The American Academy of Horology exemplifies progress. This institution, located in Denver, Colorado, is truly distinctive in that the best trade school practices have been combined with related theoretical courses of collegiate rank.
The departure from old methods practiced in many schools may be considered radical but "time marches on" and this institution, uninhibited by tradition and staffed by aggressive leaders with a sincere regard for the profession, sets the pace.
A high standard of up-to-date material comprising the curriculum, proper equipment, and the careful screening of each student are fundamental in the conduct of the college.
Screening is not done in a haphazard manner. The first two days of school every detail of the students' aptitudes, background, and attitudes are noted.
Tools and supplies are then issued. The student is instructed in their use and care. Tools are never issued to a student, however, until he has been given sufficient instruction concerning their use and has reached a point in his training where he has an actual need of them.
Mechanical work is not started the day of registration. Classes are assembled in a lecture room where they are introduced to the college. They become familiar with what they may rightfully expect of the school and, in turn, what the school expects of them.
A lecture course dealing with the history of Horology is the starting point for all classes. rot the drab sort of history, but the colorful, inspiring background of this time honored profession - stimulating the young student to greater heights and the desire to excel in his chosen work. . It is a firm belief on the part of the college that a boy becomes a better student and a more proficient craftsman if the pride of heritage in his profession is instilled early.
A period of fifty minutes daily is devoted to these history lectures. As they continue throughout the course of training, mechanical history is gradually developed. Specialized subjects are handled by specialists. For example, astronomy is closely allied and helps to build background knowledge and understanding. The college has, on the faculty, an astronomical instructor.
The curriculum includes courses in Chemistry and Metallurgy approached from a practical stand point. Daily lectures and demonstrations dealing with these subjects are conducted, not by watchmakers, but by successful engineers. It has been definitely established that students exposed to such knowledge progress more rapidly and with a marked degree of superior workmanship and enthusiasm.
The Academy also recognizes the ever increasing importance of public relations in business. This subject of public relations together with applied economics and business administration is also a part of the complete course.
Approximately two hours a day are spent in the lecture rooms where the student receives highly instructive, illustrated lecture work. The college maintains a library containing, literally, thousands of feet of film, an untold number of slides and a complete selection of the finest reference books obtainable in addition to the latest developments in projection, sound and slide equipment.
The curriculum is carefully laid out step by step, unfolding the subject to the student in its proper sequence. It may be seen, by referring to "The Order of Lessons" that first things come first. Students exposed, to any degree of watch repairing too early seldom complete their schooling. They believe they are capable of holding down a job. This is encouraged by certain employers who are in need of help and are quick to condemn the school, the student and the profession.
The progress of each student is carefully checked. As he completes various units in the curriculum he passes on to other instructors. In addition to a well organized course the student receives the benefit of knowledge and ideas of virtually every instructor in the school before he is graduated.
Prior to graduation six to eight weeks are devoted to a special class on Scientific Timing. This is to be followed by practical contact with the public at the finishing school, a division separated entirely from the main college.
School administration has been perfected to a fine degree. In the superintendent's office are large charts showing the name of each student, date of entry, daily progress and grades. The progress and present status of each student is instantly and accurately available at all times. These charts are kept up to date by a secretary who receives daily reports from all instructors. Each instructor keeps a carefully prepared book on his classes in which every operation and grade is recorded.
Examinations are given weekly. These consist of "true or false," written and oral examinations and workmanship grading. These examinations tend to keep instructors as well as students on the alert. The results reflect on both and are carefully checked by the superintendent and faculty.
Grades registered weekly are A, B, C. and D. D grades are not tolerated and are therefore referred to the faculty immediately for consideration and such action as may be deemed necessary in each case. C grades are only tolerated for sixty days when they are also referred to the faculty. Conduct, arriving late, leaving early, skipping classes, inability to get along with other students are also causes for faculty action. The college is strict in its enforcement of these rules. All students are on probation for a period of thirty days. If the proper interest and aptitude are not shown they are advised to seek other occupational pursuits.
The student body has its own council which meets weekly in the interest of all students. They have their own newspaper, financed, and published by them. They advance all social and recreational functions. The school sponsors athletic activity and has several splendid bowling teams, softball teams and basketball teams.
Modern job training for faculty members is another outstanding feature at The American Academy of Horology. Every Saturday morning a compulsory faculty meeting is held.
School procedure is discussed in orderly and rapid fashion. Each week one instructor presents his methods of teaching. The entire faculty becomes acquainted with various methods of presentation. These talks by the various instructors are recorded for future reference. This is valuable particularly if the instructor is assigned additional work on presentation. Weeks or months later he can check his own progress.
Every step of an instructor's daily work, covering the entire eighteen months of the course, has been carefully laid out in an elaborate instructors' manual. Each faulty member follows his manual closely. So successful has been this faculty training and procedure that executives and instructors from other schools are coming to the Academy to study administration and instructional policy and procedure. All material of an instructional nature, together with systems used, is available to other institutions.
Watchmakers graduating from the American Academy of Horology will be a credit to themselves and to the profession. The mere fact, however, that a man attended the Academy does not mean that he is a capable craftsman unless he can produce his certificate of graduation. Only finished men who have satisfactorily completed the course ever receive a certificate.