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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin

Chapter XV: The Stout Institute, memorial building and library,   pp. 117-123

Page 119

Schools Burton E. Nelson of Racine, Wis., was, by the board of trustees, made
president. He assumed active charge in April, 1923. Mr. Nelson organized the
first vocational school in the central west, working under separate organization
and administration. This same statement probably holds true for the entire
country. The advanced law making this school possible is accredited to the late
Charles McCarthy of the Wisconsin Reference Library, and was passed by the
Wisconsin Legislature in 1911. Mr. Nelson gave the following seven years to a
careful study of vocational education and the development of the Racine VTocational
School. With his wide acquaintance with the city superintendents throughout the
middle west the school should receive a new impetus for growth and advancement.
When in 1911 the Stout became a state school it assumed a new obligation to
produce a sufficient supply of competent teachers for the state. New problems
of expansion and specialization had to be met. But the demand for Stout Insti-
tute graduates increased so rapidly that a further extension of the course became
imperative. There came now a demand in all of the larger high schools for degree
graduates. The Stout Institute was not authorized to go beyond the two-year
diploma course. No other school was prepared to furnish such instruction as
Stout was able to give. Recognizing that fact, the legislature in 1917 conferred
upon the Stout school the degree granting power-that of Bachelor of Science in
industrial arts or household arts according to the school in which the work is taken.
The school continued to grant the two-year diploma because the demand for four-
year graduates far exceeded the supply. Beginning in July, 1925, upon comple-
tion of two years of work, a certificate of attainment will be given. Those who
choose the three-year course will receive the diploma. This, and in some cases
the certificate, forms the basis for the issuance of a teaching license. In Wiscon-
sin a license is issued for one year, and is renewable for another year. After two
yea -s of successful teaching a life certificate is issued.
,Yhile the major part of the Institute's enrollment is from Wisconsin, almost
every state in the Union is represented in the student body. Stout graduates are
teaching virtually in every state; they are teaching in Canada, the Canal Zone,
Cuba and other parts of the West Indies and in Hawaii.  Graduates who can be
strongly recommended are generally placed before the diplomas are granted. The
Stout Institute strives not for enrollment but for accomplishment.
Beginning with the summer session of 1921 the Instutite has operated on a
45-week year. There is the usual holiday vacation and a short recess between the
regular and summer sessions. The school year, now considered as being 45 weeks,
is made up of five nine-week terms, one of which is the summer session. In the
latter, certain courses are operated on the semester basis to enable the students
to earn semester credit.
The average attendance at Stout Institute for 12 years up to September, 1924,
was 408; its lowest was 221 in 1917-18, and its highest was 589 in 1922-23, when a
number of special students were carried in addition to regular students. With
the enrollment restricted to regular students the attendance dropped a little but
is now again in the neighborhood of 600.
It has been the policy of the school for some years to restrict the number of
freshmen; the number of men is confined to 102 and the women to 144 each fall.
The school has been designated by the state board of vocational education of
Wisconsin as the institution to be recognized and federally aided for teacher train-
ing for vocational schools. It has also been federally recognized as the center for
the efforts of the federal board of vocational education in Wisconsin.
All organizations and outside activities of the school are banded under one
head, the Stout Student Association, the board of directors of which is made up
of the executive officers of the several organizations. It is the mission of the asso-
ciation to influence uniformity in the extra-curricular activities of the student body,
to curb those activities which are too apt to absorb an undue amount of attention
of the student body, and to promote interest in those activities which bring about
more rounded development of the minds and bodies of the students but which are
not generally popular.

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