Guide to the Faculty Records, 1911-1986


The responsibilities of faculty members, in addition to planning classes and providing instruction, included enacting regulations necessary to carry out instruction, advance the standards of work, and develop the scholarly aims of the school. The Faculty also recommended degree candidates and persons worthy of receiving academic distinction to the trustees. The records document administrative and academic concerns of university faculty members and officers from 1911-1986. They consist of bound volumes of minutes, reports, memoranda, agendas, and correspondence. The records also include a few invitations, proposals, announcements, newsletters, and newspaper clippings.

Collection Details

Record Group
Faculty records
Duke University. Faculty
4.5 Linear Feet, about 4,000 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

Members of various faculty councils, committees, and governing bodies of Trinity College and Duke University created these records between 1911 and 1986. The records document administrative and academic concerns of university faculty members and officers during this period of time. The records consist of bound volumes of minutes of the General Faculty (also referred to as the Faculty and later renamed the University Faculty), General Faculty Council, and the Council on Undergraduate Teaching (also called the Council on Undergraduate Instruction), along with folders of other material. The bulk consists of minutes, reports, memoranda, agendas, and correspondence.

These records reflect the actions of the following university bodies: the Commission on Faculty Reorganization, the Council on Undergraduate Teaching, the (General) Faculty Council, Faculty Meetings, the Faculty Organizational Committee, the Faculty Standing Committee on the Curricula, and University Faculty Minutes. These records contain the same types of documents as those found in the bound volumes; however, they also contain a few invitations, proposals, announcements, newsletters, and newspaper clippings.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Faculty Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Minutes of Faculty Meetings, 1911-1986

Minutes of the Faculty of Trinity College, 1911-1923

Issues that pervaded the recorded minutes include standing committees, scheduling, funding, student petitions (to drop or substitute classes, for example), examinations, commencement, debates over graduation attire, fraternity regulations, scholarship regulations, extension work, academic requirements, committee appointments, new courses, grading, degree candidates, publications, graduate instruction and research.

The committees that the faculty served on include courses of instruction, admission, athletics, debating, executive, health and boarding halls, library, publications, public lectures and musical organizations, schedule, social organizations, and student life.

Other topics include absences or "cuts" from class, literary societies, memorial statements for recently deceased professors, the establishment of Phi Beta Kappa, concerns for Freshman and Sophomores (e.g., grades, distribution of work, etc.), the Glee Club, and lectures from visiting professors from universities such as the University of Chicago, Yale, and Johns Hopkins. The college catalogue, compulsory chapel exercises, cheating, honors, awards (the Wiley Grey and Braxton Craven Medals), the North Carolina Teachers Assembly, Watts Hospital, delegates sent to North Carolina Forestry Association in Raleigh, composition requirements, honorary degrees, student advisors, the Chanticleer, graduate students and athletics, summer school, and alumni reunions make-up additional topics.

Still others are the abolishment of the valedictory, delegates for the Association of Colleges and Schools of Southern States and the National Collegiate Association, the North Carolina Conference, military drills, accommodations for students leaving for World War I, salary increases, new courses, thesis requirements for Masters degrees, R.O.T.C. courses, and the Durham homecoming celebration for soldiers. The North Carolina Academy of Science, the Roosevelt Memorial Fund, admission of students from junior colleges, tutors for freshman, the grading system, Social Hygiene meetings, curriculum considerations, the National Convention in International Disarmament, representatives for National Conference on Standards of Colleges and Prep Schools, requirements for graduation, entrance requirements, sabbaticals, holidays, Board of Trustees, and committee on moving pictures compose further topics that faculty grappled with during their many meetings, over which President Few presided.

The few items in the two folders containing loose materials include reports, letters from students and collegiate organizations, and in-house notes that pertain to some of the same subjects listed above.

Minutes of the Faculty, Trinity College and Duke University, 1923-1943

Many of the same issues, including student petitions, grades, and various committee business engaged faculty members during these years. Additional concerns of the faculty during this period involve opening Duke University, better training of high school teachers, protocol for commencement, Saturday courses for teachers, adoption of mid-term examinations, a study revealing that women were behind in Math, honor system violations, certification of teachers, new programs, budget, a speech about Benjamin Duke, and cap and gowns. The Robert E. Lee Prize, Duke Memorial Fund, grade uniformity, Bible and Math requirements, parking, reorganization of faculties, combined arts-law degree, the Dean's list, undergraduate guidance department, University Chest Drive, dedication to President Few, and death of President Few are topics that prevailed during this time period. President Few presided.

