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the objections which had been here made, apply to an imaginary something, different from a true elective system. He would be glad to send to any one the catalogue of the Michigan Mining School, as it will show, as near as a catalogue can, how the elective system has been arranged there.
PROFESSOR Goss said that he should regret to have it inferred from his previous remarks that he questioned the value of the work done in the institution with which Professor Wadsworth is connected. He could readily believe that Professor Wadsworth's plan might give good results, and desired simply to question whether the reforms which are stated to be the result of an adoption of the elective system could not have been brought about in some other way. If so, he thought that the success of the reforms should not be used as an argument to sustain the elective system.
PROFESSOR W. K. HATT found that his impression was not clear relative to one thing. The author said that when the student found out the incompetence of the instructor he would leave him and go to another class. The speaker wished to inquire if the student was permitted to control the character of his instruction, and, if so, on what features the student based his judgment.
PROFESSOR WADSWORTH replied that he hardly intended to convey that idea. It was stated that the elective system would show up the incompetence of the instructor, because the teacher in Mining Engineering or in any advanced subject would require that the students should have had proper instruction in calculus, analytic mechanics, mechanism, etc. If students came to that professor prepared properly, it would then be discovered that they were well taught; if improperly instructed, this would also be known as quickly; since, if any professor is to do his work rightly, the students must be thoroughly taught in the required preparatory subjects when they come to him. In other words, every professor naturally insists that the preparatory work for his classes shall be done as it should be, since stopping a student in one subject does not cost him a year's time, as it often does in the required systems. He must insist on this or it is fatal to his instruction. It is in part this necessary building up from the foundation in this way that makes the elective system's success.
The students themselves are enthusiastic over their studies, and they do not wish to be under a teacher who does not do good work.
Further, it has resulted in a decided elevation of the moral tone. It has an excellent effect where there is an incompetent professor, or one who is exceedingly unpopular, or one who does not handle matters in the right manner. Instead of a class rebellion, or perhaps a petition presented to the faculty or board, accompanied with a statement that the students will leave the school, etc., the result is simply a resolve on the part of the students not to take the subjects that professor has the next year. It culminates not in a rebellion, but in the idea “I will not take that subject next year. I will go more into the civil engineering line, or the metallurgical line, or into some other subject that will enable me to avoid the obnoxious teacher.” This attitude quickly shows itself and the trouble is readily diagnosed. The teacher is told by a live president what the trouble is, and he is obliged to do his work properly or leave the institution.
PROFESSOR Bull inquired if those professors who offer "snaps," as they call them, become popular at once and attract the most students?
PROFESSOR WADSWORTH replied that they do not become popular in engineering colleges, but they do attract students to lectures in literary colleges, where there are usually numerous subjects that require no advanced preparation. The question of the literary education of a student is entirely different from the question of his professional education.
The professional student in most cases knows that, unless his work is done well, he will not be a competent man in his profession after graduating. In the case of a literary college many of the students desire only athletics and to obtain a polish, consequently they elect anything that will give them their polish and degree. Further, in a literary college there is usually a much larger range of studies from which students can choose.
PROFESSOR M. T. MAGRUDER wished to ask Professor Wadsworth if his students are not very much older than the average student of the technical colleges ?
PROFESSOR WADSWORTH said that the average age this year
in former years it had sometimes been greater, sometimes less. Certain conditions in the Mining School may have raised it compared with most other colleges, notably the special students, since there have been some who were 56 years of age.
PROFESSOR KINGSBURY asked if he understood correctly that this system had been in use only one year at the Michigan Mining School?
is 23 years;
PROFESSOR WADSWORTH replied that this was all.
PROFESSOR KINGSBURY said that he would be much pleased to hear at the next meeting how it works, and for several years following.
ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR ENGINEERING
REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
To the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Edu
cation : Your Committee on Entrance Requirements herewith presents the following report :
It has endeavored to fill the gaps existing at the time of the report made at the last meeting, and has succeeded in obtaining 98 responses to the questions of the college circular, out of the total number of 110 colleges that are included within this report. It has also received about 250 replies to the circular sent to preparatory schools. This has taken considerable persistent effort on the part of the committee, some of the reports having been received only within the last month. But it feels satisfied that such a mass of valuable matter and expression of authoritative opinion regarding the questions under investigation by the committee has not heretofore been gathered. The committee desires to express its appreciation of the way in which its correspondents have responded to its requests, notwithstanding the natural reluctance which many feel in expressing themselves, or the schools or colleges which they represent, on these important subjects.
The material thus gathered has been carefully analyzed and studied with the view of first ascertaining the facts in regard to existing conditions, and second, gaining as clear an insight as possible into the spirit
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