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PRESIDENT MARSTON.—Has any other member of the Association any suggestions or observations to make?
DEAN TURNEAURE.—I would like to raise one more question in connection with the President's address, as well as in connection with this paper.
It seems to me, in the light of the ideals which have been so well brought out by the President, and which were in the minds of at least some of the members of Congress when this first bill was passed, that it is open to question whether the land grant colleges have not left a big gap by gradually raising their entrance requirements, as most of them have done, to a four-year high school course, so that they are now in the main, so far as mechanic arts are concerned, teaching a four-year engineering course and nothing else.
This leaves a big gap which is not taken care of. It is one of the things which we have been talking about-some form of secondary education-and it seems to me that we need to go back a little. We have gone ahead too fast. It is a question which has occurred to me many times as to whether it has been the wise thing, on the whole, for all of the land grant colleges to separate themselves so far from the industrial population, who need secondary education, as well as engineering education—whether short courses such as we have been considering should not have been established and retained. It depends, of course, much upon the local conditions.
This function of the land grant colleges was recognized by the late Dean Johnson, of Wisconsin, when, some eleven or twelve years ago, a summer school for artisans was established. A location like Madison is not very well suited to secondary work. Large cities are the best places for most of the secondary instruction in mechanic arts. In Wisconsin most of this sort of work will be taken care of in a very few years by the system of industrial schools mentioned by Professor Norris.
The question I wanted to raise, however, is whether land grant colleges have not left a gap which should not have been left, and whether we should now go back and fill up that gap. PRESIDENT C. A. LORY (Colorado).-I quite agree to this.
In our institutions we have carried our entrance requirements and standards up to fourteen or fifteen units for entrance, and we have found that it left a very serious gap. We found that there were a great many students that had a right, apparently, to come to the college, but who could not enter the regular classes.
I think, therefore, at present, that there is a very general movement in the western institutions to follow the plan of Minnesota in establishing so-called schools of agriculture, secondary schools requiring six months a year for three years.
We in Colorado established a school like this about six years ago offering at first only courses in agriculture and in domestic science. We thought at first that we would be fortunate if we had fifty students, because we have quite a number of good high schools over the state; we were very much surprised when the enrollment the first year was 213. In this connection it is to be remembered that the state law sets the age limit for entrance at not less than fifteen years, that we have no dormitory facilities at all, and that parents hesitate in sending their children of that age away from home. In spite of all these difficulties, however, and in spite of the fact that these youngsters had to come from outlying districts largely, the enrollment went to 213. It has steadily increased, and the demand for a course in mechanic arts was so strong that we provided it after two years; so that we now have three courses, one for the girls and two for the boys; we have made the course in mechanic arts rather difficult, making it necessary for the parent or guardian to sign the request to enter the course in mechanic arts, because we wanted to emphasize the work in agriculture. At present, I think, if anything, the course in mechanic arts is growing a little more rapidly than the course in agriculture, and the school as a whole has grown to a point where we have had to limit the attendance because the support from the state did not begin to keep up with the growth in attendance. Last year the total attendance reached 418, in the ratio of about three boys to one girl.
In the development of the course in mechanic arts we have put in many things—in the course in telephone work, for instance, we have the cordial co-operation of the telephone company, the course was in part prepared by one of their engineers, and a great deal of the equipment was loaned by the company, and we have an agreement or arrangement, rather, with the local manager whereby these boys were taken out on the regular work and repair duties on Saturday and given permission to work with company men.
We have found that this three-year course has brought much added support to the institution; that the parents who have their children there are just as ardent friends of the college as are those whose sons are in a four-year course; that the parent does not distinguish as to whether his boy is in the school of agriculture or in the college.
We have found, too, that we have been able to strengthen our college courses, because now the boy comes in who is not quite prepared, does not have to be sent away and can get a great many things in this secondary institution, and especially do we get boys who are dissatisfied with the classical high school course, who want to get into something different, and who cannot take the college courses.
We put them into the school of agriculture and, strange as it may seem, if you follow the graduates of that school up into the college, even though that course is short, three months each year, it proves a fairly good preparatory course. In order to keep these youngsters from rushing into the college at too great a rate, we hold them for a fourth or intermediate year, in which we give them more science, more mathematics, more English and some language. Many of them finding themselves in the school gladly take the fourth year and we have had a growing number entering the college; this last year I suppose about twenty altogether.
