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Sixteen land-grant institutions are offering curricula leading to degrees in industrial education for the purpose of preparing teachers in accordance with the Smith-Hughes Federal Vocational Education Act. In nine institutions this curriculum is administered by the dean of engineering and in seven it is under the dean of the school of education.
Land-grant institutions should take greater advantage of the Federal vocational education act and should train a larger number of the teachers for trades and industries of the country. The administration of this type of instruction depends upon local conditions, but ordinarily curricula in industrial education should be very closely allied to the training of engineers.
Status of Agricultural Engineers
Administration. In 22 land-grant institutions the instruction in engineering as related to agriculture is administered as a separate
department of the college of agriculture, in 6 this instruction is ad· ministered under the college of engineering, and in 12 institutions there is a joint administration by both agriculture and engineering.
Name given to instruction.—Twenty-nine institutions designate the instruction in engineering as related to agriculture by the name
“ agricultural engineering,” 10 use the term “ farm mechanics,” and E 3 use other designations such as “ rural engineering.”
Degrees in agricultural engineering.-Twenty institutions offer curricula leading to degrees in agricultural engineering. In nine of these, such curricula are administered under the dean of engineering, in four under the dean of agriculture, and in seven under the joint administration of both the deans of engineering and agriculture.
For the year ending June 30, 1927, only 36 degrees were awarded by six institutions.
If the agricultural engineering curriculum is an engineering curriculum its administration by the dean of engineering seems to be the only logical practice. To have such a curriculum administered by the dean of agriculture will no doubt result in two different standards for engineering degrees. Joint administrations may give satisfactory results, but dual responsibility for a curriculum may lead to complications.
Enrollment in agricultural engineering.-In Table 5 are given data for the enrollment in agricultural engineering for a number of years.
The data in Table 5 show that only about 225 students are enrolled in agricultural engineering in all of the land-grant colleges. The growth in enrollment in this branch of engineering during the past 10 years was almost negligible. It is true that the 20 landgrant colleges established this curriculum since 1925–26 and that it is therefore too soon to expect much expansion of enrollment. It is doubtful whether 20 land-grant colleges are justified in offering special curricula in this field, although instruction in engineering as related to agriculture should be given in all land-grant institutions.
Noncollegiate Instruction in Engineering The present facilities in the United States for the noncollegiate type of technical instruction are extremely meager. This country has about 150 institutions which are offering curricula leading to degrees in engineering, but nondegree courses are seldom available for the training of artisans, foremen, and others to occupy the junior technical and supervisory positions of industry. With the passing of the apprenticeship system, facilities are also lacking to train workers for the trades.
Nondegree curricula.—Only four institutions are offering technical curricula of less than three years in length and not leading to degrees. While there is need for people trained in such curricula, the enrollment figures (Table 6) show that such curricula are not popular. The experience of several land-grant colleges leads them to conclude that it is usually undesirable for an engineering college to offer curricula not leading to degrees. In Great Britain both collegiate and noncollegiate technical instruction is being offered in the same institution in industrial centers. In the United States the student enrolled in curricula not leading to degrees has no social status among the other college students. Furthermore, the average American boy, if he is interested in machines, in industrial processes, or in materials, is ambitious to prepare himself for the engineering profession and for nothing lower.
Only one land-grant engineering college has had considerable success with curricula in trades and industries not leading to degrees; however, it is reported that this work is to be discontinued because of decreasing demand during recent years. This particular engineering college has offered 2-year noncollegiate curricula in electrical, mechanical, road making, and structural; one 1-year curriculum in auto mechanics; and a special drafting course one quarter in duration. The 2-year curricula had in common such subjects as English, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, shop accounting, industrial economics, drafting, and shop and elementary physics. Those taking the electrical course received special instruction in electric wiring, electrical machinery, steam and gas machinery, electric transmission and distribution, and estimating and planning. Students in the 2-year mechanical course devoted more time to power machinery, mechanics and materials, shop work, and heating and ventilating. Those who elected the road-making course received instruction in surveying, specifications and plans for construction work, and cost keeping and estimating. The structural course devoted considerable time to structures. In the 1-year automobile course the only nontechnical subject was English, and all of the time was devoted to specialized technical instruction.
