托福范文赏析：Modern American Universities
Modern American Universities
Prior to the 1850’s, most of colleges in the United States were small, church connected institutions which were created during the colonial days. Unlike those in the modern time, the primary concern of these colleges was to shape the moral trait of their students.
Institutions of higher learning had developed throughout Europe without changing its ancient name. In German, instead focusing on the morals, the universities concentrated on creating and spreading knowledge. Thus, more than nine thousand young Americans who are dissatisfied with their home colleges, were attracted to go to Germany for advanced and better education between mid-century and the end of the 1800’s. Some of these young Americans have played a significant role in the progress of American Universities, as they became presidents of venerable colleges--- Yale, Columbia, Harvard after returning home--- and transform them into modern universities.
First of all, these new presidents broke all ties with the churches and brought in a new type of faculty. Professors were no longer hired for their proper religion faith and strong abilities to discipline students, but for their solid knowledge of a subject. The new primary concern of a university was to create knowledge as well as pass it on, which generated the need for a faculty of composed of teacher-scholars. Second, the ways of teaching was also changed, as drilling and learning by rote were replaced by the German method of lecturing, in which the professor’s own research was presented in class. Moreover, Graduate training leading to the Ph.D., an ancient German degree representing the highest level of advanced scholarly attainment, was introduced. Therefore, graduate student learned to question, analyze, and conduct their own research, with the establishment of the seminar system.
Last but not least, the size of the university and the course offerings were greatly expanded, with the latter completely different form the traditional, and constricted curriculum of classics, music, mathematics and rhetoric. The president of Harvard pioneered the elective system, which enabled students to choose their own course of study. The notion of major fields of study also emerged. The new goal was to make the university closely related to the real pursuits of the world. By paying close attention to the practical needs of society, the new universities cultivated men and women to be the very kind of talents who can make real contribution to the society, with engineering students being the most characteristic of the new regime. In addition, students were also trained as teachers, agriculturalists, economists, architects and social welfare workers.