We have been keeping a check on those students and we find that they hold their own very well with those students who come from the four-year high schools.
You might be interested in the fact that the popularity of this secondary work is growing.
It is on the campus, it is well organized, and has a definite course of study, it gives the opportunity to train what might be called the foremen in the industrial work, while in the college we are training the engineers.
I feel that we must be very, very careful in limiting the function of the colleges entirely to the training of those who can enter the four-year course; that the boys, especially in states like our own, where we have large districts that have no high schools, where, in order to get high school training, the parents must send their children away from home, often for long distances, that those youngsters have a claim on the agricultural college, and that that claim is properly met by this three-year course.
We are extending this work one step farther, that is, to take up some summer projects with these short course men. That means, then, that we will have six months in the shop, or in the class room, and six months in the field, giving an opportunity, in the summer projects, to try out some of the instruction in actual practice.
DEAN G. W. BISSELL (Michigan).-In view of the remarks that have been made, especially by the last speaker, I cannot help feeling that perhaps political expediency is at the bottom of some of this extra mural university and college activity.
PRESIDENT MARSTON.—There does not appear to be any other member who desires to make further remarks, and I will therefore ask Dean Benjamin to close the disscussion.
DEAN BENJAMIN.-It is rather difficult to close a discussion that has broadened out in the way this one has done.
I think I shall confine myself to the same two points that Dean Turneaure did in his discussion; that is, first, the status of vocational education and, second, the relation of the university to the extension work.
As I said in the beginning of my paper, I have no objection to vocational instruction. In fact, I believe in it. I am afraid, however, that the tendency is to weaken what you may call the cultural or liberal education of our youth.
I want to point this by calling your attention to some facts that I got several years ago from graduates of Purdue University.
I wrote some twenty-five or thirty graduates who had made good in engineering, and also to large employers of engineering graduates, asking for criticisms on the work of the university, as exemplified in its graduates, and also for suggestions as to betterment.
Of course I got all sorts of answers, both from the graduates themselves and from the employers, but what struck me most forcibly was two criticisms which were made almost equally by the two classes of individuals: First, the superficiality of the knowledge of an engineering graduate that is, his knowing too many things not quite well enough and being weak in the fundamentals.
Second, that the average graduate of an engineering college could not read and speak the English language, and that he showed to a great disadvantage in competition with graduates of liberal arts colleges in that respect. He was not able to write letters or reports or abstracts or criticisms, and he was not able to speak to good effect on his feet.
I am afraid that in our zeal for technical education, starting with the kindergarten and ending in the university, we are going to cut out some of these more important things. I believe it is very much more important that a man should have the fundamentals of an English education than that he should have any technical education whatsoever.
I do not like the word cultural, because I do not think it quite expresses what I have in mind, but it seems to me that it is necessary that every youth should get those things first which will make him a good citizen of the republic and a good member of the community in which he lives, and that if he cannot get anything more, he must get those.
In considering the connection of the university with vocational work and short course work, extension work of various phases, I was glad to hear Professor Norris call attention to the fact that this work at Wisconsin is gradually coming into the college grade.
I think none of us can object to any institution inaugurating work of this kind, especially in our western states where there is so large a population demanding such help, but I believe that we should keep in mind all the time that eventually the work should be turned over to other agencies, and that the university should confine itself ultimately to what we call university work.
The status of the special student or the short course man, if he has to be tolerated at all, I think should be determined ultimately by the regular college entrance examination. I do not want any man on the campus who cannot pass the college examination. He does not belong there.
The subject of smoke abatement was alluded to by Professor Norris as an example of extension work. I was supervising engineer of the city of Cleveland for two years, and had charge of the smoke abatement work there, and although it was not carried on as extension work by the Case school, as a result of my experience in that office I want to say that I regard it as distinctly work of university grade.
I do not know of any problem that requires a higher order of engineering and business talent than smoke abatement.
PRESIDENT MARSTON.—We will now hear from Commissioner Claxton, of the Bureau of Education, on the topic, “Engineering Extension as a Co-operative Effort on the Part of Engineering and Agricultural Departments of the Land Grant Colleges."
