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Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs records, 1939-2006 [Bulk dates: 1956-2003].

Summary Information

At a Glance

Title:Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs records, 1939-2006 [Bulk dates: 1956-2003].
Physical description:336.4 linear feet ( 545 document boxes and 86 record storage boxes).
Language(s):English . There is some material in French and Japanese .

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in three series and several subseries.

Description

Scope and Content

The records document the activities of the Offices of the Provost and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and begin with the Jacques Barzun administration, circa 1956. Any extent records that predate the Barzun administration are most likely part of the Central Files (1890s-1971), which are the records of the Office of the President. In addition, it appears that there is a small amount of material in the personal papers of both Jacques Barzun and Grayson Kirk, which are held by Columbia University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The records are particularly strong in the documentation of the Vice President's and Provost's work on issues related to academics, faculty, and indirectly, student life. The records include documentation on the administration, development, and history of departments, programs, research institutes and centers, schools, and academic services. These files also touch on issues related to development, such as budgets, committees, community relations, funding, grants, office politics, personnel, real estate, space planning, special projects, and university relations with affiliated institutions.

The Provost is closely involved with the faculty of the University, as one of the main functions of the position is to handle appointments, grievances, leaves, salaries, and tenure for all faculty members. The records contain information not only on these responsibilities, but also on awards, fringe benefits, housing, neighborhood conditions, recruitment, research, retirement, safety, and teaching loads. The Provost also maintained correspondence and subject files for many individual faculty members.

While the Vice President and Provost were usually not directly responsible for student life issues, many of the records reflect on issues that affect student life, such as 1968 crisis and its aftermath, academic planning, admissions, course offerings, discipline, financial aid, housing, safety, services, space, tuition, and unionization of graduate students.

The majority of the files are essentially correspondence files. The files include correspondence between the Office of the Vice President and/or Provost and administrators, committee members, deans, department chairs, donors, faculty members, foundations, offices, and students. These files also contain agendas, agreements, background information, budgets, committee materials, legal documents, memoranda, minutes, proposals, questionnaires, personnel records, policy statements, reports, statistical data, and surveys.

Series I. Office Files, 1939-2006 [Bulk Dates: 1956-2003]

The filing system of the Provost’s Office is not organized around individual administrations, but rather around the ongoing functions of the office. There is some overlap between the different subseries due to variation between the filing systems among administrations. The Office Files document the main activities and duties of the Provost, including the office’s involvement in the work of academic and budget planning and policymaking, and the work of centers, departments, faculty, institutes, programs, and research centers.

Additional records are also filed with the Files of Individuals in Series II.

Subseries I.1: Budget and Planning Information

contains records documenting the provost’s activities in the creation of the University’s annual budget. The records include correspondence, data, descriptive information, figures, memoranda, plans, papers, projections, reports, and statistics.

Subseries I.2. Committees, Councils, and Task Forces, 1939-2003

not only documents the provost office’s service on regular committees, but also includes general information on other university committees that was regularly sent to the provost’s office. There are also records related to special task forces and committees, such as the President’s Committee on the Educational Future of the University (1950s) and the Committee for the Promotion of Mutual Understanding and Civility (1990s). These records include agendas, briefs, chairperson lists, correspondence, membership lists, memoranda, minutes, mission statements, questionnaires, reports, and surveys.

Subseries I.3. Correspondence, 1960-2003

contains the chronological outgoing correspondence files for the provost’s office for 1971-2003, commencing with the administration of Provost William Theodore de Bary. The subseries also includes a log of outgoing memos for 1960-1962, copies of several topical memos issued by Provost de Bary, and Provost Cole’s correspondence with President Rupp and several associate provosts.

There is additional correspondence for specific individuals filed in Series II: Files of Individuals.

Subseries I.4. Departments and Programs, 1958-2003

consists primarily of correspondence and material related to academic programs, administration, faculty, financial issues, and students. Files for specific departments and programs associated with particular schools, especially the Schools of Architecture, Arts, Engineering and Applied Sciences, International and Public Affairs, and the medical schools, are filed with the records for their respective schools.

Subseries I.5. Faculty, 1954-2004

includes files on general faculty issues, such as fringe benefits, retirement, salaries, and tenure, as well as files on individual faculty members and named professorships. These records include correspondence, memoranda, proposals, questionnaires, reports, and surveys.