Minutes of the General Faculty, 1944-1952

The volumes in this category contain the same kinds of minutes, correspondence, and reports as in the other categories. The Minutes of the General Faculty also contain documents about the same subjects as found in the Minutes of the Faculty and Faculty Council. Other issues include the relationship between faculty and trustees, American Association of University Professors, retirement annuities, suspension of classes for events, and faculty reorganization reports. President Flowers presided.

Minutes of the University Faculty, 1952-1955

This series of documents contains the same types of material and subject matter as the other series on University Faculty minutes. Additional issues of relevance here involve the structure of the University Council, academic salaries, and a report of the University Council to the University Faculty. Other topics worthy of note include the secret ballot for an honorary degree for Richard M. Nixon; elections for University Council; president's reports (housekeeping, buildings, finances, enrollment, etc.); off campus centers such as Highland Hospital in Asheville and Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort; President Edens' wish to improve cooperation with neighboring universities (NCSU, UNC, and the Woman's College of UNC) via library cooperation; desegregation (President Edens advocated making a small gesture towards desegregation in 1954 after Brown vs. Board of Education); and medical insurance for the faculty. President Edens presided.

Minutes of the University Faculty, 1955-1969

Again, the types of materials and subject matter of the correspondence, minutes, and reports in this series overlap with that of the other records. Additional topics include reports of the president on issues such as the need to revamp Duke's policy on segregation, cooperation with southeastern liberal arts colleges via the 3-2 program, the new golf course, new faculty housing, enrollment problems, Faculty Handbook, new degree proposals, graduate school enrollment, college visitation program-traveling faculty members, national recognition (ranking), training inter-national students, faculty involvement in international organizations, international research, religious preferences, long range planning reports, and university expansion. Additional subjects include tuition awards for children of faculty, promotion of Duke University, improvement of public relations, varying views of different presidents on goals of university, awarding Richard M. Nixon Doctor of Laws, tenure, need of facilities, Bylaws, academic freedom, regrouping of departments into divisions, applicants admitted to Duke regardless of race, creed, or national origin in 1962, Academic Council, faculty benefits, Faculty Club, 1968 student vigil and strike by employees in Operations Hall and Dining Halls foments awareness of need for appreciation among faculty, the advancement program, and committee on University Employee relationships to support non-academic employees. In 1969 there was an African American student sit-in in the Central Records Office (Allen Building) that incited much debate among faculty during a meeting. Presidents Edens, Hart, and Knight presided.

University Faculty Minutes, 1969-1986

Reports, minutes, agendas, and correspondence make-up the bulk of the documents housed in these folders. Topics include degree candidates, programs, the Faculty Handbook, committee appointments, faculty elections, memorials, the Academic Council, a presidential address, and faculty newsletters

Faculty Meetings, 1932-1978

Correspondence, agendas, meeting minutes, memos, newspaper clippings, and reports are housed in these folders. Participants in faculty meetings reported to the General Faculty. The General Faculty appointed faculty to committees, such as the committee of undergraduate curriculum. The University Faculty determines degree candidates, honorary degrees, curriculum, etc.

Minutes of the Faculty, Trinity College, 1911-1916
Box 1
Minutes of the Faculty, Trinity College, 1916-1920
Box 1
Minutes of the Faculty, Trinity College, 1920-1923
Box 1
Minutes of the Faculty Meetings, Trinity College/Duke University, 1923-1928
Box 1
Minutes of the Faculty Meetings, Duke University, 1928-1933
Box 1
Minutes of the Faculty Meetings (General), Duke University, 1933-1943
Box 1
Minutes of the General Faculty, Duke University, 1943-1951
Box 1
Minutes of General Faculty Meetings-Loose Material, 1911-1920
Box 1
Minutes of General Faculty Meetings-Loose Material, 1920-1923
Box 1
Faculty Meetings, 1932-1969
Box 1
Minutes of the General Faculty, Duke University, 1951-1952
Box 2
Minutes of the University Faculty, Duke University, 1952-1955
Box 2
Minutes of the University Faculty, Duke University, 1955-1960
Box 2
Minutes of the University Faculty, Duke University, 1960-1964
Box 3
Minutes of the University Faculty, Duke University, 1964-1969
Box 3
University Faculty Minutes, 1969-1970
Box 4
University Faculty Minutes, 1971-1972
Box 4
University Faculty Minutes, 1972-1976
Box 4
University Faculty Minutes, 1977-1981
Box 4
University Faculty Minutes, 1982-1986
Box 4
Faculty Meetings, 1970-1978
Box 4

2. Records of the Faculty Council, 1932-1951

Minutes of the General Faculty Council, 1932-1951

Meeting minutes as well as glued-in correspondence and reports compose the minutes of the General Faculty Council. The same subjects found throughout the pages of the Faculty Meetings are found in these records. The General Faculty Council came into existence by order of President Few in 1937, when he changed the name of the Undergraduate Council, which was also known informally as the Faculty Council, to the General Faculty Council.