Hon. P. P. CLAXTON (U. S. Bureau of Education).—Mr. President and gentlemen:
I congratulate you and the country that, within two years since some of you first met in this room to consider the possibility and advisability of an organization of this kind, your association has grown to such large proportions and that you have met for such a program as has been provided for this meeting.
Before beginning the discussion of my subject let me say a word on one of the topics you have been discussing. I hop that coming in after the conclusion of the discussion may not be considered unfair. I do not desire to criticise the paper adversely, I only wish to call attention to one or two points which I think important.
Most colleges of this country do not confine themselves to what should be regarded strictly as college work. A large part, possibly one-third, of the work done in colleges requiring the standard of fourteen units or high school graduation for admission, is only of high school or even of elementary school character, when judged either by the preparation necessary for it, by its relation to other subjects, or by the degree of maturity of mind necessary or presupposed. Most of these colleges offer beginners courses in German, French and other modern languages. A child of six goes to school and learns to read and later to write “a cat," "a black cat," "I see a cat," "a mat,” “a cat is on a mat." Later in the freshman and sophomore classes in college he learns to say, read or write the same or similar phrases in another language. This is done in much the same way, requires the same kind of mental activity and mental attitude, and involves largely the same relations as the exercises of the first days of the primary school. It is hardly done so well because at eighteen the boy or girl has passed beyond that stage of development in which this kind of work is done most easily and with best results. Dignified college credits are given for learning to bend glass tubing and for simple observations and experiments in physics, chemistry, and biology which might have been done just as well or better in the grammar grades and in the first years of the high school. Many colleges accept work in physics, chemistry, and biology and then fail to build the college courses in these subjects on the work accepted for admission. Students offering work in these subjects for admission are either required to do the work over in college with beginners who have had no previous work in these subjects, or they must wait a year or more before continuing their work. Thus the work done for graduation in these subjects by students is not the sum of the work done in high school and accepted for admission plus the courses offered by the college, but only the courses offered by the college, which, therefore, for all students except those specializing in these subjects, are little more than what a good high school should offer. The same practices apply to modern languages in many colleges. Most of the work done in freshman and sophomore classes in all the subjects mentioned, and in many others, might be done just as well and even better in the high school. In Germany and France such work is done in the Gymnasien, Realschulen, and the Lycée and better than in many of our colleges. This is true also of a good part of the work of our junior classes. Graduation from these foreign schools comes at the end of twelve years of schooling as often as does graduation from our high schools of four years, based on seven, eight or nine years of elementary schooling.
Again it should be remembered that most of the work done in American colleges is short-course work in fact whatever it may be in theory. About forty per cent. of all students who enter the freshman class of our colleges quit college at or before the end of the first year.
More than sixty per cent. do not enter the junior class. Count the number of hours a student takes of any one subject in the first half or all of the first year, or even through the first two college years, if he remains so long-less than forty per cent., never longer-and you will find the total number of these hours amounts only to a short course, not more than might be given to the subject in a semester and perhaps much less of actual concentrated work. Again it must be remembered that these first and second year students are young, immature, and lacking in experience, in power of thinking and in earnestness as compared with those who come for the so-called short courses. Most of these last are mature men and women who have gained by contact with the practical affairs of life a kind development and power of initiative which the schools can never give. They have, as a rule, had much experience in the line of the studies they choose, and the very fact that they have left their work, already begun, and are spending their own money to come to college one or more semesters, indicates their earnestness of purpose. It is possible that in our desire to preserve our standards, and I believe in the preservation of standards as much as any one, we may forget the interests of the people we are supposed to serve. We may even misinterpret the meaning of standards themselves.
Also we must not forget that all people in the state must work, either ignorantly as slaves or intelligently as freemen. A freeman is one who works intelligently, knowing why and how, for the joy in the doing and in the product. A slave is one driven by the lash of necessity and, not having within himself the power of self-guidance, works only as he is directed by others. Liberal education is not education which frees one from work but education which frees one from the drudgery and slavery of work and enables one to work intelligently, joyously, and for noble and conscious ends. The freeman also controls circumstances or adjusts himself to them and makes the forces of nature his servants.
In a democratic country like ours-democratic in industrial, social, civic, political and religious life-every institution not purely technical should remember that boys and girls, pupils and students, are