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in writing and individual criticism in conference, each student will be assured command of a clear, exact and vigorous style. The study of literature will not only further this end, but will afford acquaintance with the best that has been thought and finely expressed in the language. Indeed, English and American literature, American history, and the history of modern Europe will be taught primarily for the grasp they must yield upon social, moral, and political questions, while the study of economics will possess peculiar significance for those ambitious to deal intelligently with great industrial problems and processes. It is proposed that all such courses, so far as they extend, shall be more thorough, more exacting and comprehensive than those presented by the colleges. The need for this is apparent. The technical student will systematically survey these fields but once; the pace will be too rapid to allow of his easy reliance upon some future opportunity to approach them; moreover, within a given time he must travel over a greater sweep of their territory. With the standards of such subjects ranking no lower than those of his purely professional courses, the student will not only cease to regard them as intrusions, but will recognize in their broadening influence his most profitable investment of time and effort.
The length of the undergraduatae course will be indeterminate. The best among the best may finish within four years; for many, perhaps most, an additional year will be necessary.
The unparalleled range of engineering practice afforded by Greater New York will serve, not merely as an inspiration to the engineering student, but as an essential part of his subject matter. He will investigate theoretical problems in the light of the best actual practice, inspect the largest and most varied engineering works and operations, and at every turn supplement book-knowledge by the knowledge of existing conditions and requirements.
It is evident that such an institution for the education of leaders must be private in character rather than public. For the public institution, deriving its support from all, must in turn cater to all. It must diffuse its energies to shape its many, rather than concentrate them in more highly developing the few.
I am distinctly conscious of the limitations and responsibilities such a plan imposes on those who undertake it. I would rather, however, place emphasis on its possibilities. You will bring up doubts, point out serious obstacles, say perhaps that it is a “piece of idealism,” but I can only ask with a dash of perversity, “isn't it an educational experiment worth trying?” May it not, if wisely administered, show that efficiency in education and efficiency in training can go together?
JOINT DISCUSSION. PROFESSOR ROWLAND: The proposition of President Atkinson's paper is a most interesting one. It seems to me to be especially interesting since it is so different from much we hear nowadays, or have heard even in some of the papers presented at this meeting, the latter's aim being somehow to combine tradeschools or industrial education with
with engineering I am glad that an experiment of the kind proposed in this paper is not going to be tried upon my son or upon any man to whom I might hold the relation of teacher. I know of nothing in teaching work which is more pitiful to contemplate than the wrecked courses of men who for various causes have been dropped by the wayside and left behind by their classmates on their way toward graduation. Too often, and in too many courses, students are dropped out because a policy of exclusion is adopted by the faculty, whose motive is to weed out all but the most brilliant men. This seems to be the aim deliberately chosen by President Atkinson for his proposed course. I cannot feel, for one, that this is a proper aim in educational work.
I believe a faculty should put itself into such an atti de that it is constantly looking about to see how better to adopt the courses to the students in them, to arrange so that as much as possible can be done for each man, and to plan so that a helping hand may be reached out as far as possible toward each one. I believe in planning courses with this end in view. Few men really start on an engineering education who have not, for some good cause, selected it as the means of finding the station in life for which they are fitted. The training they expect to get is only taken with a view to gaining ability to fill higher places than otherwise could have been reached by them. Turn such men away, or drop them out when part way through a course, and by that very action they will have been given a blow which will be felt through their whole life.
Give men a properly rounded course in engineering principles, built up on the science and mathematics which form a necessary foundation for such education, and their own natural ability will attend to the future. This it is sure to do anyhow. Only those men who have qualities for leadership will ever get into positions where leadership is required. Alas, in many cases the very men who would have been picked by a faculty to become leaders in professional work are distanced by those who have been scarcely able to pass graduation requirements.
THE SECRETARY: In this connection, the following excerpts from the reply of Professor John Perry, of the Royal College of Science, London, to my invitation to become a member of our Society may be of interest. He writes, “May I suggest, however, that you Americans are trying to do too much at College. You are trying to teach everything at an Engineering College. It seems to me that a college ought to teach a man how to go on educating himself all the rest of his life after he leaves college; it ought to make him fond of reading. If this is the aim of a college then a six or a five or a four years' course is all too long. A three years' course is quite enough if your entering students know how to write a letter in English, and how to compute, and if they have some knowledge of experimental science. All the rest is Bunkum and Tom Sawyerism.
“P. S. I mean that Latin, Greek, French and Germen are all good, but they are not necessaries of
DEAN KENT: It was brought to my mind in this paper that the recent literature on biology shows that the doctrine of the survival of the fittest is getting out of date, and that the doctrine of mutation and sport is coming to take its place; namely, that progress does not come through very slow changes through the centuries, but through sports, the sudden action of some one thing that goes away from the established order of things and brings in a new one. In engineering education one of the sports is the individual instruction of Dean Raymond; another is Dean Cooley's six years' course; and here we have President Atkinson's new experiment. I am in favor of all of these experiments. The present styles of schools of engineering are all right for the work we have to do, the training of the average engineer. A far larger problem is the problem of industrial education, and a still different but much smaller problem is the training of a small number of men for the highest efficiency.
DEAN GOETZE: I desire to endorse what Professor Chatburn has said about the importance of the combined academic and technical course and wish to say that at Columbia University we have been fostering this course to the greatest possible extent for several years. We are strongly advising entering students to come up to our engineering courses by way of the college and there are now some thirty or forty of our students who are taking this combined course. They come into the technical school better prepared and more mature and are consequently better able to keep up with the hard work which is required of