Education: Rural Chair

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The major aspect of U. S. sociology is undoubtedly the steady drift from country districts to city centres.* Many important corollaries arise from this fact— education, crime, food supply and distribution, etc.

To cope with this situation many remedies have been offered. One of the most sensible was proposed last week by Dr. Paul E. Titsworth, President of Washington College, Chestertown, Md.** This old college draws its 186 men and women students from eleven states, chiefly from their rural districts. So the problems country communities face are felt keenly. These problems include, besides the economic one of increased soil production (which, after all, the widely diffused agricultural colleges of the states care for rather well), those of education, culture and medicine. The college-trained country boy and girl treks to the cities for the "larger" opportunities there. Rarely do they return to their home towns.

By establishing a rural chair at Washington College, President Titsworth hopes to turn the drift back to the rural communities. To the faculty would be added a new professor, "a man who has lived in cities, but who knows and loves the country." He would be no theorist like Rousseau. He would be practical.

The new rural course would include, besides regular cultural subjects, several years' work in chemistry, especially the chemistry of the soil and perhaps the chemistry of fertilizers. Students would not be expected to turn farmers. Rather the purpose of the agricultural subjects would be to give them a better understanding of and a sympathy with the farmer's life. Students would major in "rural sociology" and "rural economics." Such proposals Dr. Titsworth will place at once before the college directors, who will undoubtedly order them into execution next fall.

Appealing to student support, Dr. Titsworth said last week: ". . . the country needs [young medical students] far more than the City . . . and [they] having become skilled in knowledge of rural districts . . . will be doubly valuable. . . . Then arises the question of making such positions pay. A country doctor or lawyer can make a good living. After all it is not a matter of how much money a man makes, but how much he can save out of it, and it is much cheaper to live [in the country] than in the cities."

Washington College is one of the 15 oldest of the more than 500 higher educational institutions in the U.S. At its founding in 1782, when the Revolutionary War was nearing its close, George Washington gave it personal permission to use his name and also contributed 50 guineas to its first fund. He was always interested in it, was a member of its board of visitors, took its Doctor of Laws degree in 1789.

*In 1910 urban population was 45.8% of the U. S. total, 51.4% in 1920. The greatest change was in Michigan (industrialized), 47.2% in 1910, 61.1% in 1920. Next and more typical of the nation was Maryland, 50.8% in 1910, 60.0% a decade later. Urban population dropped only in Colorado (50.3% to 48.2%) and Montana (35.5% to 31.3%). It remained practically stationary in Wyoming.

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