There is additional information on faculty filed with the records related to Schools and Departments, as well as the Subject Files, in this series.

Subseries I.6. Foundations, 1948-2003

includes records on chairs, fellowships, funds, gifts, grants, negotiations, proposals, and studies related to both individual donors and foundations. These records include correspondence, data, memoranda, proposals, and reports.

Additional records for named professorships can be found in the Named Professorships files in Subseries I.5.2.

Subseries I.7. Institutes and Centers, 1956-2006

includes material on issues such as administration, budgets, funding, programs, and staffing for both established and proposed centers and institutes at Columbia University. While the files primarily document established centers and institutes at Columbia University, there are also some files which document the University’s relationships with non-affiliated centers and institutes. The records include committee materials, correspondence, planning statements, proposals, reviews, reports, and surveys.

Additional records for centers and institutes associated with specific schools are also filed with records related to Schools in Subseries I.10.

Subseries I.8. Meetings, 1958-2003

consists of meeting materials related to deans’ and staff meetings regularly attended by the Provost. The majority of the records are from Provost Barzun's administration, as his office filed meeting files together as a single set, but there are also records from later Trustee and Vice-President's meetings.

Subseries I.9. Offices, 1958-2005

consists primarily of correspondence with other campus offices. The files also include some general operating information on the Office of the Provost.

Subseries I.10. Schools, 1953-2006

consists of correspondence and other materials related to academic programs, administration, admissions, budgetary issues, centers, departments, faculty, financial aid, institutes, and university relations. The records also include general information, facts, and figures on individual schools.

Subseries I.11. Statistics, 1950-1997

consists of topical files of statistics kept by the Provost Barzun’s office (1950-1967), statistics that were provided in response to requests from other institutions (1973-1986), and the statistical report, Columbia University Statistical Abstracts (1993, 1996, and 1997), that is issued by the Provost’s Office.

Subseries I.12. Subject Files, 1948-2006

consists of files on subjects related to both the provost’s activities and other university issues. These records include files on the 1968 crisis, accreditation, the arts, athletics, academic services, capital campaigns, digital initiatives, divestment, general education issues, government relations, housing, interuniversity affairs, libraries, local schools, student issues and services, women, and many other subjects.

Series II. Files of Individual Staff Members, 1957-1998

This series consists of the records of individual Vice Presidents and Assistant, Associate, and Deputy Provosts that were filed in distinct sets outside of the Office Files; they were likely maintained by the individuals themselves. These records reflect the responsibilities and work of the individuals, rather than the office as a whole, and include agreements, committee materials, correspondence, interviews, memoranda, minutes, proposals, reports, and transcripts.

Subseries II.1. Elinor Barber, 1989-1994

Barber served as Assistant Provost for Special Projects under Provost Jonathan Cole. The majority of her records consist of committee and research projects on admissions, civility, free speech on campus, research universities, and tenure.

Subseries II.2: Lawrence Chamberlain, 1957-1967

Chamberlain served as Vice President of the University from 1962-1967. At this time, the Vice President had direct responsibility for the capital gifts campaign, community relations, and student health. After Chamberlain retired, the positions of Vice President and Provost were combined under David B. Truman.

Subseries II.3. Michael Crow, 1991-1997

Between 1991-1997, Crow served as Vice Provost, Vice Provost for Research, and Associate Vice Provost for Science and Engineering. His records consist of a series of chronological files that include correspondence and other material related to specific issues that he handled during this period.

Subseries II.4. Frank Macchirola, 1973-1976

Macchirola served as the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs from 1973-1974. His records are primarily related to state education issues and interuniversity affairs.

Subseries II.5. Norman Mintz Files, 1979-1989

Although Mintz served as both a deputy provost and an acting provost during the late 1970’s, the majority of these records relate to his tenure as the Vice President of the University (1980-1982) and the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs (1982-1990). In this position, Mintz managed the University’s investment portfolio, and was also responsible for academic support services that included the libraries, computing, space allocation, student information services, and integrating modern technology into the academic programs.

Subseries II.6. Michael Mooney, 1969-1989

Mooney served in several positions from 1976-1989; Special Assistant, Assistant Provost, Associate Provost (1979-1982), and Deputy Provost (1982-1989). Mooney’s files include some material from other associate provosts, particularly Robert Brookhart (1971-1975) and Dorothy Levy (1976-1979).

