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est purpose and diligent application who, for any reasons beyond their control, may not be able to follow the course of study laid down. The sympathies of the conscientious teacher are strongly drawn to these students; and he, of all builders, does not wish to refuse any stone which may become the “head stone of the corner."

A second plan is that of so arranging the course of instruction as to include a comparatively small number of subjects, giving the students more thorough training in those subjects and leaving for supplementary study at a larger college such subjects as may be studied there to better advantage. The beneficial results to be expected from such a plan would be, first, the thoroughness of training of all the students, and second, the specially good preparation for post-graduate study at a larger college.

The writer believes this second plan to be one not generally practicable and beneficial. In any case in which it might be adopted there would still remain the great differences in ability and preparation of students necessarily in the same classes, unless a high standard of scholarship were required. The students taking post-graduate work would probably be benefited by the plan, but this would be outweighed by disadvantages to the students not taking a course after graduation. It is well established that the most that a college can hope to do is to give its students a good foundation for future development. The writer believes that in the average engineering college that end is best attained by touching all the subjects of chief interest in the professional work anticipated, even though the time devoted to each be undesirably short, as indeed it is, even in our most advanced institutions. The abstract aim of education can not be said to be best attained by teaching any particular subject in any special proportion. The development of mental power and the formation of habits of study do not depend very closely upon the curriculum, but with most students the probability of good development after leaving college does largely depend upon the curriculum. The foundation training should at least ensure the erection of a fairly good superstructure. A slight knowledge of a subject is vastly more likely to lead to farther study of it than is no knowledge at all. It is the unknown which is uninteresting and vice versa.

If one knows no letters of the Greek alphabet he is not likely to trace out Greek roots in the English dictionary. The cases are rare in which a student takes up a new study after graduation. If he study at all it is most probably in extension of some subject previously begun in his college work. If he leave college with no laboratory practice and no knowledge of design, though well drilled in applied mechanics, he is not in the best way prepared for development as an engineer. The college course at best is but the skeleton for which the later experience of the engineer furnishes the living, working forces; and it is better that the skeleton be complete, though not of great strength, than that it should be strong while lacking the right arm.

The small college is right in offering a course in engineering, including all the subjects regarded as vital in such a course, even though the facilities for instruction be less than sufficient. If any general improvement is possible in the work and results it is to be sought in a different direction from either of those already mentioned. Many of the young men entering these colleges may much better be educated through the hand than otherwise, and a suitable course should be offered to them whenever the extension is possible. The college exists not only for the purpose of training students into habits of efficient study, but also for giving them as much experience as possible within the available time. Only the student of the highest mental ability can make the experience of others thoroughly his own—the experience of others as placed before him in the text-book and the lecture room. The less acute mind is more readily trained through its own experience. The functions of the engineer are the highest in all industrial activity. Only a small proportion of men can become well fitted to exercise such functions.

A course of study leading to even an initial degree of fitness for engineering work cannot be made such as to be successfully followed by the average student. Such a course is essentially mathematical. The average student acquires some familiarity with higher mathematics only by strenuous effort, in which the real end is lost to sight. In the effort to acquire the tool he does not learn its applicability. The education of a fair share of our students could be better accomplished by courses less advanced than the existing ones, involving less of the higher mathematics, and more education through the hand in the shop and the drawing-room and the laboratory. Such a course


need not be less thoroughly educative than a higher course in engineering, nor would it require less effort on the part of the student than the average college course. Its graduates might be expected to develop into highly skilled mechanics, draftsmen or supervisors of skilled labor more frequently than into creating and controlling engineers. Such courses have already been established in various colleges, but their full value and importance is not yet generally recognized. Their intrinsic value would, in many cases, be enhanced by the greater freedom they would leave to the regular engineering courses. The installation of such courses, in addition to the higher courses in engineering, would, in most small colleges, require some additions to the corps of instructors and to the material equipment; a requirement which, in many cases, would be difficult to meet.


BY CHARLES H. BENJAMIN, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Case School of Applied Science, Cleve

land, Ohio. The thought has frequently occurred to the writer that more would be gained by original investigation if there were more unity of action among engineering colleges. The investigator, in conducting a series of experiments, is hampered by a lack of knowledge of what has already been done, and in fact is uncertain as to whether he is not going over ground already trodden by some other explorer.

The transactions of the various engineering societies and the bulletins issued by some of the larger colleges are great helps, but it is undoubtedly true that the great bulk of what is being done does not find its way into print in a way to benefit the general worker.

With no general system of collaboration, experiments are all the time being duplicated, and while this is not always an evil, it is a waste of time when there is no way of comparing results. There is also such a lack of harmony in the methods of attacking problems in the various engineering laboratories that it is usually difficult to make comparisons at all.

The small colleges and technical schools are perhaps more affected by this lack of system than the larger institutions, since they do not publish results to so large an extent. Still, experiments made at a small college with limited equipment may be as valuable as those made at the larger laboratories. The field for

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