Modern American Universities
[00:08.95]Before the 1850s, the United States
[00:18.62]had a number of small colleges,
[00:20.22]most of them dating from colonial days.
[00:23.17]They were small, church connected institutions
[00:26.45]whose primary concern was to shape
[00:29.29] the moral character of their students.
[00:30.61]Meanwhile, throughout Europe,
[00:33.23]institutions of higher learning had developed.
[00:35.65]In German university was concerned primarily with creating
[00:40.02]and spreading knowledge, not morals.
[00:42.65]Between mid-century and the end of the 1800s,
[00:46.36]more than nine thousand young Americans,
[00:48.77]dissatisfied with their training at home,
[00:51.17]went to Germany for advanced study.
[00:53.58]Some of them return to become presidents of venerable colleges
[00:58.17]Harvard, Yale, Columbia
[01:01.94] and transform them into modern universities.
[01:03.86]The new presidents broke all ties with the churches
[01:07.03]and brought in a new kind of faculty.
[01:09.44]Professors were hired for their knowledge of a subject,
[01:12.83]not because they were of the proper faith
[01:15.12]and had a strong arm for disciplining students.
[01:17.86]Drilling and memorizing were replaced
[01:20.53] by the German method of lecturing,
[01:21.91]in which the professors own research
[01:24.48]was presented in class.
[01:25.19]With the establishment of the seminar system,
[01:28.14]graduate student learned to question,
[01:31.22] analyze, and conduct their own research.
[01:33.60]At the same time,
[01:34.51]the new university greatly expanded
[01:37.55]in size and course offerings,
[01:38.75]breaking completely out of the old,
[01:40.83]constricted curriculum of mathematics,
[01:44.00] classics, rhetoric, and music.
[01:45.64]The president of Harvard pioneered the selective system,
[01:49.03]by which students were able to choose their own course of study.
[01:52.54]The notion of major fields of study emerged.
[01:55.60]The new goal was to make the university
[01:59.23]relevant to the real pursuits of the world.
[02:00.85]Paying close attention to the practical needs of society,
[02:04.45]the new universities trained men and women to work at its tasks,
[02:08.94]with engineering students being
[02:11.14]the most characteristic of the new system.
[02:12.84]Students were also trained as economists, architects,
[02:16.37]agriculturalists, social welfare workers, and teachers.
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