Records concern the Woman's College, deficiency in writing, the function of the council, course listings, formation of the General Faculty Council, reorganization of departments into divisions, lengthening the teaching day, visiting professors-goal involved getting information from them regarding opportunities in American colleges for above average students, and a memoriam for President Few. President Few and Dean Wannamaker presided over these meetings. Other topics include the bookstore, curriculum acceleration, language requirements, freshman achievement and test scores, creation of department of aesthetics, "War Day Exercises," military duty, U.S. military Institute and correspondence college courses, credit for Naval courses, opening of and enrollment in Woman's College, problem with returning service men (credit/graduation), admission of veterans, special veterans services, committee on recognition of retiring faculty, and instituting a degree program for nursing. In addition, the Faculty Council was concerned with class over-crowding, Duke University Day, the no smoking rule, Founders Day, the national situation of American universities, religious emphasis week, and selective service tests.

Faculty Council, 1940-1952

Correspondence, memoranda, reports, meeting minutes, and agendas. Topics include the teaching load, new courses, curricula, cheating, air science courses, special committees, honorary retiring faculty members, absences, the student rating of professors poll, catalogue, salary studies, finals, parking, attendance, and homecoming.

Minutes of the General Faculty Council, Duke University, 1932-1941
Box 5
Minutes of the Faculty Council, Duke University, 1941-1946
Box 5
Minutes of the Faculty Council, Duke University, 1946-1951
Box 5
Faculty Council, 1940-1952
Box 5

3. Committee Records, 1930-1934

This series contains foldered and bound records created by various faculty committees.

A. Freshman Council and Freshman Faculty, 1930-1934

Minutes, 1930-1934: Typed and hand-written minutes and reports on a system for reporting absences from class, the campus mail system, extra-curricular activities, freshman dormitories, fraternities, physical education, grading systems, faculty-student relations, examination schedules and related subjects. President Few and Dean Wannamaker attended the Council's meetings from time to time.

B. Council on Undergraduate Teaching

Minutes, 1934-1949: Reports and meeting minutes on class size, scholarships, study time, tentative degree candidates, student petitions, student publications, educational research (promotion of student scholarship), homecoming, commencement, quality of teaching in prep schools, conference with high school principals, student etiquette (concern with "boot-licking"), grade distribution, cheating, course adjustments, honors, library book accessibility, grade curve, "block system" for exams, absences, future course offerings, scholastic records, placement tests, the Council on Undergraduate Teaching, summer school, lecture system, break-down of grades for all departments, and evaluation of grades and instruction are among the many topics included here. The following committees made decisions: calendar, curriculum, student-faculty relations, schedule, problems of teaching, extra-curricular activities, and other matters. Dean Wannamaker and President Few presided.

Miscellaneous records, 1934-1947: Materials include agendas, reports, memoranda, questionnaires, and correspondence. Main topics include divisional committees, freshman and sophomore class size, class periods, class schedules, public lectures, examination periods, the grading system, junior and senior courses, and degree requirements. Additional topics also are grade distribution, "cuts," number of freshman, scholarship statistics, vacations, committee lists and nominees, advanced courses, the bookstore, student-faculty relations, the honor system, professional ethics, undergraduate publications, and research. Other issues addressed included transportation, curriculum problems, evaluations of admission, failure, and achievement, the Woman's College, holidays, naval training or the V-12 program, the library, athletics, cheating, and the honor code. Topics remain constant throughout the years. The Report of the Committee on "Adequate Student Guidance," (folder 6) represents an analysis of guidance methods as applicable to undergraduate liberal arts college. The report includes definitions, a needs assessment, and sections on areas of guidance, testing, counseling, and criteria for effective counseling. Tables include testing data for Duke freshman, analysis of personal problems, and reasons for academic difficulty, all based on data collected via questionnaires.

C. Faculty Committee on the Teaching Load of Instructors, 1940

Reports and minutes about the enrollment of students in various university departments are housed in this folder.

D. Faculty Standing Committee on the Curricula, 1941-1946

Materials include correspondence, minutes, reports, proposals, memoranda, and agendas. Topics are degree program requirements, administration of curricula, guidance, admission requirements, honors, fellowships, freshman advisors, and academic probation. Note: Folders 19-20 contain the loose materials, dated 1911-1923, from the bound volumes of the Minutes of the General Faculty Meetings, Trinity College.

E. Commission on Faculty Reorganization, 1951-1952

Materials include agendas, correspondence, meeting minutes, and reports. A report on the chronology of the committee's work and an investigating sub-committee report are housed here.

