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The Engineering Extension Division

Report Of The Director

To the President of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute:

The activities of the Engineering Extension Division are performed by three bureaus, and this report represents a consolidated statement of the several functional agencies.

Bureau Of Community Development

The last annual report referred to a cooperative arrangement between the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute whereby an industrial study of Virginia would be prepared and published. The Virginia Polytechnic Institute agreed to prepare the manuscript through its bureau of community development and the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce assumed responsibility for publication. The manuscript for this study has been submitted and is ready for printing at the time of this report.

The industrial study of the state entitled “Virginia, Economic and Civic,” is a comprehensive study of the development of industry in Virginia with special emphasis on the primary economic considerations which determine the trend and extent of such development. The first division of the document treats the development of industry in Virginia from the time of colonization down to the present with especial attention given to the progress of the last thirty years. The second part of the study analyzes such subjects as natural conditions, mineral resources, forests, commercial fisheries, agriculture, labor, power, transportation and communication, markets and trade areas, and public water supplies. Considerable space is devoted to these subjects representing the principal economic considerations in the industrial development of the state. The third part of the manuscript takes up other matters of almost equal importance, but which have a more or less indirect bearing upon industrial development. These chapters deal with government, wealth and taxation, financial institutions, education, health and welfare. The entire publication should serve as a reasonably comprehensive source-book for the industrialist upon the development and possibilities of commercial and industrial expansion in the state.

During the year the survey staff visited Portsmouth and prepared a revision of the survey of that city made two years before. Southwestern Virginia, Inc., asked for a slight revision of the Wythe County survey which was prepared and published.

The bureau of community development has outlined to the League of Virginia Municipalities a detailed program by which the Engineering Extension Division could serve the cities of the state. It is hoped that some definite plan can be developed by which the institution can serve its constituency in this regard.

The three regular staff men of the bureau of community development appeared on the daily radio program from V. P. I. at least twice each month during the year and presented talks based largely upon the findings for the industrial study. The radio is looked upon as an effective means of bringing the services of the bureau before the people.

This report would not be complete without acknowledging the assistance and cooperation of the instructional departments for their contributions to the manuscript of the state industrial study. Space does not permit giving in detail the assistance of each member of the faculty, but a glance at the publications of the bureau will indicate the contributions of the professional staff to the preparation of the various manuscripts, for which appreciation is expressed and due acknowledgment made.

Bureau Of Industrial Service

Technical Topics, a new monthly periodical, has been issued since January, 1931. The purpose of this paper is to bring to the attention of its readers the services that Virginia Polytechnic Institute is in position to render them and also to print technical items of interest. During the last several months a considerable amount of space has been devoted to material taken from the state industrial survey.

Every month 3,000 copies are printed, the mailing list consisting of Virginia industries, most of the engineering alumni now living in Virginia, the most prominent alumni living in other states, men of some prominence in industry who are not alumni, members of the national engineering societies, the editors of daily and weekly papers published in Virginia, and the editors of the more prominent engineering periodicals. The paper is also sent to the public libraries in Virginia.

The manager (Prof. Norton) accompanied Professor Whittemore on a trip to Winchester to make an examination of the plant and operating methods of the Colonial Brick Corporation. Dr. Lodewick and the manager spent three days in Pulaski examining the plants of the Coleman Furniture Corporation and the Pulaski Veneer Corporation. During the summer of 1930 the manager accompanied R. L. Humbert on several trips through the state for the purpose of meeting the officials of the local chambers of commerce and other similar bodies. During the year, the manager spent a considerable amount of time assisting Mr. Humbert in the preparation of the state industrial survey. Other cases of assistance to the industries of the state were made by the various technical departments of the college and have doubtless been reported by them.

Bureau Of Extension Instruction

The first year of college engineering education conducted through the cooperation of the Virginia Mechanics’ Institute and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute has been completed.

