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materials, the strength of different kinds of materials, he had found that such results could not generally be relied upon, that the different individuals obtained different results. It is no doubt true, and must always be true, that a large portion of original research must be guided distinctly by the head of the department; that is, it must be planned, must be looked after, and every precaution must be taken to make sure that the results are accurate. As to the conclusions which are to be drawn from such work and which are of course important, he thought just as Professor Spangler did, that they should all be drawn with extreme caution. The investigations must be carried on by some one at the head of the department, with the students' help, and that help is only valuable after it has had considerable training.
FIELD PRACTICE AND FIELD EQUIPMENT.
By C. D. JAMESON, Professor of Civil Engineering, State University of Iowa, Iowa City.
The teaching of the practical details of any branch of engineering during a four years' course, is an impossibility in most of our engineering schools, and is not desirable in any.
These details of practice can only be properly taught by experts, and none of our schools have sufficient money to employ experts in each branch. Then again, if there was sufficient money, this detail practice could only be taught at the expense of some of the general principles, the lack of knowledge of which would be a much greater loss to the student than any gain he would get by the study of the details of practice. Another objection to the spending of much time upon the details of practice is that, in this age of continual change and progress, the chances are that long before a student will have opportunity to apply this so-called practical knowledge, the acquiring of which has occupied a large proportion of his four years' course, the details of practice will have entirely changed, and he finds himself not as well fitted for his work as the engineer who devoted the most of his four years to the study of the so-called theory of engineering. The only instruction in practice that the student should receive is such as will enable him to do the work he will be called upon to do during the first year or two following graduation. This work of course will in all probability, be of the most elementary character, but he should be able to do it in a rapid, thorough, and workmanlike manner. Not as one who requires instruction as to methods, but as one who is thoroughly master of the methods and details of practice; who has simply to have what work is required specified, and then, without any further instruction, be able to go ahead and do it. The student in engineering can only advance in his profession after graduation by constant work under men who are experts in their lines, and these experts are not going to give employment to young men who cannot make themselves useful and, to a certain extent, valuable to them from the start.
It is in every way desirable that the engineering student should go to work within a short time after graduation. The majority of engineering graduates are obliged to do this from financial reasons, as they have either earned money with which to pay their college expenses year by year, or else have borrowed it and are obliged to go to work in order to live and pay their debts. But whether the financial necessity exists or not, the student should go to work at once. He has acquired the habit of mental labor. The principles of his profession are fresh in his mind, and after a few month's rest, he is in better condition to commence his work than he will ever be again.
In order to commence work he must obtain a situation, and to do this and to hold it he must be able to render himself of value to his employer. The work that he will be called upon to do will be of the most elementary character, but he must be able to do it well and quickly. Quickness with accurazy are two things that each young engineer should strive for, and the practical training the student should receive in college is just that training which will enable him to do in a satisfactory manner this elementary work.
If proper attention is given to the the theory of engineering there will not be time for the study of more than, elementary practice, and for the study of this elementary practice time should be taken, as without it the student is handicapped one or two years.
The remaining pages of this paper will be confined to the field practice that should be given to the civil engineer.
First. As to the amount and character of the work.
Second. As to the methods of instruction that should be used.
Third. As to the equipment necessary for the proper giving of this instruction.
What follows is based upon this fundamental idea in regard to collegiate instruction in field practice, or the practical details of engineering, viz.: Owing to the fact that the standard course in civil engineering is only four years, the amount of time devoted to instruction in practical details, or field practice, should be just sufficient to enable the student, upon graduation, to do well the work he will, in all probability, be called upon to do during his first year or two of practice, and the remainder of the four years should be devoted, as far as technical instruction goes, to the principles and theory of engineering.
First. The character of the practice given should be such that the student should be a rapid, accurate draughtsman, thoroughly conversant with the standard methods of keeping notes of all kinds and be able to express clearly either his, or someone else's ideas upon paper in the shape of plans, elevations, and sections, in such a manner that they can be clearly understood, with a minimum of written explanation. . No time should be wasted upon fancy drawing or lettering but the student should be trained to accuracy, rapidity, neatness, and an ability to work out all his ideas on paper, with a certainty that if his drawings are accurately followed in the actual work the desired result will be attained.
It should be remembered that good draughting does not consist merely in a certain amount of manual dexterity with drawing tools, although this is necessary, but that good draughting consists in working out ideas accurately on paper; for instance, take the idea of a complicated machine—the draughtsman should be able to make plans for each separate piece of mechanism, and so develop the whole machine on paper that he can know before the machine is built exactly how it will work, and what it will do. His plans, elevations and detailed drawings should give him just as comprehensive an idea of the future machine as he could get from the actual machine when constructed. To