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The term "university extension" seems to have become current in England as early as 1850, but the movement as it is now known was not started until more than twenty years thereafter. For a few years prior to the establishment of the university extension scheme, educational associations for mutual benefit had been formed in many of the towns in England, and university graduates had been engaged as lecturers. The associations thus established found the greatest difficulty in securing competent teachers, and therefore requested the University of Cambridge to supply them with lecturers and draw up a scheme of higher education suitable to the wants of the towns. "After careful consideration the university, in 1872, appointed a syndicate (or committee), and instructed them to inquire into the best methods of dealing with the subject, and afterward empowered them for a period of two years to try the experiment of holding courses of lectures and classes in a limited number of populous centers, and of testing the work by examinations. The result of the experiment proved satisfactory, and the syndicate were accordingly made permanent and invested with power to organize and superintend courses of lectures and classes in such populous centers as the syndicate might approve, where the necessary funds should be guaranteed from local sources."1 The plan proved to be very successful, for we find that from 1873 to 1881 the Local Lectures Syndicate had conducted lectures in over sixty towns. In some of these places the scheme assumed a permanent form, either by association with some institution already established or by the erection of a college, while in others the syndicate was compelled to abandon the work, owing to a want of sufficient support.

The unit adopted by Cambridge University is a three months' course of lectures, one lecture being delivered cach week. Arrangements can not be made for less than the unit unless it is to introduce or start a movement in a new place. When this is desired, a lecture upon some interesting subject is given, during the delivery of which the university extension movement is fully explained and its advantages freely set forth. Generally the people are so well pleased with the lectures that they wish them to be continued, and wherever a number of people sufficient to pay the expenses of a course of lectures evince such desire, centers are established. The university undertakes the educational organiza tion of the course, while the towns must provide the funds and undertake the local management.

The university fee for a three months' course of lectures is £45, while the local expenses for hall, lighting, etc., are about £20. This sum must be raised by the local committee, but the manner of raising it varies widely at different centers. In a few cases sums of money have been obtained from concerts, etc., with which the centers were endowed, thus making them in a certain sense permanent.

Considerable care is taken in the formation of the local committees. These should be representative, and political or religious bias should be avoided. The committees should include teachers, artisans, ladies, and especially young people, who will be very useful to circulate information or sell tickets.

In 1887 Cambridge University, in order to maintain a high educational standard in its university extension movement, adopted what is known as the affiliation scheme. By this scheme students who attend a course of lectures prescribed by the university for a term of three years, and at the completion of which receive a certificate, may at any time thereafter proceed to the university and obtain its degrees with two years' residence instead of three, and are known as affiliated students of Cambridge University. The following-named towns have adopted the Cambridge University affiliation scheme, viz, Derby, Exeter, Hull, Newcastle, Plymouth, Scarborough, and Sunderland. The course for affiliated students is as follows:

1. Special series of courses.-This consists of six single courses, consecutive, thus extending over three years. They must be in th same group, but not necessarily on the same subject of the group.

2. General series of courses.-This consists of two single courses in a group other than that in which he takes the special series. It need not be consecutive, and may be taken before, during, or after the three years of special series.

3. Elementary examination on Latin and one other foreign language, Euclid, I-III, and algebra to quadratics.

Another important factor in the movement for the extension of the influence and teaching of the universities is what is known as the summer gathering. In

1 Calendar of Cambridge Local Lectures, 1880-81.

vitations are extended to extension students to come to the universities for a certain length of time during the summer months and make use of the extensive laboratories, museums, and libraries. Cambridge limits its invitation to those more earnest students who have obtained certificates during the courses of lectures in the winter, and desire to supplement their theoretical knowledge by practical work. The Cambridge summer classes appeal to the few, and their purpose is to add to the educational efficiency of the work. During August, 1890, forty-one students attended the Cambridge summer classes. The mornings were devoted to practical classes in chemistry, physics, and geology (palæontology), while the afternoons were devoted to courses on Greek arts, architecture, early inscriptions, engraving, Egyptology, and single lectures on other subjects.

Some idea of what has been accomplished by Cambridge University can be formed from an investigation of the following summary:

Summary for the years 1873–74 to 1889–90.

