Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs records, 1939-2006, bulk 1956-2003

Summary Information

Abstract

The records consist mainly of correspondence and material on issues related to academics, appointments, budgets, departments, faculty, planning, programs, schools, and students. The records also include reports, statistical information, and committee and meeting materials.

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0083
Bib ID 5691172 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. Office of the Provost ; Columbia University. Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs ; Columbia University. Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs ; Columbia University. Office of the Vice President of the University
Title Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs records, 1939-2006, bulk 1956-2003
Physical Description 336.4 linear feet (336.4 linear feet 545 document boxes and 86 record storage boxes)
Language(s) The majority of the material is in English. There is some material in French and Japanese.
Access

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 two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in three series and several subseries. Series I. Office Files, 1939-2006 Subseries I.1. Budget and Planning Information, 1956-2002 Subseries I.1.1. Chronological Files, 1956-1994 Subseries I.1.2. Subject Files, 1965-2002 Subseries I.2. Committees, Councils, and Task Forces, 1939-2003 Subseries I.3. Correspondence, 1960-2003 [Bulk Dates: 1971-2003] Subseries I.4. Departments and Programs, 1958-2003 Subseries I.5. Faculty, 1954-2004 Subseries I.5.1. Files on Individuals, 1958-2004 Subseries I.5.2. Named Professorships, 1956-1986 Subseries I.5.3. Subject Files, 1954-2004 Subseries I.6. Foundations, 1948-2003 Subseries I.7. Institutes and Centers, 1956-2006 Subseries I.8. Meetings, 1958-2003 Subseries I.9. Offices, 1958-2005 Subseries I.10. Schools, 1953-2006 Subseries I.11. Statistics, 1950-1997 Subseries I.12. Subject Files, 1948-2006 Series II. Files of Individuals, 1957-1998 Subseries II.1. Elinor Barber, 1988-1994 Subseries II.1.1. Committee Files, 1990-1994 Subseries II.1.2. Subject Files, 1988-1994 Subseries II.2. Lawrence Chamberlain, 1957-1967 Subseries II.2.1. Academic Administration, 1961-1967 Subseries II.2.2. Committees, 1960-1967 Subseries II.2.3. Community Relations and Planning, 1957-1967 Subseries II.2.4. Correspondence, 1956-1967 [Bulk Dates: 1965-1967] Subseries II.2.5. Student Affairs, 1962-1967 Subseries II.2.6. Subject Files, 1962-1967 Subseries II.3. Michael Crow, 1991-1997 Subseries II.4. Frank Macchiarola, 1973-1976 Subseries II.4.1. Personal Files and Correspondence, 1973-1974 Subseries II.4.2. Subject Files, 1973-1976 Subseries II.4.3. Trips, 1973-1974 Subseries II.5. Norman Mintz, 1968-1989 [Bulk Dates: 1980-1989] Subseries II.5.1. Administrative/Office Files, 1979-1989 Subseries II.5.2. Committees, 1980-1989 Subseries II.5.3. Correspondence, 1980-1989 Subseries II.5.4. Institutes, Centers, and Programs, 1981-1988 Subseries II.5.5. Project Aurora, 1984-1988 Subseries II.5.6. Schools, 1968-1989 Subseries II.6. Michael Mooney, 1969-1989 Subseries II.6.1. Correspondence, 1979-1982 Subseries II.6.2. Subject Files, 1969-1989 Subseries II.7. Stephen A. Rittenberg, 1965-1993 Subseries II.7.1. Committees, 1977-1993 Subseries II.7.2. Schools and Programs, 1969-1993 Subseries II.7.3. Student Protests, 1992-1993 Subseries II.7.4. Subject Files, 1965-1991 Subseries II.8. Alexander Stoia, 1965-1972 Series III. Personal Files, 1960-1998.

Description

Summary

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.

  • Series II. Files of Individual Staff Members

    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.

  • Series III. Personal Files

    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.

  • Series IV: Archived Website

    This series contains the archived websites of the Office of the Provost as well as those of the offices reporting to the Provost. The Columbia University Libraries have been capturing Columbia domain websites via the Archive-It service since June 2010. In 2015 Columbia transitioned from a once-a-year crawl of the entire web domain in December to a semi-annual crawl in June and December. All columbia.edu archived websites can be accessed online through the University Archives Archive-It site. For websites prior to 2010, please visit the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.

General Note

The Health Sciences Archives and Special Collections holds the Henrik H. Bendixen Papers

The Oral History and Research Office 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), and William Theodore deBary (1987)

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library holds the following collections: Jacques Barzun Papers, Aaron W. Berg Papers, and the Grayson L. Kirk Papers

The University Archives holds the following collections: Appointment Records, Central Files (Office of the President), Historical Biographical Files, Historical Subject Files, Morningside Area Alliance, and the University Protest and Activism Collection

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

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 two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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)

Accrual

Additions are expected

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Records processed by Catherine N. Carson.

Finding aid written by Catherine N. Carson April 2010.

Revision Description

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.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

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.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Barber, Elinor G Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Barnard College Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Barzun, Jacques, 1907-2012 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chamberlain, Lawrence H (Lawrence Henry), 1906- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cole, Jonathan R Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Administration Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Faculty Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Finance Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Planning Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Public relations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Riot, 1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Student strike, 1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- : Students Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Office of the Provost Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
De Bary, Wm. Theodore, 1919-2017 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Goldberger, Robert F Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Macchiarola, Frank J Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mintz, Norman M Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mooney, Michael Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Morningside Heights, Inc. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Project Aurora Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rittenberg, Stephen A Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Truman, David B (David Bicknell), 1913-2003 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

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, theNew York Timesnoted 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