Slike strani
PDF
ePub

This apparent failure to standardize the meaning of departmental terminology indicates the need for further study and development of the areas of knowledge that are intended to be included under the titles now used in order that clarity may be attained and common purposes served by analysis and realignment of subject matter material. As presented in the reports received from the institutions, the internal organization of home economics units throws very little light upon the suitability of the existing organization to the attainment of any specific type of objective. Internal organization needs readjustment for the definite purpose of adapting organization machinery to the accomplishment of very well-defined purposes.

Relationships of Home Economics The relationships of the home economics unit to other divisions and departments of the land-grant colleges are such that the subject is perhaps more closely allied to home economics courses and curricula than to organization. Yet the interchange of services that

. exists is of considerable importance in estimating the position that home economics occupies in these institutions. Thirty institutions furnished information concerning courses and services given by home economics for other divisions, and to home economics by other departments. It is interesting that home economics conducts service courses for the medical and nursing divisions in 14 institutions; for the extension service in 11; for agriculture in 7; and for units of arts and sciences in 19. In four institutions home economics conducts service work for the college of engineering. This is excellent evidence that home economics is establishing its subject-matter field in the esteem of other areas of college instruction, although such service by home economics is considerably less than it receives. Perhaps the fact that home economics is thus indebted to other divisions for service work is in part due to its combined social and scientific objectives as largely as to its relatively undeveloped status.

That this interest is not content with or compelled to mere acceptance of courses conducted by other divisions without reference to home economics purposes is evident from the number of instances in which the home economics unit is consulted by other divisions concerning the content of courses that they are giving. Thirty of the arts and science divisions thus seek the advice of home economics in regard to the adaptation of their material to home economics service. The same practice prevails in 17 colleges of agriculture and in 11 schools of education. It will be especially surprising to many to find that in 16 institutions the colleges of engineering have a similar connection with home economics through the service given with reference to home equipment and housing.

The service thus rendered to home economics runs all the way from meat-cutting demonstrations by the animal-husbandry department to lectures on prehistoric weaving by the department of archæology. In one institution the pharmacy department aids with lectures on household remedies. The more extended course work covers a wide range as is evident from the fact that 34 institutions list 167 courses other than those required for the first home economics degree as being offered by other departments to home economics students. All of these courses are closely related to scientific or social phases of the better established aspects of home economics instruction with the possible exception of 24 in music, art, and literature. Further adaptation of the work offered by other departments to home economics students will doubtless be required as the functions of home economics are clarified and as curriculum construction is determined more largely by objectives than by the necessity of utilizing existing materials. On the other hand, expansion of the service that home economics can render to other divisions of the institution depends upon the degree of success attained in efforts to establish new and more thoroughgoing analyses of relationships and combinations of home economics subjects.

Chapter III. -Staff

Considerable confusion in definition of home economics objectives and corresponding variety and unequal development of organization for the accomplishment of objectives are perfectly natural phases in the creation of a new medium of scientific and social education upon the college level. Neither organization nor objectives can be developed, however, except as appropriately trained staffs are employed. The character of the personnel engaged in home economics teaching must of necessity limit and in large part determine the standards and the purposes of home economics work in the colleges. Study of the home economics staff and its management should provide, therefore, an important measure of the progress made and should indicate whether home economics staff viewpoints, training, and management are comparable to the standards in other fields of higher education.

Such study has two phases—first, that which deals with the more or less personal attainments of staff members, and, second, that which deals with the management of personnel. Each of these aspects of staff consideration will be presented in some detail by this section of the survey report.

Personnel Information

A whole series of questions that pertain to the personal experience and training of any group arises when an attempt is made to estimate the competence of the personnel to perform the duties involved in any situation. The survey, therefore, attempted in two ways to secure information that would answer some of these questions. First, the institutions were asked to make summaries and statements with reference to the staffs of each major division. Secondly, a questionnaire was filled out by individual members of the staff. More than 12,000 members of the staffs of land-grant institutions returned this questionnaire. This portion of the home economics survey report is based upon both institutional and the individual reports.

