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现代美国大学

Before the 1850's, the United States had a number of small colleges,most of them dating from colonial days. They were small, church connected institutions whose primary concern was to shape the moral character of their students.

  Throughout Europe, institutions of higher learning had developed, bearing the ancient name of university. In Germany a different kind of university had developed. The German university was concerned primarily with creating and spreading knowledge, not morals. Between midcentury and the end of the 1800's, more than nine thousand young Americans,dissatisfied with their training at home, went to Germany for advanced study. Some of them returned to become presidents of venerable colleges ——Harvard, Yale, Columbia —— and transform them into modern universities. The new presidents broke all ties with the churches and brought in a new kind of faculty. Professors were hired for their knowledge of a subject, not because they were of the proper faith and had a strong arm for disciplining students. The new principle was that a university was to create knowledge as well as pass it on, and this called for a faculty composed of teacher-scholars. Drilling and learning by rote were replaced by the German method of lecturing, in which the professor's own research was presented in class. Graduate training leading to the Ph.D., an ancient German degree signifying the highest level of advanced scholarly attainment, was introduced. With the establishment of the seminar system, graduate students learned to question, analyze, and conduct their own research.

  At the same time, the new university greatly expanded in size and course offerings, breaking completely out of the old, constricted curriculum of mathematics, classics, rhetoric, and music. The president of Harvard pioneered the elective system, by which students were able to choose their own courses of study. The notion of major fields of study emerged. The new goal was to make the university relevant to the real pursuits of the world. Paying close heed to the practical needs of society, the new universities trained men and women to work at its tasks, with engineering students being the most characteristic of the new regime. Students were also trained as economists, architects, agriculturalists,social welfare workers, and teachers.

  现代美国大学

  19世纪50年代以 前美国有一些小的学院,大多数 成立于殖民时期。它们是 与教会挂钩的小机构,主要目 的是培养学生的道德品行。当时在欧洲各地,高等教 育机构已经发展起来,用的是 一个古老的名称——大学。

  德国已 经发展出一种不同类型的大学。德国大 学关心的主要是创造知识和传播知识,而不是道德教育。从世纪中叶到世纪末,有9000多名美 国青年因不满国内所受的教育而赴德深造。他们中 的一些人回国后成为一些知名学府——哈佛、耶鲁、哥伦比 亚的校长并且把这些学府转变成了现代意义的大学。

  新校长 们断绝了和教会的关系,聘请了新型的教职员,聘用教 授根据的是他们在学科方面的知识,而不是 正确的信仰和约束学生的强硬手段。

  新的原 则是大学既要传播知识也要创造知识。这就需 要由学者型老师组成教工队伍。靠死记 硬背和做练习来学习的方法变为德国式的讲解方法。德国式 的讲解就是由教授讲授自己的研究课题。通过研 究生性质的学习可以获得表明最高学术造诣的古老的德国学位——博士学位。

  随着讨 论课制度的建立,研究生们学会了提问、分析以 及开展他们自己的研究。同时,新式大 学学校规模和课程设置完全突破了过去那种只有数学、经典著作、美学和 音乐的狭窄课程表。哈佛大 学的校长率先推出选课制度,这样学 生们就能选择自己的专业。主修领 域的概念也出现了。新的目 标是使大学对实际社会更有用。

  密切关 注着社会上的实际需求,新的大 学着意培养学生解决问题的能力。工程系 学生成为新式教育体制下最典型的学生。学生们 还被培训成为经济学家、建筑师、农学家、社会工 作人员以及教师。


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