now has immediate charge of the expenditure of a million dollar bond issue for highways, said that he would not have been in his present place if we had had correspondence work; that he started the correspondence course at one time, and some later incident in his life changed him to the four-year course, so that instead of being a graduate of a correspondence school he has now taken his second degree in our college and, as I stated, has a rather responsible position in the state.
In short courses, however, I think the colleges can do a great deal of good. The highway question with us is a very prominent one, and we have established a short course in highway work open only to those twenty-one years of age or over. That is the only requirement we have. That is for county surveyors and road superintendents and anyone interested in the work. It is a six weeks' course. We do not expect to make trained engineers of them, at all, but we do attempt to give them an idea of a good highway and how best to make it, and the results that are wanted by their different counties.
We have done what was suggested in one of the earlier papersestablished a short course in telephone work. That is an important branch in our state, as I suppose it is in all the states. Short courses on that subject can help a great deal. Our course is a one-year course.
Then we have a special course for power plant operators. All of these special courses take care of the laboring class, and that is the large class in Texas. We have not a lot of rich people down there. We have a great many people coming from the middle classes, and that is where we can do the most good and where, I think, all the colleges can do the most good, by meeting the different requirements.
That is the demand that the industries are making on us, and if we can educate the people not too narrowly, let us do so; we should broaden out to a certain extent, of course, but where we cannot broaden out, then let us give them the special training.
PRESIDENT MARSTON.—This same general topic is likely to come up again at least once, tomorrow morning. We have the general subject of extension work set for discussion tomorrow morning. In the meantime, however, there may be special phases that may most suitably be discussed at this time. Dean Keene, do you not have some special courses?
DEAN E. S. KEENE (North Dakota).–After listening to what has been said I have wondered whether the principal speaker and Dean Turneaure did not have in mind the work of the universities rather than that of the colleges—these land grant colleges. We are particularly concerned with college questions. If all these institutions turn out technical graduates to the extent that each institution in each state contributes ten graduates a year—the average life of an engineer being, say, twenty years—we would soon have a flood of engineers in this country greater than the demand. The supply and demand in the case of engineers is the same as anything else. We should turn our attention to some other things beside that of making professional technical engineers.
These short courses in many sections of the country are almost demanded. What has been said of the power plant engineers is common with us, while for road building we have no demand at all, living as we do in the northwest, with the existing conditions of fall and winter weather, hard roads are made by nature. Good roads meetings create very little excitement.
For instance, the federal Department of Good Roads could not create interest in good roads in North Dakota with a brass band, for the simple reason that it freezes up at this time of the year, and the surface of the roads is as hard as any pavement you ever saw until April, and they say: “Why do we want to make roads?” They have them there now. They do not have the muddy periods that are prevalent in this and other sections of the country. Therefore, different states have different problems to solve, and if the agricultural colleges or the land grant colleges do not solve them, who will? The problem of vocational training should be a part of their work. The vocational work in the high school is manual training. There was a time when many educators were under the impression that manual training solved all educational difficulties but you all know that it does not solve anything, and that we have not got any further in that direction than we had in the beginning.
Industrial courses of the land grant institutions immensely increase the field of college usefulness. I should like to become acquainted with a field of endeavor more suitable for a college undertaking. I have not seen anything better yet.
PRESIDENT MARSTON.-Can you throw any light on this subject, Professor Tyler?
DR. H. W. TYLER (Massachusetts).-I am afraid not at present, Mr. President, without running into my particular hobby, that is, the general status of mathematics in secondary schools.