Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/133

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123
EDITOR'S TABLE.
EDITOR'S TABLE.


UNIVERSITY EXTENSION.

THE article by Prof, C. Hanford Henderson on University Extension, which a|)pears in the present number of the Monthly, is one which deserves and doubtless will receive a wide and sympathetic attention. Prof. Henderson states his case well, and no intelligent reader can fail to be impressed with the importance of the movement which he describes and advocates. For our own part we think its importance can hardly be over-estimated. It aims at nothing less than an intellectual revolution — at placing within the reach of thousands in every part of the country educational advantages which hitherto have been confined to university students. Useful as the colleges and universities are in their way, we incline to the opinion that what is known as university extension holds out a promise of yet greater usefulness. The former are often spoken of as "seats" of learning, and the expression is appropriate; but, in the extension movement, learning leaves its seats and goes forth to find its disciples in the highways and byways. This simple fact is a pledge of a more living adaptation to the practical needs of the community than is to be expected in the case of the older and more permanent educational establishments. The reactive effect upon the colleges themselves will doubtless be also very beneficial. The theory of the movement is that college professors will do extra-collegiate work; and it is certain that, in addressing more miscellaneous audiences than are wont to be gathered within college walls, they will learn new methods of instruction and discover new springs of influence. College students form a more or less select class, and they are expected not only to follow in an unquestioning manner the lines of study indicated to them, but to accept in the same way whatever may be the special educational views or traditions of the institution they attend. The extension classes will be at once more fluid in their composition and more favorable to initiative and originality on the part of the teacher. There will thus tend to be developed a new type of teaching and new conceptions of the possibilities of intellectual growth. Science will learn — what it has never yet thoroughly learned — to dwell among the people and mingle its life with theirs.

Taking another point of view, we might dwell upon the great need that exists for something that will bring home a touch of true culture and of exact knowledge not so much to the "masses" as to the "classes." Among the latter the fields are "white to the harvest." We are often told that the ignorance of the working classes is a source of danger to the state, but we are by no means persuaded that the ignorance of a somewhat higher social stratum is not a more serious danger. A couple of years ago the most popular clergyman in the United States, addressing his own congregation, recommended those of his hearers who were wealthy to spend their money freely upon every form of expensive luxury — to clothe themselves in the richest fabrics and most expensive furs, to ornament themselves with the costliest jewels, to make their houses gorgeous with everything that was most sumptuous and elegant, to feed themselves with splendid liberality, to conduct themselves in general — so he actually said — as God's favored children, for whom nothing could possibly be too good. In olden times it was said that the poor had the gospel preached to them, and that they heard it