Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

the Kimball plan, calling for two and one-half years of Mechanical and one year of Electrical Engineering. It became one of the regular four-year courses in 1893.

Another course that was the subject of extended debate was that known as General Science. A report favoring such a course was presented to the faculty in 1889. Professor Alden vigorously opposed it on the grounds that it was a move toward making the Institute a scientific college, to the detriment of established engineering courses. He was overruled, for the trustees voted to introduce a course in Physical and Political Science beginning in 1891. The name "General Scientific" was adopted in 1893.

At various stages of the Institute's history, plans for cooperation or amalgamation with Clark University have been proposed. The first of these was in 1891, when Dr. G. Stanley Hall, president of the sister institution, proposed an interchange of instruction. This plan was carried out successfully during the following year, but discontinued thereafter.

Along with development in curricula came changes in the marking system. Students and alumni were vigorous in denouncing the "personal" mark, which was combined with the examination mark to determine final grades, but the faculty clung to it tenaciously. The "personal" mark was fully defined in rules adopted in 1884. When marking was reduced to a letter basis in 1887, the faculty vetoed a reference to abolishing "personal" marks contained in the committee report. Two years later a letter and percentage basis was adopted, and the "personal" was definitely abandoned. Faculty meetings were long sessions, for in addition to discussion of policy, they had many student petitions to refuse, and much discipline for minor offences to inflict. For a number of years it was customary to call the roll of students at each meeting, for comments on each student's progress. "Johnnie" Sinclair frequently picked up his hat and asked to be excused just before the roll reached the list of those who were "on the edge" in his classes.


[WPI] [Library] [Contents] [Back] [Forward]

Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999