In this entire social historical past of Columbia University's college of Engineering and utilized technology (SEAS), Robert McCaughey combines archival study with oral testimony and modern interviews to construct a severe and celebratory portrait of 1 of the oldest engineering faculties within the usa.
McCaughey follows the evolving, sometimes rocky, and now built-in dating among SEAS's engineers and the remainder of the Columbia college pupil physique, college, and management. He additionally revisits the interplay among the SEAS employees and the population and associations of the town of latest York, the place the college has resided for the reason that its founding in 1864. McCaughey compares the historic struggles and achievements of the school's engineers with their present-day battles and accomplishments, and he contrasts their instructing and study ways with these in their friends at different free-standing and Ivy League engineering colleges. What starts as a localized background of a college striving to outline itself inside a college recognized for its strengths within the humanities and the social sciences turns into a much wider tale of the transformation of the technologies right into a serious portion of American know-how and education.
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Extra info for A Lever Long Enough: A History of Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science Since 1864
Protesting MIT scholars in 1969 pressured the Institute to rename and disown its famed Instrumentation Laboratory and sever formal ties with the off-campus Lincoln Laboratory due to pupil competition to mystery study. That 12 months Cornell skilled an profession of Willard directly corridor via a bunch of African American scholars, who as a result left the development to be photographed wearing rifles and donning bandoliers of ammunition. At Stanford within the spring of 1969 the Stanford study Institute was once occupied by means of protesting scholars who have been forcibly got rid of via police utilizing tear fuel. At Wisconsin in 1970 the military Math study heart, housed in Sterling corridor, turned the bomb objective of protesting scholars, leading to the dying of a employees researcher. 17 although Columbia used to be no longer by myself in web hosting violent scholar protests of the overdue Sixties and early Seventies it's the case that those protests extra heavily threatened Columbia’s viability than the other significant college. additionally transparent is the truth that between Columbia’s specialist faculties, the varsity of Engineering and utilized technological know-how was once one of the such a lot instantly in danger. 18 Many components mixed to make the engineering school’s state of affairs really precarious because it entered the Nineteen Seventies: —the sharp drop in enrollments within the wake of 1968; —an even sharper fall-off in alumni aid; —a extra drop in departmental scores; —a caretaker dean in position; —a new president ready to adopt university-wide triage. Enrollment within the engineering institution had remained within the 1,500–1,700 diversity via lots of the Sixties, with graduate scholars a little outnumbering undergraduates. The influence of the spring 1968 protests on graduate enrollments was once shortly felt while the college skilled a internet lack of 250 graduate scholars registering for the autumn time period. The impression on undergraduate enrollments got here the next yr, the category of 1972 having been admitted sooner than the campus protests have been nationwide headlines. via the autumn of 1970, declining undergraduate enrollments mixed with stagnant graduate enrollments produced the school’s lowest quantity in a decade. Admissions staffer Leonard DeFiore trained the SEAS college within the fall of 1970 that purposes had dropped from 620 for the former yr to 500, with the most probably end result, Hennessy later said, “the smallest freshman type within the final 5 years. ” “I can't emphasize too strongly,” De Fiore extra, “the seriousness of this example. ”19 Alumni giving to the engineering tuition additionally fell sharply after 1968, much more than alumni giving to the varsity and the legislations college. the matter was once additional compounded on the engineering college by means of the ineffectiveness of its fundraising equipment. In 1972, the school’s fundraising operation fee forty-two cents for each buck raised, approximately thrice the ratio on the legislation college. A 1974 estimate via the Provost’s workplace had SEAS spending fifty cents for every greenback raised. 20 regrettably for Columbia, the five-year follow-up to the 1964 Cartter survey of graduate colleges received underway with the flow of questionnaires within the spring of 1969, whilst photos of protesting scholars, occupied structures, and police activities at the Columbia campus have been freshly lodged within the thoughts of the 6,000 students and educational directors charged with filling them out.