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The extension movement was taken up by Oxford University in 1878. The plan of forming centers and the methods followed by Oxford are similar to those used by Cambridge. One of the most important points in which the two differ is in the number of lectures constituting a course. As has been said before, the least number for which Cambridge will make an engagement is for a single course of twelve lectures, while Oxford maintains courses of from six to twelve lectures, but certificates are not issued for attendance at courses of less than twelve lectures. While the main point with Cambridge seems to be to maintain a high educational standard in the movement, it appears that Oxford does not lay much stress upon this point, but aims to extend the influence of the University as far as possible. This difference between these two branches is very apparent even at the summer gatherings. We have seen how chary Cambridge is with her invitations, but not so with Oxford, which welcomes all who care to come, irrespective of particular educational qualifications and whether university extension students or not. The courses of lectures are of general interest, and designed to meet the most varied tastes. The Oxford meeting touches the many and tends to extend more widely the influence of the university. The third meeting at Oxford, in August, 1890, was attended by 900 persons, just as many as attended the first meeting, in 1888.

The cost of the lectures ranges from £21 12s. for a course of six lectures to £54 12s. for a course of twelve lectures.

The number of towns in which local committees, acting in concert with Oxford University delegates, have been established is 132, and the number of students attending extension courses in 1888-89 was 14,351 and in 1889-90 the number was 17,904.


The London Society for the Extension of University Teaching, which was the first body to follow the lead of Cambridge, dates its foundation from a public meeting held at the Mansion House, June 10, 1875, at which the following resolution was adopted:

"That the principle of the Cambridge University Extension Scheme be applied to London, and that the various educational institutions of the metropolis be requested to cooperate in an endeavor so to apply it."

The principal educational institutions acceded to this request, and are represented on the council of the society. Furthermore, the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and London appointed three members each to form a universities joint board, to nominate lecturers and examiners, and undertake (in conjunction with the council) the general supervision of the teaching, and thus give that university status to the work which the absence of a teaching university in London rendered necessary. The existence of this board has further secured for the London society the advantage of a wide choice of lectures and a close connection with both the old universities.

The first courses were given at permanent institutions, but the size of the audiences soon proved this to be a poor plan. Special committees were appointed in the central and suburban districts, who arranged for courses of lectures in local halls, which led immediately to a great improvement not only in the size of the audiences, but also in the character of the work done. As the years passed by the difficulty of providing special courses of lectures for the most advanced students of the different cen ers presented itself. This was partly met in 1888 by the kindness of the Gresham committee in placing at the disposal of the society the Lecture Theatre at Gresham College, where central courses for students from the various local centres were established.

Another great difficulty seems to have been to obtain continuity in study. But this also has been remedied in a marked degree by the institution, recently, by the Universities' Board, of Sessional Certificates and Certificates of Continuous Study.

In order to show the progress of the work done by the London society and the favor with which it is meeting, the following tabular form is taken from the University Extension Journal of February 1, 1890:

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It is said that as early as the year 1874 the university extension movement was started in Scotland. Several Dundee citizens formed a guaranty fund, and arranged for five courses of lectures to be delivered by professors of the University of St. Andrews, three of the courses-chemistry, natural history, and physiology-being of twenty lectures each. This work was carried on for two years, but was rendered unnecessary by the establishment of University College, Dundee.

The movement was again started in 1888. and is now under the direction and supervision of the universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews. Although the work has been going on for but two years, the reports show that satisfactory progress has been made.


In Ireland the movement has been started recently by the Belfast University Extension Society. The first three courses of lectures arranged under the auspices of the society were very successful, as the following statistics will show:


Representative writers..







Average number of weekly papers.




Each course consisted of twelve lectures, and the number of certificates awarded was 30.

The University Extension movement, as it is known in England, had no existence in the United States until 1887. The field of home study had, however, been occupied for some time by other educational agencies, which have, in a manner, paved the way for the adoption of the university extension movement. The foremost of these agencies is what is known as the Chautauqua movement.


This movement originated in the brain of Bishop J. H. Vincent, D. D., more than twenty years ago, and the first meeting was held in the summer of 1874 at Lake Chautauqua, New York, and was known as the Chautauqua Summer Assembly. The purpose was first to bring together Sunday-school teachers for conference and for a course of systematic instruction in biblical knowledge; and, second, to eventually include all learning, secular as well as sacred.

