Modern American Universities
colonial ays. They were small, church connected institutions whose primary concern was to shape the moral character of their students.
university. In German university was concerned primarily with creating and spreading knowledge,
not morals. Between mid-century and the end of the
Drilling and learning by rote were replaced by the German method of lecturing, in which the professor’s own research was presented in class. Graduate training leading to the Ph.D., an ancient
German degree signifying the highest level of advanced scholarly attainment, was introduced.
With the establishment of the seminar system, graduate student learned to question, analyze, and conduct their own research.
At the same time, the new university greatly expanded in size and course offerings, breaking completely out of the old, constricted curriculum of mathematics, classics, rhetoric, and music.
The president of Harvard pioneered the elective system, by which students were able to choose their own course of study. The notion of major fields of study emerged. The new goal was to make the university relevant to the real pursuits of the world. Paying close heed to the practical needs of society, the new universities trained men and women to work at its tasks, with engineering students being the most characteristic of the new regime. Students were also trained as economists, architects, agriculturalists, social welfare workers, and teachers.
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