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more recent establishment of agricultural experiment stations throughout the country, have greatly emphasized the necessity for instruction and research in certain branches of biology, and this has in turn had its effect upon the literary and scientific institutions with which many of these are in connection. In addition, the example of a few of the leading institutions of the country in greatly extending their biological courses, equipping new laboratories, and giving an altogether new character to the work, has greatly influenced the smaller colleges, and the authorities of most of those that have not done so seem now to recognize fully the fact that their greatest advances must be not along literary lines but in the direction of new and improved appliances for scientific teaching and research.
As regards the teaching of biology, the present period is one of exceeding interest. Considering chemistry and physics, we find that they have, to a great extent, passed through the experimental stage; and the methods of teaching, at least in the colleges, have come to be approximately the same everywhere. They are, of course, undergoing a certain amount of progressive improvement, but at present the methods employed in teaching biology show but little agreement, and the time is very remote, if, indeed, it ever comes, when any one method will be generally adopted, with all its details, as the best. The rapid advances of the past few years have in part been made possible by taking advantage of the experience of teachers in other fields of science, but, in large measure, they have depended upon conditions peculiar to biology itself.
The object of this work is to present the actual extent and scope of the biological courses offered by the colleges of the United States, together with the methods of teaching employed. It also aims at presenting as fully as possible an account of the equipment and facilities for teaching which the various colleges possess. The statements which follow are therefore based largely upon the printed accounts found in the college catalogues, supplemented in many cases by letters containing additional information. These have usually been rewritten, but where they are in suitable form they are quoted directly.
It should be borne in mind that many of the colleges announce more in their catalogues than they can possibly do thoroughly with the teaching force employed. This is often perfectly apparent, but in more than one letter received has the statement been made that certain courses have no existence save on paper. Even if this be so, the announcement may be taken as embodying the views of the professors in charge in regard to the nature and aims of such work, and representing the ideals toward which they are striving. Hence they have their value in such an inquiry as the present. Another difficulty which presents itself is that of forming an accurate idea of the material equipment of the various colleges from their catalogues. Those from the larger and better equipped colleges are usually silent on this subject, or at most give but
general descriptions of their laboratories and collections, while the smaller colleges are prone to give details to a much greater extent than their size seems to warrant. Fortunately, additional sources of information have been available in many cases, and it is hoped that no injustice has been done.
The relations existing between the schools and colleges then present themselves for consideration, and without going into the details of school methods further than seems necessary to show their bearing upon college work, the attempt is made to indicate the most recent developments in this line, and to show the attitude of leading teachers toward each grade of work. The educational value of biology, its relation to other sciences, and the best order and methods of teaching, are all questions which require consideration in this connection. On this subject the writer disclaims any intention of speaking with authority, and gives his own views and experiences only when they are supported by those of others.
The work of universities is then taken up and the attempt made to determine its true character and the extent of work now going on, after which the effort is made to show the facilities which the various institutions possess for laboratory work and investigation in the various branches of biology, under which head come the questions of laboratory construction and management, and the arrangement and equipment of museums.
The seaside study of marine animals has become sufficiently general and important to justify a special chapter being devoted to that subject.
Following this are tables condensing the most important points given in the detailed statement. Table 1 gives the names of the professors in charge of the biological work in the colleges from which reports have been received, while tables 2 and 3 show the relation of biological to other scientific work in a representative number of colleges.
The preparation of this work was first undertaken froni a desire on the part of the compiler to know how his own facilities for work compared with those of other institutions of about the same size. He wished also to learn how his own standard of work compared with that elsewhere maintained, and whether certain difficulties with which he had to contend existed in other places, and, if so, how they were met.
It then seemed desirable to put on record certain points which were brought out, because of their possible value as bearing upon the evolution of permanent methods of teaching.
To obtain the information necessary, circulars were issued containing the following questions, with a request for any additional information likely to prove of interest:
(1) At what stage is the college course in biology begun, and in what order are its various branches taken up?
(2) How much time is given to class-room work; is this mainly by lectures, or is a text-book used ?
