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course for the same reason. Other things being equal, the civil or mechanical graduate will beat him on his own ground, while he is not nearly so well qualified to compete with them on theirs.
“So at least it appears to us. In this and all other matters we speak with reservation and subject to correction. In this and all other questions connected with schools and colleges there is plenty of room for legitimate difference of opinion.”
The journal's reasoning is well summed up in the following extracts:
1. “There is and has been for the past twenty years at least a vast and rapidly expanding field for the employment of engineers in mining work. ...
2. “Schools of mining engineering were among the earliest established. They antedated considerably all the schools for mechanical engineering and were not very far behind the schools for civil engineering."
3. “Notwithstanding these two facts the demand for the education offered at schools of mining engineering has of late been steadily falling off, not at one school but at many schools; not for one year but for many years.
“There is no escaping from these three facts. This being so the inference appears to us to be a perfectly natural and proper one that a persistently diminishing supply could not coexist with a persistently increasing demand unless the article of mining engineer supplied was in some way unsuited to the demand.”
Despite a vigorous and spirited defence of the mining curriculum and, in general, the mining school, by Professor H. S. Munroe, it is easy to suppose that the disinterested reader must have concluded that the journal had made out, to say the least, a very good case, and that he must have looked to see the American mining schools go into speedy decline which would soon terminate in death.
At the meeting of section E of the World's Engineering Congress of 1893, the papers presented to which form Volume I. of the proceedings of this Society, Professor S. B. Christy, of the University of California, in a very interesting paper, took the position that the demand for mining graduates, always smaller than that for graduates in other engineering lines, bore and would continue to bear a fairly constant relation to the value of the mining output and the number of persons employed in mining pursuits and, further, that the output of the mining schools was not in unreasonable proportion to the number of men who could be used. To meet the conditions then existing the proposition was made that it would be well to limit the number of schools of mining engineering to the half dozen strongest and best endowed, while the other schools of mining, to the number of perhaps a dozen, might give an elementary course of instruction, both in fundamental and technical subjects, designed to train mine foremen and prepare the better students to enter the advanced mining engineering schools. Evidently a dozen years ago there was room for doubt in many minds of the ultimate success of technical training when especially aimed to fit men to enter the mining field. It will be interesting to look briefly at what the years have brought forth and to enquire how well events have
justified the hopes or fears, the doubt or the faith, of those who were then discussing the question.
For this purpose the writer has chosen to carry forward some of the comparisons made in Professor Christy's paper, where the yearly output of the mining schools in graduates is compared with various other quantities, each indicating something of the condition and growth of the mining interest. Instead of attempting to include complete data for all of the mining schools of the country, the figures for only six of the largest have been used. The choice of this number has no reference whatever to the proposition in the paper above cited but these schools were selected because the data for them happened to be complete and very easily accessible. They are, however, well established schools, all working under fairly settled conditions and it is thought that they exhibit what are the real tendencies in mining engineering training and its relation to the conditions in the field.
It is well known that general industrial conditions are quickly reflected in the numbers of students registered in courses of engineering. In no course is this more so than in mining, both as to extent of effect and the promptness with which it is felt. Hence, to make a more instructive comparison, it has seemed desirable to take account of the enrollment year by year in these mining schools as well as the numbers sent out as graduates. Therefore the following table has been constructed, exhibiting the aggregate yearly enrollment and the aggregate number of graduates each year at the six schools. While the period really under consideration begins with 1892 the table is carried back to 1890 to enable those who care for it to get the relation to the data of the articles mentioned at the outset. At
'89-'90 '90-'91 '91-'92 '92-'93 '93-'94 '94-'95 '95-'96 '96-'97
Students........ 603 630 733 839
1094 1200 Graduates.....
78 80 117 129 119 149 175 that time the enrollment and output were at a low ebb.
The data are better exhibited graphically as in the
accompanying diagram, in which the ordinates of the heavy curve represent the yearly output of graduates, while those of the curve in dashes represent the enrollment for like years. The scales are such that in the years where the curves coincide, one tenth of the students enrolled were graduated.
In view of Professor Christy's suggestion of an enrollment of about one thousand students in his six schools with a yearly graduating class of two hundred, it is interesting to note that the schools here considered with an enrollment for the year 1902–3 of 1,094, graduated 149 men, while from an average enrollment of 1,015 for the last four years, the average output is 143. Considering all of the circumstances, the correspondence is close.
An inspection of the data reveals the fact that the ratio of graduates to enrollment is increasing. The average for the first six years of the period considered is twelve men out of one hundred, while for the last six it is fourteen and one fifth men out of one hundred. It should be further noted that on an increasing enrollment, this ratio will be too small to truly indicate results, while on a decreasing enrollment the opposite will hold. The correct ratio on which to base deductions is that between the graduates from any class and the numbers registered as members of that class. Manifestly these data would be quite difficult to obtain. The ratio here derived will, it seems, safely serve to indicate the tendency for a greater proportion of students to finish the course and obtain the degree.
This greater proportion might be accounted for in several ways, but the writer is of the opinion that it is