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Lilja, Edgar D. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Vol. 28, No. 3 (December 1923)

Reber, Louis E.
University Extension and its engineering courses,   pp. [45]-47

Page [45]

  Zbc '(Xr1coustn Engtneer
                                   UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
VOL. XXVIII No. 3                           MADISON, WIS.               
             DECEMBER, 1923
                                            By Louis E. REBER
                                Dean of the University Extension Dizzision
  President Birge, writing of the contribution of the
late President Charles R. Van Hise to the life of the
University of Wisconsin and, through it, to the univer-
sity life of the country, emphasizes "the development of
those lines of activity which, for want of a better name,
are inadequately grouped under the name of University
extension.' When Dr,
Van Hise came to the
presidency  in  I903,
this type of university
service in its earliest
and   simplest  f orm
had been carried on
in Wisconsin for
about eleven years. It
had alternately grown
and   declined   with
similar  attempts  in
other states and was
then at a low ebb.
  Mr. Frank A. Hutch-
ins, who was the mov-
ing spirit in the estab-
lishment of the travel-
ticr Mlhn-, in t c, n
                               -81E ..-. -J ,, I V OL11-
       Louis E. REBER          sin, and Dr. Charles
R. McCarthy, the originator of the legislative reference
library, had been leading advocates of the Extension
movement, and had kept it alive even when legislative
and other support were nearly or wholly lacking. These
forerunners in much that has distinguished Wisconsin
as a leader in advanced measures saw the universities
of the country as possible sources of education for the
many, rather than for the few who could attend univer-
sities. In their revolutionary prevision they included in
the functions of a university, education adapted to all
classes of people and to be given to all irrespective of
preliminary preparation or to the circumstances of their
  The time was ripe in the United States for an educa-
tional development of this nature. The rise of larger
and  more enlightened   industrial organizations, the
growing consciousness and ambition of industrial labor,
the spread of reform and betterment programs of every
imaginable kind, and other influences too numerous to
mention had begun to awaken a truly general demand
for the things that go to make up our present day ideas
of educational service. It should be noted in this con-
nection that vocational education, now so thoroughly
incorporated in the public system of education, was
then just beginning to take form.
  Among students of collegiate rank, on the other hand,
many who entered the University were unable to spend
the four full years in residence and failed to graduate
for this reason. Those who completed undergraduate
courses and entered professional occupations were often
handicapped by inability to keep pace with current prac-
tices because of the losses incident to postgraduate work
at the research institution.
  It was in circumstances such as these that the early
promoters of University Extension saw the great op-
portunity of the University in Wisconsin. As has been
shown, a very few leaders with almost unaided efforts
kept the movement alive up to the time when Mr. Van
Hise became president of the University and included
university extension in his program of development of
this institution.
  In the beginning, in Wisconsin as elsewhere, Univer-
sity Extension was closely identified with the public
library. During this period, Mr. Hutchins made note-
worthy contributions to the earlier phases of exten-
sion development. In i906, President Van Hise be-
gan a reorganization that foreshadowed the greatly
enlarged scope and modified methods of the present
time. He saw in the new departure not merely an
enlargement of the accepted University function of
teaching, but also an untried field of service introduc-
ing new features whereby communities as well as indi-
viduals would be benefited. With such a two-fold devel-
opment in view, President Van Hise gave an impetus and
consistent support to University Extension which insured
its steady growth and enlargement in scope. In sup-
port of this liberal program the state legislature in-
cluded in its I907 appropriation to the University $20,-
ooo a year for two years for University Extension.
Two years later $50,ooo was granted, and from this
time the increases were rapid and steady until the in-
come of the Division from appropriation and fees
amounts to a sum which places the Extension Division
third among the colleges of the University, from the
point of view of expenditures.

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