Subseries II.8. Alexander Stoia, 1965-1972

Stoia served as an Assistant Provost and Assistant Vice President in the Office of the Provost for most of the period from 1968-1971, at which point he transferred to the Office of the Vice President for Administration. The majority of Stoia’s records relate to financial issues, including benefits, budgets, financial aid, funding, grants, salaries, space planning, travel, and tuition.

Series III. Personal Files, 1960-1998

This series contains personal files kept by several provosts and deputy provosts, including Barzun, Cole, Goldberger, Truman, and Young. These files are primarily related to professional activities that were not part of the provost’s duties. The records include appointment books, correspondence, invitations, papers, presentation materials, recommendations, speeches, and files related to teaching activities and professional trips.

Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years and all University Trustees' records are restricted for 50 years from the date of their creation. In addition, student records and other types of private records are restricted for a period of 75 years from the date of their creation.

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Manuscripts Curator and University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Office of the Provost and the Vice-President for Academic Affairs records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material--at Columbia University

Appointment Records; University Archives

Jacques Barzun Papers, circa 1900-1999 ; Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Henrik H. Bendixen Papers ; Health Sciences Archives and Special Collections

Aaron W. Berg Papers, 1903-1978 ; Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The Berg papers include correspondence with Lawrence Chamberlain.

Central Files (Office of the President), 1890-1984 ; University Archives

Historical Biographical Files ; University Archives

Historical Subject Files , 1870s-Present [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972] ; University Archives

Grayson L. Kirk Papers, circa 1958-1980 ; Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Morningside Area Alliance ; University Archives

University Protest and Activism Collection, 1958-1999 [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972] ; University Archives

__

The Columbia Center for Oral History holds interviews for Jacques Barzun and David Truman as part of its Columbia Crisis project (1968), and also holds individual interviews for:

Jacques Barzun (1963)

Polykarp Kusch (1972)

William Theodore de Bary (1987)

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Records processed by Catherine N. Carson.

Finding aid written by Catherine N. Carson in April 2010.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion April 15, 2010

Finding aid written in English.

    2010-04-15 File created.
    2010-04-23 XML document instance created by Catherine N. Carson.
    2014-03-25 XML document instance edited by Catherine Carson Ricciardi.
    2015-12-01 XML document instance edited by Catherine Carson Ricciardi.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Additional Creators

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Office of the Vice President of the UniversityPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University.--Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic AffairsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University.--Office of the Vice President for Academic AffairsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Barber, Elinor G.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Barnard CollegePortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Barzun, Jacques, 1907-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chamberlain, Lawrence H. (Lawrence Henry), 1906-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cole, Jonathan R.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--AdministrationPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--FacultyPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--FinancePortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--PlanningPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Public RelationsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Riot, 1968PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Student Strike, 1968PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--StudentsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University.--Office of the ProvostPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
De Bary, William Theodore, 1919-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Goldberger, Robert F.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Macchiarola, Frank J.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mintz, Norman M.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mooney, MichaelPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Morningside Heights, Inc.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Project AuroraPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rittenberg, Stephen A.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Truman, David B. (David Bicknell), 1913-2003PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

Historically, the duties of the Provost have been handled by the Provost, the President, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Since 1912, the Provost has served as the chief academic officer of the University. The Office of the Provost is responsible for the overall quality of the University's academic programs and faculty, and is a member of all Faculties and administrative boards. In this capacity, the Provost directs the development and implementation of academic plans and policies, and supervises the work of the Faculties, departments, institutes, and research centers. The Provost decides academic appointments, leaves, salaries, recommendations for tenure, and faculty grievances. The Provost is also involved in the creation of the University's annual budget and long-range financial plans, as well as support services for academic activities.

