Ld3668m31969 00224


A New Day for Industrial Education

The growth of industrial education, which at last had become a genuine
concern of the "people's colleges," had to be onsidered as the natural consquence
of the land-grant university movement, said Chancellor Andrews in December,
1906. If engineering constituted an element within industrial education, as he
maintained, then unquestionably the University of Nebraska was in step with
the new trend: 38 per cent of the male freshmen enrolled in engineering in 1906.
For weal or woe, Andrews said, professional and industrial education had as
sumed an important place in university curricula; and while he was enough of a
traditionalist that perhaps he thought the emphasis on engineering might be
subverting the true intention of higher education, the Chancellor was enough
of a pragmatist to see its practical importance. But there remained the question
of whether the University could afford the expanded facilities and expensive
equipment required by the engineering departments. Thus, although an engi
neering college was first suggested by the regents in 1902, it was not established
until 1909, and the engineering courses continued to be given in the Industrial

The Engineering Department

Since the Industrial College's greatest problem was lack of staff and facilities,
Dean Bessey prescribed fairly rigid course requirements in the more technical
subjects.1 "Students who want a particular training do not object to having their
studies carefully laid out for them in definite and rigid curricula," he said.
Moreover, an inflexible arrangement of courses enabled the college to make
the most of its limited resources, and it also permitted Bessey to draw up engineer
ing and technical programs based upon liberal and scientific training. Apparently
at first there was some antipathy to this approach among members of the
engineering faculty; at least this is suggested by the regents in their 1909 report,
which speaks of a "growing feeling among engineers that the profession demands
men of broader training than that afforded by technical studies alone." In any
case, the engineering courses flourished, and by the first decade of the twentieth
century the work in electrical, civil, and mechanical engineering had attracted
favorable attention. Indeed, a new industry which appeared in Lincoln in 1903

1 While there were few or no electives in the more technical subjects, the students were allowed 30 per cent of electives in the general courses during the second and third years and up to 60 per cent of electives in the fourth year.


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