Science at a Land Grant College : the science controversy in Oregon, 1931-1942, and the early development of the College of Science at Oregon State University Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cr56n3225

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  • The School of Science, now known as the College of Science, was created in 1932 as a part of a reorganization of state-supported institutions of higher learning. Before 1932, degrees in science were granted by the University of Oregon alone while science at the State College (Oregon State University) was confined to instruction in service-courses taught especially for the technical schools. Under the reorganization, major work in science was taken from the University and given to the College. The University resented the loss and for ten years fought to restore science. The major arguments were that it was not a true university without science and that pure science was stifled at Corvallis due to the emphasis on applied science. The College countered by citing the intent of the reorganization to create a single, great State University of Oregon located on separate campuses with the School of Science as a part. The College also questioned the distinction between pure and applied science. In spite of these objections, the University persuaded the Oregon State Board of Higher Education in 1941 to restore to it major work in the natural sciences. Throughout the period 1932-1942 the School of Science not only found itself at odds with the University but also with those at the College who viewed the primary purpose of science differently. To the technical schools, science was to serve technology; and to the traditional liberal arts, the purpose of science was to liberalize the education of every student. For most of the faculty and administration of the School of Science, science was to train professional scientists, so it strove for the professional recognition accorded the other schools at the College. As a consequence of a gradual recognition of its professional status, the School of Science became more specialized and the needs of non-science majors were increasingly ignored In 1932 science at both the University and the College was placed under the authority of one Dean of Science. The first dean, Earl L. Packard, struggled for six years with the bitterness caused by the reorganization and with the restrictions imposed by the depression economies to build a distinguished school of science. By 1938 when he resigned, the number of holders of the Ph.D. on the faculty, the number of students, and the amount of money allocated to science had increased. The trends continued into the administration of the next dean, Francois A. Gilfillan.
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