The Office was originally established by the Trustees of the University in 1811 with the simultaneous appointments of Reverend William T. Harris as President and John Mitchell Mason as Provost. The structure was created largely as a political compromise, but did not last: the office was abolished upon Mason's departure in 1816. The office was re-established in 1912 with the appointment of William H. Carpenter, who had previously held several administrative posts under President Nicholas Murray Butler. The University announced that the Provost "would be associated with the President and the Secretary of the university in the consideration and oversight of matters of general university concern and in the preparation of general university business for consideration either by the Trustees, the University Council, or the appropriate Faculty." Upon Carpenter's retirement in 1926, the position was again left vacant. The appointment of Frank D. Fackenthal, then Secretary of the University, re-established the office in 1937, by which time was seen as a second only to that of the President. These appointments were largely consistent with President Butler's management style: a top-down structure of administrators that were well-known and personally loyal to him. Fackenthal served as Provost until his appointment as Acting President upon the retirement of President Butler in 1945, and he retired once President Eisenhower was appointed in 1948. Albert C. Jacobs briefly served as Provost from 1947-1949, but once the new presidency was established under Eisenhower, he resigned and left the University.

The University went through a major administrative reorganization shortly thereafter. In 1949, the University created a new structure of four vice presidents: Vice Presidents of the University (also commonly known as Vice President for Academic Administration or Academic Affairs), Business and Finance, Development, and Medical Affairs. This structure would serve to provide the president with support in key administrative areas. However, the first Vice President of the University, George B. Pegram, was forced to retire in 1950 due to the University's implementation of a new mandatory retirement age for administrators. At this point, the position's duties were given to Grayson Kirk, who had been appointed Provost in 1949. The two positions remained closely related until the permanent abolishment of the position of vice president in 1990.

Grayson Kirk served as Vice President and Provost until 1953, when he was made President of the University. In addition, Kirk served as Acting President from the end of 1950, when Eisenhower was granted leave to serve as commander of NATO. From 1950-1953, Kirk handled two issues of lasting importance. First, Kirk managed Columbia's response to the questions surrounding communism in academia that were raised during the McCarthy era. Second, he proposed to limit the service of lecturers on the faculty to five years. This change, adopted by the Trustees in 1952, ultimately set in motion the adoption of "up or out" rules for faculty appointments shortly thereafter.

John A. Krout succeeded Kirk as Vice President and Provost in 1953. The New York Times described his role as "second in command to the President, chief of the university's educational system and a member of all faculty and administrative boards." He had started at Columbia in 1926, and had previously served as Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate Faculties. In 1958, Jacques Barzun was appointed as Dean of Faculties and Provost so that Krout could focus on the duties of the vice-presidency. Upon Barzun's appointment, the New York Times noted that he would "be responsible for educational administration and liaison in administrative affairs among the university's schools." This structure remained intact when Krout retired in 1962; a new vice-president, Lawrence Chamberlain, was immediately appointed to succeed him. During his tenure, Chamberlain had direct responsibility for the capital gifts campaign, community relations, and student health. He was closely involved with Morningside Heights, Inc., and was instrumental in developing plans to deal with tenants evicted from Columbia-owned buildings and the larger issue of neighborhood conflict resolution. The University's physical expansion and its proposal to build a new gym in Morningside Park continued to strain its relationship with the surrounding neighborhood throughout the 1960s.

The 1960s presented tremendous challenges for the University. While the University had many positive achievements, it also had larger problems. After Butler's administration, the administrative structure was decentralized in a move away from his management style. In addition, the University began to experience financial difficulties by the mid-1960s. To combat this problem, the University launched a major capital campaign in 1965. But by 1967, a major administrative change proved necessary. While President Kirk remained in office, several administrators, including Barzun and Chamberlain, resigned in June 1967. David B. Truman was appointed to be Vice President and Provost. Truman, the Dean of Columbia College, was popular with students, faculty, and alumni. It was thought combining the duties of the two positions would create stronger leadership and help the administration to deal with new operational and fundraising challenges. But the events of 1968 forced additional changes. By early 1969, both Kirk and Truman had resigned and left the University. The administration remained in flux until the installation of President McGill in 1970. Vice President and Provost William Theodore de Bary was appointed in 1971. McGill attempted to calm student protests and neighborhood tensions early in his presidency, and much of the rest of his tenure was spent attempting to deal with the University's financial issues. His administration, and that of de Bary's, were marked by conflict with deans and other administrators in efforts to work through these problems. De Bary resigned in 1978, and McGill left the presidency in 1980.

