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without making mistakes considered himself superior to nine out of ten of the professors of civil engineering. That he was entirely wrong, goes without saying.
It is true that there has been a tendency among literary colleges, universities and even some technical colleges, to engage cheap men to fill engineering chairs. Such action, of course, must keep down the general status of the speciality, but time and experience will assuredly correct this error. The average professor of civil engineering is generally insufficiently paid, and that fact alone militates greatly against the high standing which professors of civil engineering ought to take in the community. Compared with those in other branches of the profession, teachers of civil engineering are paid but little more than half of what they ought to receive. This is probably because the professor's work is to a large extent a labor of love. Of course, one cannot object to such devotion to the interests of truth and investigation; nevertheless, “The laborer is worthy of his hire," and the engineering teacher will never be fully appreciated until he is properly paid.
Some ten years ago, there was published in Engineering News a paper by the present writer entitled “Civil Engineering Education,” in which was outlined what was considered to be an ideal course in civil engineering. It has been a matter of great satisfaction to note from time to time that the developments in teaching civil engineering have been directly in the line thus indicated. The writer has for some time thought of suggesting to the Program Committee of this Society a condensation of this old paper and making of it a new one to present to the Society for further discussion, together with a few ideas picked up in the last ten years of an active practice. His ideas of what a course in civil engineering should be are briefly as follows:
First. No really thorough course in civil engineering can be given in less than five years.
Second. Every student, before admission, should have had a thorough course in non-technical subjects, the broader the better. More especially should he be well drilled in his own language and literature, for the reason that in a technical course but little time is given to anything outside of the regular routine of mathematics and technics.
Third. The technical course ought to include a great many branches allied directly and indirectly with civil engineering, such as electrical, mechanical and mining engineering; i. e., the course should give the rudiments at least of all these subjects; and, in addition to these, such studies as Geology, Chemistry, Physics, Lithology, Mineralogy, etc., should be taught at least in an elementary manner, and in such a way that the student will really know something about them when he gets through with the course.
Fourth. The amount of work in the so-called theoretical courses, such as pure mathematics, rational mechanics, descriptive geometry, etc., should be increased rather than diminished, as compared with the courses given in the best technical schools of this country.
Fifth. Graphics in all its branches should be taught much more thoroughly than is done in America ; although perhaps not so much time should be devoted to it as is customary in European technical schools. If the student be taught to reason graphically, he will in his practice be enabled to eliminate a large amount of drudgery from his computations.
Sixth. Every student at the beginning of the course ought to be made proficient in the use of the slide rule.
Seventh. All purely technical courses should be made much more extensive than they are ordinarily given, and in each course each student should be required to make a complete design, with an estimate of cost, for some structure or construction, and said design should be made under the eyes of the instructor. There is a great deal of humbug in graduating theses. Quite often a student goes up to his final examination with a thesis prepared by somebody else. A single thesis in a four or five years' course is not enough, for there should be a thesis in each branch of practical engineering work, including, when practicable, surveys and other field work.
Eighth. Classes in engineering should not be too large. In the writer's opinion, an instructor cannot teach properly more than twenty men at a time, and a much smaller number would be better. This is because, to give the student the full benefit of the course, the
professor should take a personal interest in all that he does, and should be his friend, rather than, as the student too often supposes, his enemy, whose sole object is to condition him and drop him out of the course.
Concerning these two methods of teaching, the writer can speak from experience, for he has tried both. At the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he both studied and taught, the course used to be made unnecessarily severe, graduation from that institution being an extreme example of the “survival of the fittest.” In the writer's class only twenty-four men out of sixty-six graduated, and in the class before that only eleven graduated out of the same number. Surely the dropping of five students out of every six indicated unnecessary severity. Of course such a method of instruction makes a great reputation for the institution, but it does not do the best possible thing for the student, who is paying a good price for his technical education. Many a good man who has been dropped from Rensselaer could, with a little help and encouragement from his professors, have taken his diploma and done credit later to his Alma Mater. In making such statements as these, there is no purpose of suggesting the lowering of the standard for graduation. On the contrary, it should be higher than ever, but instead of throwing unnecessary obstacles in the way of the student, he should be aided in every legitimate way to get through his course creditably to himself and to the institution. Again referring to the course at Rensselaer, it should be understood that it is referred to as it was some twenty years ago and not as it is to-day.
And now a few words upon the subject which was suggested, viz: “Engineering Education in Japan.”
Early in 1882 the writer was appointed to the Chair of Civil Engineering in the Imperial University of Tokyo, and started work in September of that year. The subjects in the department were those pertaining to civil engineering proper; that is, all allied subjects were taught by the other professors, including pure mathematics and rational mechanics. This special department covered everything of a practical nature, such as surveying in all its branches, railroading, hydraulics, including waterworks, harbors, rivers and canals, hydraulic motors, arches, resistance of materials, roofs, bridges, including both substructure and superstructure, and sanitary engineering.
At the outset a trial was made of the old Rensselaer tactics, subjecting each student to a rigid examination every day, but it was soon found that this was unnecessary, and gradually the methods were changed until after a while there was no trace left of the old ones. Eventually the courses were given by laying out at the beginning of each course a certain amount of reading to be done in a given time, and letting the students set for themselves each day the amount of ground they desired to cover. At the hour for recitation the professor met the students and acted in reality as consulting engineer for the class, answering questions and asking others in such a way as to bring out all the more subtle points of the subject. In this way about three times as much ground was covered in a given time as used to be the case at Rensselaer.
Some one may remark that the course could not have been so thoroughly given, and that the students could not possibly remember as much as they would have remembered had the course been shorter and the drill more thorough. In reply to such an observation it should be stated that no reviews were ever given, and that the examinations covered the entire ground of the course without any set topics. The students