The questions most frequently raised concerning the personal qualifications of the home economics staff that this section will attempt to answer include the following: Is instruction in home

868

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

economics being given by young, middle-aged, or older persons ? Have they had experience of marriage and in the actual conduct of a home under normal conditions? What education have they had and what teaching, administrative, or business experience? Do home economics personnel in land-grant colleges carry on research or other creative work? Are they interested in and do they associate themselves with the professional and scientific organizations in their fields? In other words, are the home economics staffs of the land-grant colleges live, competent, and energetic, or are they mediocre in ability, vigor, and interest in their work? Each of these questions will be discussed in the order given.

Age.-In any individual case the mere number of years that a person has lived is relatively insignificant as a basis for judging suitability for the job in hand. But youth or decrepitude is significant when either characterizes an entire group.

Approximately four-fifths of the 500 members of the home economics staff included in the institutional returns reported ages. The distribution shows 6 per cent under 25 years of age, 24 per cent 25 to 30 years

of
age,

46
per
cent 31 to 40 years

of
age,

20
per

cent 41 to 50 years of age, and 4 per cent 51 to 60 years of age. In other words 70 per cent of the home economics staff belong to the vigorous years from 25 to 40 and if to these be added the 20 per cent that are from 41 to 50 years of age, 90 per cent of the home economics staff clearly belong to the years that can with no degree of justice be described as either callow or decrepit. In so far as age is an indication the home economics staffs of landgrant colleges should show vigor and ability to adjust to new viewpoints and should be characterized by constructive interest rather than by the iconoclasm of youth or the standpattism of old age.

Experience. It does not seem necessary to attempt to account for this age distribution. The fact itself is of primary consideration and among the many factors that may determine it only one is of special interest or importance. Has any selective process associated with marriage and family life left in the home economics staffs an undue proportion of women who have passed the age of probable marriage and establishment of their own homes? If this is a corollary of the present age distribution the matter is extremely important for a field of education that centers about home and family relationships. Actual experience of these responsibilities should contribute a desirable element of training to home economics college teachers.

Data on this matter are relatively incomplete. But only 25 of 43 institutions report any married persons upon their staffs. Among 697 members of home economics staffs that reported individually 72 are married and 39 widowed or divorced. Thus 111, or 16 per cent,

111490°-30—VOL 1

a

57

have had the experience of matrimony. Of the married members of the staff 39 per cent have children. It is significant that among a group of more than 600 persons engaged in the direction of education that depends upon homemaking for its incentive, so small a number have had experience in the fundamental relationship of marriage. Living in a home as a daughter or sister involves such different relationships from those of wife and mother that the one can not be substituted for the other. It is desirable that institutional and State restrictions upon the employment of married women be removed wherever they exist and that an adjustment of home economies instruction especially be made in order that women actually responsible for their own homes may more easily be employed upon a part-time basis.

Training.-Although the effect of training is in many individual instances inadequately represented by the academic degrees obtained by members of a college staff, the fact remains that for a relatively large group in educational work the degrees held are, in many respects, the most valid basis for estimating the degree of scholarship represented. The home economics staff in the land-grant colleges is no exception. It is, therefore, of special interest that of 6974 individual records of the training of home economics staff members, only 30, or 4.7 per cent, have doctor's degrees. Inasmuch as the Ph. D. is the most commonly recognized badge of scholarship and of academic superiority, home economics and institutional administrations may well take measures to employ new members with the doctor's degree or to encourage study while in service which will enable present members of the home economics staff to obtain the Ph. D.

Experience of responsibility for a home, including both married women and those who have had such experience in some other relationship, is also very limited. Only about 35 per cent of the total

, report any such homemaking experience. Such experience should be valuable for understanding of the problems involved and as a balance to too theoretical teaching of subject matter to undergraduate students.

A very much larger proportion of the home economics staff has obtained the master's degree, 254 out of 697 cases reported, slightly over 39 per cent. This is encouraging although it is not special cause

. for pride on the part of a college subject matter division in view of the rapidity with which the master's degree is being required as a

1 Of 697 reports received from individual staff members, 553 were employed by their institutions full time: 4 from 75 to 99 per cent; 30 from 50 to 75 per cent; 6 less than 50 per cent of full time; and 104 did not furnish information concerning the per cent of time employed,

« PrejšnjaNaprej »