Page images

gressive and public-spirited institutions have co-operated with well-trained, earnest lecturers and their classes of eager students. Generous and whole-souled citizens, men and women, have hitherto sustained the American society by voluntary subscriptions. Its various series of useful and readable publications, especially The Citizen and The University extension magazine, have united to promote the extension movement, which has accomplished noble, patriotic and helpful service in Philadelphia and throughout the middle and eastern states, where it will doubtless endure in many grateful and permanent ways.

Representatives of the American society justly maintain that there is a decided advantage in the contact of the speaker with the people whom he is teaching. “The living teacher is the center of inspiration. He gives them the best fruit of wide reading and systematic study; he not only can tell them what to read, but he can rouse an interest by his personal conviction and enthusiasm, and he gives an opportunity after each lecture for the discussion of any questions that arise ; he examines the essays that are written, and guides the class study of those who do work between the lectures. Compared with fixed plants for doing the same sort of thing, university extension is more flexible, and has the advantage of mobility. It carries the teacher as well as the teaching to the people. The lecturer goes where he is needed, and uses any hall or room which will accommodate an audience."

According to the report published in the extension bulletin of the University of the State of New York, June, 1899, the American society last season gave lecture courses in 14 different places in Philadelphia, and in 29 different towns throughout Pennsylvania and adjoining states.

The University of Chicago was opened in October, 1892, and early made the university extension' division one of the

Dr. William F. Poole was one of the fathers of the original Chicago society for university extension, and the Newberry library was one of its first centers. See article by Dr. Poole in The Dial, September 1, 1892.

main branches of educational effort. Like Philadelphia, Chicago enjoyed the hearty co-operation of all friends and promoters of the extension movement. The writer was present in Washington, D. C., when one of the most experienced English extension lecturers, Prof. R. G. Moulton, was engaged by President Harper for pioneer work in the west. In the personality of President Harper Chicago has been singularly fortunate. He inherited the administrative training of a professor, schooled at Yale university, Chautauqua and other summer schools, also in the American institute of sacred literature. All of these institutions are democratic in their work and methods, national in their scope. Dr. William R. Harper, a man from out of the west, educated in the east, patriotic in sentiment, fervent in spirit, serving in his generation “the god of things as they are,” and expressing the higher criticism with prudent reservation and helpful suggestions, has been the maker of the University of Chicago, which was founded and is upheld by the lavish gifts of John D. Rockefeller. The University of Chicago is liberal in spirit and municipal in name. Its founder and trustees were wise enough not to burden an institution of learning with one man's name. Cities and states are now lending themselves anew to municipal and state univer sities for baptismal and other public purposes, as cities and states have done for the local and national identification of the church in all ages of the world.

President Harper and his trustees early attracted to Chi. cago eminent professors from other institutions east and west, together with many home-wandering scholars from Europe. At least two experienced directors of university extension work were called to Chicago from Philadelphia. The present head of the extension movement, which may be truthfully and tersely characterized as academic expansion, is the eminent economist, Professor E. J. James, founder of the American academy of political and social science.

Results of Chicago extension — In no small degree, by the aid of university extension, with its superior pedagogical


methods and its marked adaptations to local needs, has Dr. Harper, of Chicago, built up his academic resources and a great federal university. Educational extension, lecture studies, correspondence courses, affiliation and coeducation, have made John D. Rockefeller's institution well known to Chicago people, and also to the towns, schools, colleges, libraries and churches round about. Under Dr. Harper's extension policy the University of Chicago is now surely developing a vast academic and national alliance, which will perhaps yet reach Washington, D. C., and include the Columbian university.

All non-resident work connected with the University of Chicago is conducted through the extension division, which provides for different methods : (1) Lecture study courses ; (2) correspondence courses ; (3) study clubs, and (4) evening and Saturday classes for Chicago and vicinity. In the lecture study courses the university co-operates with existing literary organizations. During the year closing June 30, 1898, 141 such courses, each of six lecture studies, were given in 92 different centers, with an aggregate attendance of 30,315. To these different organizations or communities the university sent out small traveling libraries containing in all 3,562 books, which have been kept in constant local use. Local librarians recognize the beneficial influence of these traveling libraries in connection with lecture studies, and co-operate with the university in every possible way.

Benefit to the city — The University of Chicago also co-operates with the board of education, and has given in the city itself 17 courses of lectures in 13 different public school buildings. Of the total number, 10 were systematic university extension lecture studies, and the rest were arranged, as far as possible, in educational sections. 55 lectures were illustrated by the stereopticon.

The extension staff of the University of Chicago has been utilized by Professor E. J. James for the purpose of teaching public school teachers. Representative branches of knowledge, history, economics, political and matured science, have



been taught as illustrating superior educational methods, and a teachers' college, at last accounts, had begun to develop in connection with the university.

Through university influences the board of education in Chicago lifted the famous Cook county normal school, with the experienced Col. F. W. Parker at its head, into the still more honorable position of the Chicago normal school. In order to raise the educational profession entirely above politics Mrs. Emmons Blaine endowed a school of pedagogy in Chicago and called to it from the Chicago normal school Col. Parker, who chose 17 well-trained teachers, who have been given a year's leave of absence for special study and preparation in Europe and elsewhere, for their new and responsible work. The avowed purpose of the new school of pedagogy is by institutional means to develop teachers who shall bring the public schools of Chicago to such excellence that private schools shall no longer be necessary.

Influence upon the country – The influence of the University of Chicago upon the whole country, east and west, is beyond present estimate. We are living in the era of federations. Colleges and universities in this country as well as in Canada and England, are coming into academic affiliation. In Chicago and New York great libraries are combining or associating together. Colleges and universities themselves in America must ultimately follow the federal trend of Anglo-American institutional development.

At the present time our American universities, particularly the state institutions and the church colleges, have their acknowledged spheres of influence. No one institution can swallow all its neighbors or establish a great academic trust. Historic colleges and universities will doubtless continue to live and let live in some capacity; but Chicago university has extended its power far beyond state lines, and the end is not yet.

Educational extension has a great future in the United States in connection with live colleges and state universities, people's institutes, public libraries, public schools, traveling libraries, traveling museums and traveling pictures. Lately a specimen French musée scolaire was brought to Brooklyn, where it has attracted great public attention. Like the earlier Scotch and English traveling libraries, the school museum has also come to stay and it will doubtless soon appear in our public schools and town museums. Already for years the national museum in Washington, D. C., has been distributing to local institutions of science and learning its surplus geological and ethnological specimens. The various tendencies in educational extension, local, state and federal, will undoubtedly merge in a broader current than any one university can possibly represent. Nothing will suffice, short of a national university, coextensive with the nation, like the University of France or its historic prototype the University of the State of New York.

Smithsonian institution – Of all distributing centers of historical and scientific knowledge in America, there is nothing comparable to the Smithsonian institution, that Washington clearing house of the publications of the American historical association and of the literary and scientific work of all our productive colleges, universities and learned academies. Nor is there any institution in the United States which can begin to accomplish so much for the educational and social betterment of the entire American people than do already the various national agencies in the federal city at Washington, beginning with congress and continuing through the departments of labor and agriculture, and all the social and educational ramifications of the United States government in its relations with the country at large.

Authorities — The best account published on “the extension of university teaching in England and America" is by James E. Russell, Ph. D., published by the University of the State of New York in 1895, and shown herewith. Dr. Russell well says: “New York takes pride in the fact that the first five significant steps in extension history in America were all in the empire state, viz. : The library meeting at the Thousand Islands, the work at Buffalo, Chautauqua, Brook

« PreviousContinue »