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schools of higher education have a certain relation to the high schools; and there is now required a regularly established and satisfactory course of study in the high schools, if their diplomas are to be accepted for entrance. A special four years' course of study has been laid out by the Michigan Mining School, and recommended for the high schools to follow if they wish their diplomas to be accepted. This course includes English literature, the French and German languages, physics, political economy, rhetoric, logic, zoology, botany, astronomy, trigonometry and various other studies, such as in the old days constituted much of the old fashioned college course outside of Latin and Greek. French and German are carried through the four years. Formerly, under a special certificate for admission to the Mining School, only the mathematics, physics and astronomy were demanded as preparatory to the professional studies, somthing the same as is similarly the case in a law or a medical school ; that is, there was required algebra through quadratic equations; arithmetic with the metric system ; geometry, plane, solid and spherical; physics ; elements of astronomy, and book-keeping. Book-keeping was required simply because in mining work the students ought to understand mine accounts.

At this time, if a student will satisfactorily pass an examination at the Mining School in the subjects named above, he will be admitted. The situation is peculiar; everywhere in the land, and particularly in a mining district, there are a great many young men who have gone into practical business when they were about fifteen or sixteen; later, when they have arrived at the age of eighteen or twenty, or twenty-five, they have a desire to obtain an education. The high school tells them, “You must come to us four years, then

you must go to some other institution three or four years to obtain your degree.” This is a virtual embargo on these young men. They often have great ability; they work hard and they make the best students. Therefore these men are informed that if they will come to the Michigan Mining School, after a two years' special course in the high school, and also after they are nineteen years of age, or else will come to the institution and pass its examination in the special subjects above named, they will be allowed to enter. No difficulties have thus far resulted to the Mining School from doing this. Experience has shown that graduates of the high school do just as well in the higher and harder work, and stand the wear and tear of an engineering professional training in the Mining School, as well as do the graduates of colleges and universities; oftentimes better, for the simple reason that the majority of the latter have been trained to memorize, and do not know how to reason. They have committed to memory Greek and Latin grammars and works of that kind, so that they have unfitted themselves to think over practical questions. The instruction given students at the Michigan Mining School incorporates a vast amount of practical work as an application of the principles taught.

PROFESSOR W. F. M. Goss said that if he understood the paper, it stated that the elective system would do three things: It would avoid the overcrowding of courses ; it would operate to cut out subjects which have no real value, if any such exist; and it would serve as means by which undesirable students may readily be sent away. Since these are all matters which under any system of courses are well within the control of the faculty, the real claim seems to be that the elective system will somehow protect the faculty against itself. He thought that the average faculty needed no such protection.

PROFESSOR WADSWORTH replied that the three things mentioned covered a part of the advantages, since experience shows that the average faculty fails to accomplish these objects with a required course.

PROFESSOR G. W. BISSELL seemed to think it not a fair statement that a student who enters a college and chooses one of the engineering courses, and who afterwards changes his course, loses four years' time. He had known instances in which a student entering in civil engineering had changed to electrical engineering after one year, without sacrificing very much of the first year's time or losing very much of the second year's time; the student need not throw away the whole four years if he enters in the ordinary way and then finds that he has made a mistake and changes to some other course. Then as to the elective system, or the elective feature of the system discussed by Professor Wadsworth, if the student were to enter any engineering college and elect, for instance, hydraulic engineering, he would follow out much the same course of study under the elective system at the Michigan School of Mines as he would under a prescribed system in any other engineering college of high standing, provided, of course, that the professors in both schools have the same ideas—and there would not probably be much difference—as to what constitutes a proper course of study in hydraulic engineering. It seemed


to be not very different from specializing, or taking a special engineering course in other institutions of the same grade.

PROFESSOR ALBERT KINGSBURY said that he could hardly see how this elective system could apply in the average college. Indeed, his understanding was that Professor Wadsworth does not think it will so apply.

PROFESSOR WADSWORTH replied that his position was that, while the elective system can be used in every college, the special course that had been arranged for the Mining School would not, as it then stood, apply to the average college ; he would always vary it with the special conditions of every institution.

PROFESSOR KINGSBURY thought that he could hardly make a beginning with an elective system in a college such as the one in which he is occupied. The elective system which has been discussed appears to be one in which the student is lead to suppose that he is doing the electing, while in fact the faculty is doing it, and the chief gain comes from a mere matter of policy in working upon the human nature of the students.

PROFESSOR WADSWORTH replied by asking if it is not always well to oil the machinery, in order to make it run more smoothly and with less friction.

PROFESSOR KINGSBURY further explained as his understanding of the system that, if the student is to take applied mechanics, the professor says to him, “You must have the subject of calculus,” and when he attempts to study the calculus he is told, “You must first know algebra,” and when he wishes to study algebra the professor says to him, “It is necessary for you to know something about arithmetic," and so on down; and when all of these are followed down in this inverse order and properly fixed, there is a fixed course of instruction; and when provision is made for giving the instruction in this course, there must be a fixed schedule; and by the time the fixed schedule is established, there is a fixed system just such as most colleges are following.

PROFESSOR WADSWORTH said that it seemed to him, from the discussion, that the trouble is that none of the gentlemen, or few of them at any rate, have ever used the elective system in engineering work, and consequently most of the criticisms do not apply to that system as it actually is. It should not be supposed that the speaker had no knowledge of a required system. In an experience of thirty-three years, during the chief portion of the time he had taught in a fixed system, and had used optional systems and required systems ad infinitum” almost, so that with most of the purposes of the required systems he is familiar. From actual experience he would say that the amount of time, labor, drudgery and other things that the elective system does save, is something that he is unable to find words adequate to express, so that his hearers will understand it without trying it. This saving is an actual fact, speaking from experience, and an experience of long years with the different systems. In certain schools he would advise keeping the required system, and he certainly would be governed always by the practical requirements of each special case. He would not, in the case of another college, introduce any new system until he knew that a change would be proper and beneficial to the institution. Most of

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