This is the fifth of a series of articles published in the Crimson, dealing with the work of the schools connected with the University, and written by their respective deans or professors.
The Engineering School, though now in name, is not of recent origin. The teaching of applied science in the University dates back to 1847 when the Lawrence Scientific School was established. Since that time the University has always maintained a staff of teachers in engineering and applied science; and many of the present faculty have long been identified with the University. In 1906 the Graduate Schools of Applied Science took over the work of the Lawrence Scientific School. In 1914 the University made a cooperative agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and for a few years the work of engineering and mining was carried on at the Institute buildings. This arrangement, however, was terminated by a court decision in 1917; and in 1918 the Engineering School was established.
The departments of study in the School are as follows: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electric Communication Engineering, Civil Engineering, Sanitary and Municipal Engineering, Sanitary Chemistry, Mining, Metallurgy, and Industrial Chemistry. In each of these departments four-year undergraduate programs are offered which lead to the degree of Bachelor of Science, and also graduate study and research leading to the higher degree of Master of Science (or an equivalent degree), or the degree of Doctor of Science.
Electric Communication Courses
A new program in Electric Communication Engineering is offered for the first time this year, which includes all the electrical engineering courses of the four-year engineering program and certain courses on the telephone, telegraph, hydrophone, and radio communication, previously available only to graduate students. Such opportunities for study and research in this field as are offered by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Physics and the Cruft Laboratory, are probably not to be found elsewhere.
The former program in Sanitary Engineering has been replaced by two new programs, one called Sanitary and Municipal Engineering, which is very like the work in Civil Engineering with the addition of municipal engineering, administration, water supply and sewage disposal, and other sanitary subjects with which municipal engineers have to deal; the other program, Sanitary Chemistry, provides training for those who are interested in the chemical, physical, and biological problems of public sanitation.
Close Relation With College
The School maintains the closest possible relations with the College, in order that engineering students may not only participate in the College life and become imbued with its traditions and ideals, but also that they may have the benefit of contact with teachers whose interests and activities are outside the technical fields. A broad general training is a great asset to an engineer. The requirements to the Engineering School are the same as for Harvard College. And the courses required in the first two years of all programs in the School may be counted for a degree in the College; and some of the programs, as for example mining, metallurgy, and industrial chemistry, include a much larger proportion of College courses. Students may therefore tranfer from the College to the School at the end of their first or second year without loss of time, or from the School to the College. And students in the College can so plan their work that they can complete an engineering program in not more than two years after graduation from College.
Graduate study and research are recognized as indispensible to the development of engineering science, and have an important place in the activities of the School. It has a highly trained staff and excellent facilities to carry on graduate study and research; and in some fields this work is already highly developed, much of it being closely connected with other departments of science.
The work of most of our engineering schools up to the present time has been planned primarily to train technical men for industrial plants, transportation systems and the public utilities. These enterprises have become increasingly complex, and their problems are not merely technical, but also in large measure labor and management problems. There are great opportunities for scientifically trained men in the administrative field of the great industrial and engineering undertakings. And the School has recently inaugurated two undertakings intended to fit its students better to profit by such opportunities; namely, industrial cooperation, and five-year programs in engineering and business.
During the period between the end of their second (Sophomore) year and the beginning of their fourth (Senior) year, students in mechanical, electrical, civil, and sanitary and municipal engineering may obtain six months' experience in industrial plants, public service companies, or engineering and contracting firms. This is provided for by a rearrangement of the courses, and by utilizing half of one summer's vacation and the whole of another, and without increasing the time required to obtain the degree or diminishing the classroom instruction. This work is optional and a regular third-year course is provided for those who do not desire to take on the industrial work.
The students enter upon their work as regular employees and are paid current wages for the work which they are doing. They are not placed in one department and left there, but are transferred from one kind of work to another in order to get a broad vision of the business, and a knowledge gained by experience of the most important and difficult of all problems, that of human labor. Their work is thoroughly supervised, they are given prepared lists of leading questions intended to guide them in their work, and they are required to report at frequent intervals about their experiences. When they return to school for a period of study they meet and discuss their experiences with their teachers and their fellow students. This work has been under way for some months and the results are most gratifying.
The Engineering School and the Graduate School of Business Administration now offer jointly five-year programs in engineering and business. There are three such programs with options in mechanical, electrical and civil engineering. The first three years are identical with the corresponding engineering programs, but must include the industrial work of the third year. The fourth and fifth years will be devoted to simultaneous instruction in engineering and business, which includes (a) all the fourth-year work of the corresponding four-year engineering program, and (b) the substance of the program of "industrial management" as offered in the Business School, namely:-- the principles of accounting, factory management, shop accounting, marketing, industrial finance, business policy, labor problems, business economics, and a thesis on a combined engineering and business subject.
It is expected that these two groups of courses, together with the training and experience acquired in the industrial work of the third year, will in five years give men who take these programs not only a thorough training in engineering principles but also a sound, well rounded training in business. It is believed that these new five-year courses are the first offered which combine both a thorough engineering and business education in five years.
The policy of these new programs will be continued by a joint committee representing the two faculties; but students will register in the Engineering School. The fourth year will be offered for the first time in 1921-1922, and regularly thereafter the whole program will be offered.
The buildings of the School are well adapted to its present needs and the near future. Since the war the laboratories of mechanical, electrical, civil and sanitary engineering have been entirely rebuilt, brought up to date, and enlarged to about three times their former capacity. The faculty is made up of skilled teachers whose past and present activities cover a wide range of experience; few, if any other faculties include so many teachers of eminence. There is now at the University an Engineering School where young men have the opportunity to obtain technical training of the highest order, and at the same time to participate in the life and activity of the University and absorb its traditions and ideals.