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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/177

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THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY.

sects colleges multiplied like churches in a village, supported, so far as they were supported, by religious zeal. Free education has been fostered by our states as never before, and where the field was clear, beginning with Michigan in 1837, state universities became the head of the public school system. Technological schools and departments—beginning with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1824—were founded in answer to the needs of a country requiring material development. Independent or quasi-independent schools of divinity, medicine and law gave the inadequate preparation that the pressing demand for clergymen, physicians and lawyers allowed. University work did not exist, and our B.A.'s swarmed to Germany, where ideals of research and creative scholarship had arisen, which took kindly to transplantation and an unexhausted soil. Certain native agencies, the Smithsonian Institution, the scientific academies, the geological surveys and the like, modestly furthered research and contributed to the university ideal.

In a general way the old Cambridge college, adjusting itself to the practical needs of a democratic and industrial country, adding the German faculty of philosophy, and gathering in the professional schools, has given us our American university. These three elements, represented by the bachelor's degree, the doctorate of philosophy and the professional degrees, are variously combined and developed in our different institutions; and this certainly gives great flexibility and possibilities to university development. The foundation of new universities—Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Stanford and Chicago—and the enlargement of the resources of private and state institutions have greatly favored progress and differentiation. We have no one kind of university, but many types, each seeking to work out its own salvation. Here surely is ground for hoping that we shall soon set educational models.

But twenty-five years is a short period, and it would be no cause for surprise if it has given us more problems than solutions. The college, originally for secondary education, but with higher education attached, is in a state of unstable equilibrium. The distinction between courses for culture, courses for higher specialized liberal training and courses fitting for the professions appears to have a historical explanation rather than a logical justification. Every student during all his course of education—namely, from the time he is born to the time he dies—should do the three things that are artificially separated in our universities. He must learn to do his share of the useful routine work of the world, he should aim to improve the methods of doing this work and he should have some acquaintance with the work of others.

The prolongation of infancy marks off the higher animals from the lower, and men from all others. If the sensori-motor arcs are