The curricula consisted of courses similar to those taught at Virginia Polytechnic Institute; namely, mathematics, English, drawing, chemistry, and introduction to engineering. The last named merits special mention as the course is a survey of the engineering professional fields and deals with the work and requirements of the engineer. The purpose of the course is to assist the freshman engineer in choosing the field of engineering which best fits his aptitudes. A number of successful practicing engineers addressed the class and outlined the basic qualifications for a successful engineering career. It is a good policy to get professional men to speak before the classes for two reasons: first, it stimulates the student to listen to a successful engineer; second, it gets professional engineers interested in our work, and we need and appreciate the assistance of the engineering profession in Richmond. A special series of lectures on hygiene was given by Dr. Jesse McCall, of the Medical College of Virginia, and a class in physical education was conducted by C. B. Henna, of the Central Y. M. C. A.

The registration numbered thirty-three, of whom twenty-four were registered for the full freshman schedule and nine for a parttime schedule. Four students were admitted with advanced credit from other colleges. The remainder were high school graduates. Twenty-four registered from Richmond high schools and the others were from the following towns and cities in Virginia: Highland Springs, Varina, Dumbarton, Dorchester, Manakin, Chase City, Center Cross, Providence Forge. One was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The group, as a whole, probably averaged higher in scholarship than a similar number in a large college. This is partly due to the greater amount of personal instruction given to individual students and because the subtle distractions of college life are not present. Individual instruction was made possible by the generous giving of the instructor’s time both in and out of class.

The faculty is made up, for the most part, of professional engineers -- men who have had years of experience in industry and who are still earning their livelihood in active practice. They have also had considerable experience as teachers of engineering and are part-time teachers because of their interest in teaching. They are generous of their time because they realize the difficulties in mastering the fundamental principles in the practice of engineering. With two exceptions the teachers are members of the regular staff of the Virginia Mechanics’ Institute. It is by the cooperation and active participation of the local institution in conducting this work that engineering education has been made possible in Richmond.

In order to stimulate an interest in outside activities we have encouraged the organization of two social clubs and the starting of an athletic association. It is believed that a certain amount of social life and athletic participation is a stimulus to the acquisition of engineering fundamentals. An engineer must be as broadminded as any other professional man and it is planned to continue interest in extra-curricular activities.

Starting in September the two institutions cooperating will offer both first and second year engineering education. With but one year’s experience in Richmond it is difficult to forecast the future, but we have every reason to believe that this year’s enrolment will be more than duplicated. A number of our first year students are making plans to attend V. P. I. next session.

Other extension instruction in the state has been materially curtailed. No special effort has been made to organize classes or to interest anybody in correspondence courses, as teaching and administrative work in Richmond have taken practically all of the manager’s time. We have had two new students in accounting, two students have completed a course in strength of materials, one completed a course in heating and ventilating, and one in shop mathematics.

A cooperative arrangement has been made with the college of William and Mary whereby work in the first two years of our engineering curricula will be given in Norfolk, beginning September, 1931. W. F. Harrington will take charge of this work.

The following engineering extension division bulletins have been published during the year:

No, 24 -- V. P. I. in Richmond, by H. S. Grenoble, 16 pp., September, 1930, Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Vol. XXIII, No, 13.

No. 25 -- Rayon -- Today and Tomorrow, by R. E. Hussey and P. C. Scherer, Jr. 32 pp., November, 1930, Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Vol. XXIV, No. 1.

No. 26 -- The Gantt Installment Payment Chart: Its Adaption to the Uses of the Plumbing and Heating Contractor, 6 pp., June, 1931, Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Vol. XXIV, No, 10.

Plans And Needs

The work of the bureaus of community development and industrial service has been partially interrupted by the present economic depression, but we are making every effort to maintain the interest which has already been aroused and to make new contacts, so that the value of what has already been accomplished will not be lost. It is planned to continue industrial surveys for communities that will pay for the field work, making typewritten reports until the community is ready to pay for printing.

We need someone to take over the work of correspondence instruction, short courses and institutes, begun by Mr. Grenoble before he was moved to Richmond.

Respectfully submitted.

R. B. H. BEGG, Director.