The Dean's Corner

Preparation for an Engineering Discipline

by Dean O. J. Ferguson

In these days everybody who is in any wise connected with either the processes or the products of education is giving considerable thought to these problems. A multitude of unanswered or partly answered questions exists in comparison with a very few fully answered queries. They relate to the exclusion of less promising high school students from entrance to the university; a study of student aptitudes and vocational guidance; instruction in how to study; teaching personnel; opportunities in various fields, and so on ad infinitum. It is well worth while, therefore, to spend a moment looking at the bed-rock which someone has cleared, upon which we may hope to build.
Dr. George Fillmore Swain, of Harvard University, tells very clearly what the four years of college training should be to a young man. I can do no better than to quote him.
"The young man from a technical school should have passed through four years of disciplineó mental, moral, and physical. His physical discipline should have enabled him to restrain his appetites, to govern his passions, to make his hand and eye quickly responsive to his will, to be a master of himself. His step should be firm, his carriage erect, his muscles hard, his body capable of enduring much physical fatigue.

"His moral education should have made him realize the ethical principles which should govern a man's acts in this world and regulate his conduct toward his fellow men. He should have learned to be truthful and honest; thoughtful and forgiving towards others; stern and unforgiving toward himself. He should have learned the supreme lesson of disinterestedness, and should have gained the power of working for the sake of the work and its results rather than for his own selfish purposes; he should have learned to look down with something like contempt upon the petty things of this world and to realize that they amount to little compared with the perfecting of his own character.

"His mental training should have enabled him to estimate justly his own powers and to know how to use them. He should have had an oppor-tunity to 'find himself and to study his own ten-dencies and innate talents; and he should, there-fore, be in a position to direct himself toward the field of human endeavor in which those qualities will enable him to do the best work. He should have learned thoroughly the fundamental principles upon which are based the branch of engineering which he is to follow, and the power to apply them intelligently and correctly. He should be modest, realizing how little he knows and how little experience he possesses, yet self-reliant, feeling that he has mastered the fundamental principles which he is to apply in the world of action. He should be possessed of mental courage, having been taught to study a subject with no preconceived ideas or prejudices, but sole-ly intent on reaching the truth. He should be able to observe accurately, and to reason logically from premises gained by observation or other-wise."

The College of Engineering is receiving statistical data from the office of the Chief Statistician of the Commonwealth Edison Company, of Chicago. These come in the form of tables comparing output of various central station systems, growth of load in various districts, financial statistics, etc. They are furnished to us through the courtesy of Mr. E. J. Fowler, Ex '98, Elec., and Mr. Merle Rainey, Elec. '23.

As an engineering student, have you inspected the progress made on the new capitol and watched the construction details?
Everybody is talking about it. Not that they know very much about it, but it has an interesting sound. Of course you undoubtedly recognize that I am referring to athletic elections. In this connection I can quickly expose as much ignorance as anybody. I do not know what charges were made or what ones substantiated. In fact, that does not concern my present interest in the subject.
My attention is caught by the peculiarity of the situation in that there seems to have been a distortion of the relative values of loyalties.
Loyalty to one's self and to one's small coterie has just as definite a place as loyalty to one's community. To a narrow mind they often seem to conflict. Broadly, they should not be so conceived. Over-emphasizing loyalty to the smaller group or to one's self in contrast with loyalty to larger groups is egotism and selfishness. Placing too much emphasis on one's responsibilities to the public, to the community, and neglecting the closer personal relations is benign as ininity. A proper balance avoids both of these stupidities.