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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
Scope and Contents
This collection contains the materials collected and used in the preparation of the report "Strategies of renewal: report of the Presidential Commission on the Future of the University," 1987.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Conditions Governing Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located offsite. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation.
Conditions Governing Use
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Presidential Commission on the Future of the University records (Strategies of Renewal Report); Box and Folder numbers; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
No additions are expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This collection was processed by Joanna Rios in October 2023.
2023-10-20 Finding aid published (JR)
History / Biographical Note
In 1984, President Sovern put together a Commission on the Future of the University. The University had clearly emerged from the financially challenged 1970s and found itself with new opportunities in the 1990s and beyond. This was the first time since the 1957 President's Committee on the Educational Future of the University that such a commission had been convened at Columbia to plan for the years ahead.
The Commission analyzed Columbia's human, physical, and ﬁnancial resources in their urban, economic, technological and demographic contexts. The report recommended a streamlining of the University's academic organization, stronger promotion and control of academic quality, and further integration of academic and fiscal planning.
The report recommended that the four Arts and Sciences faculties --the College, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, General Studies and International and Public Affairs—- merge into one Faculty of Arts and Sciences, completing a long-term, progressive movement toward a more efficient, more collegial unity. Similarly, the faculties of Medicine and Dental and Oral Surgery should merge to become the Faculty of Health Sciences, encompassing the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Dental School, the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing. And the faculties of the schools of Architecture, the Arts, journalism and Library Service would be organized under an "academic entity" known as Fine Arts and Communications.
The report also had recommendations to ensure academic quality: five-years plans from the faculty; a University committee to review self-studies; and a number of improvements in the ad hoc or tenure review process. The report identified needs in academic space, competitive faculty salaries, a better ﬁnancial aid structure, up-to—date research facilities, high quality support services, and more housing for students, faculty and administrators.