(3) What facilities are provided for laboratory work; how much time is devoted to it; is attendance upon it required of all students in elementary courses?
(4) What facilities for research are afforded, and what is the general character of this research?
(5) How is your laboratory planned and constructed ?
(6) Is any preparation in science required for entrance to your institution; and what high schools, academies, seminaries, etc., in your State provide an adequate preparatory course in science
These were sent to the professors of biology in all the colleges of the country enumerated in the report of the Commissioner of Education for 1887–88, which had 50 students or more in the collegiate department, and to all the scientific schools. In spite of numerous failures to respond, a large number of letters, pamphlets, and catalogues were received, from which, in the main, the statements contained in the following pages are made.
DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF THE BIOLOGICAL COURSES
OFFERED BY AMERICAN COLLEGES.
A course in general biology is offered to students of the junior class. Such students have had in their sophomore year an elementary course in physics, of which laboratory work formed an important part. The biology course begins with the practical study of selected animal and vegetable types, and following this is a course in mammalian anatomy with which is connected elementary instruction in physiology and histology. To those students who have completed this work, there is offered a further course in the elements of zoology and botany. Courses will soon be provided in animal physiology, general zoology, osteology, and botany.
In all of these courses, practical work is greatly emphasized. Each student is required to spend 4 hours weekly in laboratory work, only 1 or 2 hours being devoted to lectures or text-book exercise.
The laboratory is well equipped for the work now offered. The department has been in existence but two years, and the laboratory was furnished with a view to providing for a general biology course first, leading up to more extensive work later as the opportunity presents itself. One large well-lighted room in the general college building is used as a laboratory, and connected with this is a preparation room used also as a dissecting laboratory. No provisions have yet been made for advanced research, and no original investigations have been undertaken.
Museum facilities are limited, consisting mainly of stuffed mammals and birds, and a small number of invertebrate specimens. The college possesses a herbarium containing a considerable collection of mosses and flowering plants.
No preparation in science is required of applicants for admission to Adelbert College, and there are but few schools in northern Ohio that attempt any kind of work in zoölogy. In the Cleveland high schools botany is an optional study in the third year. Chemistry and physics are also taught, but there is no instruction offered in zoölogy.
AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL COLLEGE OF TEXAS.
COLLEGE STATION, Tex.
Attention is paid to some branch of biology during almost the whole of the 4-year courses in agriculture, and during the first year of the mechanical course. For admission to these courses no entrance requirements are made further than the usual branches of an elementary English education.
During the first year of both courses, zoölogy is considered for 1 hour weekly, botany being also studied during the second and third terms. The course in zoology is of a general character, and the time devoted to botany is spent in acquiring the elements of the subject. Each student is required to prepare and mount 25 plants which he has himself determined.
During the sophomore year a general course in physiology is given, while two terms of the junior year are devoted to more advanced botany. Grasses and forage plants are considered in the first term, each student being required to identify and mount 25 species of grasses, while in the second, attention in given to economic and systematic botany. This course is rendered às practical as possible and is well illustrated by a museum containing numerous specimens of economic vegetable products from various parts of the world.
The subject of forestry is taken up in the first term of the senior year, after which attention is given to vegetable histology and cryptogamic botany, with especial reference to plant diseases, for the remainder of the year. This course is almost entirely practical, being planned to meet the special needs of the country in which the college is located.
Opportunities are given for special post-graduate work in botany and zoology, especially in their economic relations.
The zoological collection has been but recently begun, and contains but a few hundred specimens, mostly marine invertebrates and insects. The herbarium contains more than 1,000 species illustrating the flora of Texas, as well as numerous specimens from other parts of the United States. As further aids in the study of botany and horticulture the college possesses numerous orchards, gardens, greenhouses, etc., while the laboratory possesses appliances needed for the microscopic study of vegetable histology and plant diseases.
In the preparatory department a course is provided in systematic botany occupying 5 hours weekly through one term, this being followed by a course in physiology of the same length. Preceding these is a course in physics occupying 34 hours per week for two terms.
In the college course all students in the freshman class are required