After the installation of President Michael Sovern in 1980, the University restructured the Office of the Provost. The University created a "tripartite provostship" in which there were three provosts; one each for Health Sciences, Arts & Sciences, and the Morningside Professional Schools. This structure did not work, and the University returned to a single provost, Robert F. Goldberger, in 1982. The 1980s saw a shift in academic priorities. Professional schools rose in importance, as arts and sciences dealt with lower staffing, enrollments, and budgets. Goldberger was instrumental in the University's efforts to use its biomedical research in the corporate world, and helped to establish the science and technology development office and a research center at Audubon Park. This shift caused tension within the University, and contributed to Sovern's departure in the early 1990s.

Provost Jonathan Cole was appointed Vice President of Arts and Sciences in 1987. He became Provost in 1989 after the departure of Goldberger, and remained provost under President George Rupp; his tenure was the second longest of all provosts. Cole was instrumental in developing a long-range plan for the University in 1991, and he was responsible for upgrading academic facilities and support services, departments, health sciences, and the quality of faculty, teaching, research, and students during his tenure as provost. He also started new programs and initiatives to improve research and teaching, including collaborative projects. This was not without controversy: efforts to recruit world-class faculty tightened tenure standards, which frustrated some departments, and led to the creation of a private elementary school, which upset advocates for the local public school system. A collaborative project to create an educational website, Fathom.com, was also criticized and the site ultimately went out of business in 2003. But on the whole, Cole is widely recognized and praised as having been instrumental in the positive academic transformation that took place at Columbia University during the 1990s.

President Lee Bollinger appointed Alan Brinkley as Provost in 2003. Bollinger also redefined the position; he took on direct management of Health Sciences, and also planned to take a more direct role in Academic Affairs. Brinkley came from the History Department, which he had joined in 1991, and had chaired since 2000. As provost, Brinkley focused on academic initiatives that included the increasing the size of the faculty, launching a new science building, reviewing undergraduate education, and increasing the globalization of the University. He also created a Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives, and was involved in the development of the Office of Work/Life. Brinkley returned to teaching and research in 2009. His successor, Claude M. Steele, came to the University from Stanford, where he had chaired the psychology department (1997-2000), and directed the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (2002-2009). He began his tenure as Provost in September 2009.

The following list identifies the Provosts of the University, as well as their titles and dates of service:

1811–1816 - John M. Mason, Provost

1816 - Office abolished

1912–1927 - William H. Carpenter, Provost

1927–1937 - Position vacant. Milton Del Manzo served as Provost for Summer Sessions during this period.

1937–1946 - Frank Diehl Fackenthal, Provost

1946–1947 - Position vacant. Dr. Fackenthal served as Acting President.

1947–1949 - Albert C. Jacobs, Provost

1949–1953 - Grayson L. Kirk, Provost

1953–1958 - John A. Krout, Provost

1958–June 30, 1967 - Jacques Barzun, Dean of Faculties and Provost

July 1, 1967–March 14, 1969 - David B. Truman, Vice President and Provost

March 15-August 31, 1969 - Paul D. Carter, Provost, and Polykarp Kusch, Vice President and Dean of Faculties

1969–1970 - Peter B. Kenen, Provost, and Polykarp Kusch, Vice President and Dean of Faculties

1970–1971 - Polykarp Kusch, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

1971–1978 - Wm. Theodore de Bary, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

1978–1979 - Norman N. Mintz, Acting Provost

1979–1980 - Michael I. Sovern, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

1980–1981 - Henrik H. Bendixen, Acting Provost (Health Sciences) and Acting Vice President for Health Sciences, and Peter Likins, Provost (Morningside Professional Schools), and Fritz Stern, Provost (Arts and Sciences)

1981–1982 - Robert F. Goldberger, Provost (Health Sciences) and Vice President for Health Sciences, and Peter Likins, Provost (Morningside Professional Schools), and Fritz Stern, Provost (Arts and Sciences)

1982–1983 - Robert F. Goldberger, Provost (Health Sciences and Morningside Professional Schools) and Vice President for Health Sciences, and Fritz Stern, Provost (Arts and Sciences)

1983–1989 - Robert F. Goldberger, Provost

1987 - Fritz Stern, Acting Provost (Robert F. Goldberger served as Acting President)

1989–1994 - Jonathan R. Cole, Provost

1994–2003 - Jonathan R. Cole, Provost and Dean of Faculties

2003–2009 - Alan Brinkley, Provost

2009–2011 - Claude M. Steele, Provost

2011– - John Coatsworth, Provost