Intensive short courses for mechanics.-During the World War every land-grant engineering college trained mechanicians for the United States Army. This instruction was given through intensive, practical courses which were 10 weeks in duration. After the war a number of land-grant colleges continued such intensive courses for the purpose of training tractor operators, electricians, contractors, carpenters, blacksmiths, machinists, foundrymen, automobile-garage mechanics, and similar trades. While several land-grant engineering colleges are still offering this type of instruction, the enrollment in most cases is too small to justify the expense.
Short-unit courses and conferences. To meet the needs of industry for technical instruction other than that leading to degrees, 24 land-grant engineering colleges are offering with great success one or more short-unit courses or special conferences varying in length from three days to one week in such fields as highway construction, the installation and care of electric or gas meters, foundry work, operation of refrigerating plants, laundry work, foremanship, steel treatment, welding, tractor operation, building contracts, plumbing, central heating-plant operation, power-plant operation, telephoneplant engineering, mining, and electric-line foremanship.
Practical experience rather than educational qualifications form the basis for admission to these courses. No academic credit is granted. Ordinarily, such conferences or short-unit courses are held at the land-grant college. In one case district road schools of two
each are held in different parts of the particular State, in addition to the main road school of one week's duration at the institution. Only in exceptional cases are fees charged to those who attend such short-term courses.
About 4,600 people were benefited in the year ending June 30, 1928, by this type of instruction. The possibilities of service to the public through this instruction are great, and all land-grant colleges may advantageously offer short-unit courses for the benefit of the industries of their localities. This type of instruction reacts beneficially to engineering instruction, since the teachers and students are thus brought into contact with mature and practical men who are engaged in industrial pursuits.
Special classes. In addition to the short-unit courses, six institutions are conducting special classes in industrial centers in factory management, foremen training, steel treating, electricity, power plants, automobiles, metallurgy, concrete construction, elementary mechanics, and other subjects that are of value to the industries and trades of the locality served by the land-grant college. Only two institutions offer any such nonresident courses for college credit. In the other institutions these courses are of a different character and less mathematical than the corresponding subjects in the engineering curricula. For the year ending June 30, 1928, there were enrolled 8,142 in noncredit classes and 1,270 in credit classes. This type of instruction should be enlarged, particularly in the larger cities served by the land-grant colleges.
These classes are usually held in the evening once or twice per week during the academic year and are taught either by teachers from the engineering college or by special teachers employed by the college in the particular locality. In the latter case the instruction is outlined and supervised by the engineering college. In one State the
training of foremen is carried on by the land-grant engineering college with a portion of the expense paid by the State board for vocational education out of the Smith-Hughes funds. In most cases the fees charged pay a considerable portion of the actual expense. No educational test is required for entrance to noncredit classes, but ordinarily those who are engaged in technical occupations are admitted.
The engineering divisions of only eight institutions are of the opinion that courses in general education, such as English or mathematics, should be offered to those who are attending special classes or are benefiting by the short-unit courses. However, other educational leaders are inclined to disagree with the majority of engineering deans in regard to this matter and to approve the opinion of the eight divisions that believe such instruction should be given to these classes.
Qualifications of teachers for noncollegiate instruction. The landgrant engineering colleges report that 36 teachers are devoting full time to noncredit instruction and 6 to credit instruction. Of those giving noncredit instruction, 30 are college graduates, 2 have had one or more years of college training, and 4 have had no college training. Thirteen have the same qualifications as a professor of engineering and 14 have had more than 5 years of engineering experience. All of those who give instruction for credit are college graduates, but only one-third have had more than five years of practical experience. Fifteen institutions give to those who are responsible for instruction not leading to degrees the same ranks as to members of the resident engineering staff.
Cooperation with other agencies in technical training. In some cases the land-grant engineering colleges are cooperating with other agencies in technical education of noncollegiate grade. Seven are cooperating with the Young Men's Christian Association of their States, 1 with the Knights of Columbus, 6 with the chamber of commerce, 6 with civic clubs, 7 with the training schools of industries, 12 with the public schools, and 8 with other colleges in their States. While it may be impractical for many institutions to offer nondegree technical curricula and undesirable for some engineering colleges to give noncollegiate instruction, all should cooperate with other agencies of their States in developing all types of technical instruction.
Engineering Research Organized engineering research.—Thirty-five land-grant instita. tions have engineering experiment stations in which organized research is carried on. Up to June 30, 1928, these engineering experiment stations had published 808 bulletins in which the results of the investigations were reported.