« PrejšnjaNaprej »
Chapter VIII.--Conclusions and Recommendations
(1) Preparing students for general farming is no longer a primary function of the resident undergraduate work of colleges of agriculture in the land-grant institutions. Social, economic, and educational advances require that this fact be recognized frankly by the institutions and by their constituencies.
(2) The objectives of higher education in agriculture are increasingly and properly those of preparing: First, research workers in the scientific and social fields related to agricultural production and distribution and to rural life; second, extension workers for service in the dissemination of knowledge concerning the applications of scientific and economic truth to the problems of rural living; third, workers in all types of business and commercial activities related to agricultural production, distribution, and service; fourth, teachers of vocational agriculture and science in the public high schools; fifth, public servants in the investigating and regulatory departments of the State and National Governments; and sixth, overseers and managers of specialized and large-scale farm enterprises.
(3) The basic problem of organization of agricultural work in the land-grant institutions is one of devising methods for intergrating and coordinating resident teaching, experiment-station research, and extension activities. Tendencies in a number of institutions to develop research and extension in relative isolation from resident teaching require administrative attention.
(4) Minute specialization of departmental organization, with excessive departmental autonomy, tends, in certain institutions, to duplication of work, expensive instruction, and offerings inappropriate to undergraduate work, especially during the first two years of the college course.
(5) In view of the necessity for specialization in serving the diversified needs of modern agricultural research, extension, teaching, and business, and in view of the widespread development of public junior colleges, it is advisable that the land-grant institutions give consideration to reorganization of the agricultural division into junior and senior divisions, with specialization delayed until the end of the second year. Such reorganization is in harmony with current tendencies in higher education and not incompatible with
any of the objectives of college education in agriculture except the vocational one of preparation for general farming.
(6) The standard for training for agricultural staff members is being raised in harmony with the development of instruction that emphasizes scientific and economic objectives. Continued emphasis upon attainment of advanced degrees by the staff and upon study of subjects in education applicable to the problems of college teaching is desirable.
(7) The salaries of agricultural staff members serving for 11 months each year are not commensurate with those who serve 9 months. An adjustment of the salary scales upon the 9 and the 11 months' basis is urgently recommended.
(8) The number of students who enroll in agriculture varies with the condition of agricultural industry. This is true, although emphasis upon the training of research and extension workers, highschool teachers of agriculture and science, for State and Federal employment, and for business more or less closely related to agriculture tend to make this variation less acute than when the objective is primarily a back-to-the-farm one.
(9) Agricultural courses and curricula, and, to a considerable extent, departmental development reflect a decided tendency to increased economic and social emphasis upon the part of the agricultural colleges. This trend has not resulted in weakening of interest in the physical sciences.
(10) Experimental scientific investigations of certain educational problems extending over a period of years and conducted cooperatively and simultaneously by a number of agricultural divisions is recommended. Studies of this kind should be carried on in close cooperation with institutional schools of education or under the direction of educational technicians employed for the purpose. The following fields are suggested: (a) The different effects upon subsequent student work of teaching certain sciences in the college of agriculture and in the other basic science divisions; (b) method of coordinating the content of specialized courses in agriculture offered during the first two years of college; (c) the effects of farm practice requirements upon educational progress and practical success; (d) methods of providing practice work for prospective extension workers; (e) the validity of prerequisites now prescribed with reference to success in subsequent work; for example, general science prerequisites for applied work in agriculture; (f) the effects of different combinations and sequences of subjects upon students of equal ability; (g) methods of determining the degree and effects of the previous training of entering students (Smith-Hughes students especially) with reference to ability to carry on specific college subjects in agriculture and means of adapting beginning instruction in college to such individual differences of preparation (not mental ability) as are found; (h) the effects of different laboratory methods and means of determining the most effective length of the laboratory period for each phase of a single course; (i) effects of class size upon student learning in various subjects and during the different years of college work; (j) methods of instruction designed to increase individual student responsibility; and (k) requirements that may serve as substitutes for class attendance and their effect upon progress and learning of students in different subjects and at different levels.
Engineering and Engineering Education
Engineering strives to provide better and easier ways of satisfying human needs. Since the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act in 1862 the achievements in engineering and in other branches of applied science have resulted in a greater advance in civilization than had taken place in many centuries before that period. The electric light, electric furnace, electric storage battery, electric welding, X ray, radio, steam turbine, internal-combustion engine, aluminum, acetylene, liquid air, submarine, automobile, airplane, cash register, adding machine, farm tractor, farm machinery, moving picture, phonograph, concrete construction, steel construction, household heating plant, electric street railway, electric locomotive, power elevator, and many other inventions have been perfected during this period which have contributed to human happiness and comfort.
Rapid growth during the same period in the number and in the enrollment of the engineering colleges of the United States parallels this expansion of man's control over the materials and forces of nature. The rapid growth of our industries, public utilities, and public works is dependent upon men who are trained as engineers. In 1862 the people of this country were concerned mainly with the production of raw materials, grains, cotton, lumber, and minerals; the few factories of that time were mainly concerned with the manufacture of the coarser articles of commerce, and their product was valued in 1869 at only $4,000,000,000. To-day the United States is the greatest manufacturing nation in the world, with about 200,000 manufacturing establishments which turn out annually a product valued at more than $60,000,000,000. The telephone industry, which dates only from 1876, has 20,000,000 telephones in this country, or about two-thirds of the total number in the world. The use of electricity since 1882 has grown until on December 31, 1929, twentythree and one-half million customers contributed to the industry and two-thirds of the entire population lived in homes supplied with electricity. The automobile has 25,000,000 owners. Nearly one111490°-30 VOL 1-52
half of the families in this country use either manufactured or natural gas as fuel for cooking. The engineer is responsible in large part for these developments in American civilization.
The growing importance of the engineering profession is evidenced by the following statistics, which show that the membership in the four national engineering societies, which represent the branches of engineering most generally taught by land-grant colleges, has more than doubled since 1916 and is nearly ten times that of 1900:
TABLE 1.-Membership in four national engineering societies, 1900, 1916, and 1928
The market for engineering training is no longer confined to the strictly technical occupations. Executive and administrative posts in complex modern industries and public utilities are being filled increasingly by those who have demonstrated a thorough grasp of the business and social implications of technical processes.
History of engineering education as affected by the land-grant acts.The land-grant act of 1862 did not originate engineering education in the United States. The United States Military Academy at West Point, organized during 1812–1817, was the first American school of applied science. Until 1827 only 57 of the 500 graduates from West Point were civil engineers. Engineering education, other than military engineering, was started in the United States at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1824, with a curriculum that was greatly influenced by the practice of French engineering colleges. In 1840 the first class of civil engineers was graduated from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. During the period from 1824 to 1862 the advent of the railroad created a specific and enlarged need for civil engineers and brought into prominence the need for mechanical and other types of engineers to increase industrial productivity. By 1862 four privately endowed colleges (Harvard, 1847; Dartmouth, 1851; Yale, 1852; Brown, 1854) and the University of Michigan (1852) were added to the institutions giving engineering instruction.
The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 stimulated the rapid extension of engineering education, but did little to determine its distinctive form and character. The development of land-grant institutions made this type of education widely accessible to the industrial