The plans were matured by Dr. Vincent during a return trip from Europe, and are stated as follows:

"It was to involve a course of reading and study covering the principal subjects of the college curriculum, but omitting of necessity its drill in languages and mathematics, giving to the English reader an outlook over the field of learning and some acquaintance with the masterpieces of literature, ancient and modern, employing handbooks and compendiums for the mastery of outlines and appointing more extensive work to be read-a course which the individual could pursue alone, if necessary, yet adapted for associated study. It was sufficiently simple to invite masses and to lead them on without discouragement from its difficulties or its extent, yet so thorough as not to be deemed superficial by the more learned. Above all, it was to bring the six secular days of the week into harmony of purpose with the Sabbath, not only by recognizing the Bible as a department of its study, but more especially by having the entire course penetrated with the spirit of reverence and faith.'

The following statement of the methods of the Chautauqua Reading Circle was given by Mr. George E. Vincent, of the Chautauqua Assembly, October 10, 1889:

"The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle was organized at Chautauqua, N. Y., in 1878. The central idea was to provide systematic and definite aid to earnest people who desire to pursue progressive courses of study. Large numbers were at once enrolled, and the membership has steadily increased. Nearly 150,000 people have been at different times members of the circle, and at any given time 50,000 are pursuing the course faithfully. It was the belief of the originators that thousands of people were ambitious to do systematic work, and needed only specific directions. The plan comprises a carefully selected course extending over four years, divided as follows:

The four-years' course of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle.

Roman history.
Latin literature.
Human nature.
Political economy.



Physical geography.
Uses of mathematics.
Religious literature.

1882. 1883.






English history.
English literature.
English composition.
Readings from French
Social questions.
Religious literature.

Class of

A half dozen volumes approved by a council of six prominent men; a monthly magazine with supplemental readings, outlines of study, annotations, and other sources of aid; memoranda papers to be filled out either from memory or by reference to authorities, not examinations, but as means of fixing facts in their proper relation, and as thorough reviews of the subjects taught. At the close of the course those who have, upon their honor, done all the required reading, and filled out the memoranda papers, are given certificates, not college degrees. "The promoters of the Chautauqua Reading Circle have invariably held up the college as the highest standard, as unquestionably offering the best opportunities for education. But at the same time they maintained that those who can not attend college ought to be given every encouragement to educate themselves. The eagerness with which people have availed themselves of the definite and intelligent plans offered by the Chautauqua organization is positive proof that there is a widespread ambition among the people at large to do systematic intellectual work. It is a source of gratification to the original circle of the United States that a home reading club should have been organized in England avowedly modeled on the Chautauqua system.

"As an outgrowth of the original plan, which provided only for individual study, readers in towns and cities have been drawn by a community of interest into organizations known as local circles. These clubs have proved of great value, not only in aiding members in their individual work, but in arousing an interest in intellectual things and in fostering a taste for better literature."

Number Number
enrolled. graduated.


American history.
American literature.
History and litera-
ture of the far East.
Physiology and hy-

Questions of public

The following statistics were furnished by Miss Kate F. Kimball, the office secretary of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle;




6,000 14,000 18, 000

German literature.
Religious literature.

1,700 1888

1,300 1889

1,470 1890

1,300 1891

4,000 1892
4,500 1893


Greek history.
Greek literature.
Greek mythology.
Ancient Greek life.
Circle of the sciences.
Religious literature.

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Johns Hopkins University and university extension.-Dr. Herbert B. Adams, of Johns Hopkins University, in an article entitled University Extension in America, says "the first conscious attempts to introduce English university extension methods into this country were made in 1887 by individuals connected with the Johns Hopkins University." In 1887-88 Dr. Edward W. Bemis, a graduate of Johns Hopkins, gave a course of twelve lectures in one of the class rooms of the Buffalo (N. Y.) Library upon Economic Questions of the Day. The average attendance at these lectures was 250, of which number more than 200 usually staid to hear the class discussion.

In 1888-89 Mr. Edward C. Lunt, a graduate of Harvard University, gave a course of lectures at the Buffalo Library upon American Political History. The same year Dr. Bemis repeated his course on Economic Questions of the Day in Canton, Ohio, where he lectured two evenings in the week for a period of five weeks.

The work in Baltimore, Md., is described by Dr. Adams as follows: "The first practical beginning was made with a class of young people, who met once in two weeks, throughout the winter of 1887-88, in the reading room of a beautiful modern church close by the Woman's College. After an introductory talk upon

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