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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/518

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

any of our present costly appliances. It is vain to attempt to picture the marvels of the future. Progress, as Dean Swift observed, may be too fast for endurance. Sufficient for this generation are the wonders thereof.—Nature.

 

THE NATIONALIZATION OF UNIVERSITY EXTENSION.
By Prof. C. HANFORD HENDERSON.

I HAVE read with attention the editorial comment on university extension, published in the November number of this magazine, and I am glad to see the subject given so much prominence. The movement has still much of the plasticity of youth, and any discussion regarding its proper ends and aims, or of the means by which these are to be gained, can never be more helpful than now. The present opportunity, it seems to me, is a very large one, and we need the fullest and most impersonal play of thought upon all questions connected with the extension scheme. It is with this feeling in mind that I welcome most heartily the editorial dissent from the proposition to make the work a national activity. The proposition is assuredly a grave one, not only as regards university extension, but even more because it involves a distinct principle of governmental policy, which is either to be courted or to be shunned.

If I may ask for a little further space, I should like to add a word concerning this proposition, which, it is needless to say, was not lightly made. And I should like to speak again, not so much in defense of the proposition—for one must not, in such an inquiry, allow one's self the attitude of an advocate—as to point out that there is another way of looking at national co-operation with university extension than as a subsidy for the movement. And I am the more ready to speak, because it seems to me that perhaps the editorial dissent is not so much against the proposition actually made in the article under discussion, as against a proposition which might have been made, and was not, but which presented itself to the mind of the critic as he read.

It is objected that university extension must depend for its success upon individual zeal and public spirit—to which, of course, I fully agree—and that government aid would defeat this purpose. But such a result is by no means necessary. It would depend entirely upon the way in which the aid was given. At present, university extension centers are established quite by private action, and the societies for the extension of university teaching simply co-operate with the local center in providing lecturers, issuing syllabi, and the like. The local center, be it remembered, meets