F. Faculty Organization Committee, 1951-1962

Document types: reports with cover letters. The contents of this folder include a 1951 Report of the Commission on Faculty Reorganization to the General Faculty of Duke. It lists and discusses the chronology of the commission's work, and includes recommendations for the University Faculty, the University Council, the Undergraduate Faculty Council, the graduate school faculty, the engineering faculty school, and the faculties of the professional schools. This report also includes alternative plans for selecting members of the University Council. The additional two reports dated 1962 deal with the same issue in a similar way, and include cover letters.

Council on Undergraduate Teaching-Minutes (v.), 1934-1941
Box 6
Council on Undergraduate Teaching-Minutes, 1941-1949
Box 6
Council on Undergraduate Teaching-Miscellaneous, 1934-1935
Box 6
Council on Undergraduate Teaching-Miscellaneous, 1935-1936
Box 6
Council on Undergraduate Teaching-Miscellaneous, 1937-1979
Box 6
Council on Undergraduate Teaching-Committee Report, undated (circa 1930s)
Box 6
Faculty-Committee on the Teaching Load of Instructors, 1940
Box 6
Faculty-Standing Committee on the Curricula, 1941-1946
Box 7
Faculty-Standing Committee on the Curricula-Chairman, 1941-1942
Box 7
Faculty-Standing Committee on the Curricula-Secretary, 1941-1942
Box 7
Commission on Faculty Reorganization, 1951-1952
Box 7
Faculty Organization Committee, 1962
Box 7

4. Mailings and Miscellaneous Records, 1930-1979

Miscellaneous memoranda, reports, notes, and other records apparently distributed to the faculty, 1940-1979. Materials include correspondence, newspaper clippings, announcements, memoranda, invitations, minutes, and reports. Topics include: applying for grants, the Academic Senate, new degree programs, honoraria, faculty publications, freshman concerns, family educational rights, international students, regulations for final exams and honor systems, degree candidate lists, post-war international problems, salary, commencement, long-range planning, the Woman's Student government Association, Bylaws, University Religious Council, segregation, attendance policies for undergraduates, and cooperative arrangements between Duke and UNC. Another subject involves the appointments of the University Executive Committee, the various departments, new faculty members and tenured faculty.

Faculty-Miscellaneous records, 1930-1953
Box 7
Faculty-Miscellaneous records, 1954-1963
Box 7
Faculty-Miscellaneous records, 1964-1974
Box 7
Faculty-Miscellaneous records, 1975-1979
Box 7

Historical Note

In its meeting of January 8, 1892, the Board of Trustees of Trinity College appointed a committee to "to collect and prepare a system of Rules, regulations and by-laws for the government of the College." In this first set of bylaws, the Faculty of Trinity College was defined to consist of "Professors, Assistant Professor and Instructors." The Faculty was to assist the President "in the work of instruction, administration, and discipline." Ten years later, the Trustees requested President John C. Kilgo to draw up new bylaws for the school. In the Constitution and Bylaws of 1903, the Faculty was defined to consist of all professors, adjunct professors, and instructors elected by the Board of Trustees or its Executive Committee.

The responsibilities of faculty members, in addition to planning classes and providing instruction, included enacting regulations necessary to carry out instruction, advance the standards of work, and develop the scholarly aims of the school. The Faculty also recommended degree candidates and persons worthy of receiving academic distinction to the trustees. The president nominated all members of the faculty, represented them at public meetings of the university, and called and presided at faculty meetings. The president had to approve all actions of the Faculty, and could veto any action by it, but had to submit his reasons to them in writing. When Duke University was founded in 1924, the trustees amended the University's Bylaws only slightly. The Faculty then consisted of all professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and instructors elected by the Board of Trustees or its Executive Committee. All other definitions and responsibilities of faculty members remained the same. Beginning in 1936 the term "General Faculty" is used in the Bylaws. Members of the General Faculty were responsible for both instruction and research. Each of the colleges, graduate and professional schools had their own faculties with deans elected by the trustees. Each faculty had authority to carry out any educational functions within its field. In the Bylaws of 1952 the General Faculty is defined as the president, secretary of the university, officers whom the president designated as primarily responsible for instruction and research, full instructors or above engaged in work for which university degrees were awarded, and faculty emeriti.

President Few renamed the Undergraduate Council the General Faculty Council at a meeting held on October 28, 1937. According to the 1952 Bylaws, the General Faculty Council consisted of the deans and assistant deans of Trinity College and the Woman's College, the dean of the Graduate School, and the secretary of the General Faculty. Membership also included the chairman and director of undergraduate studies in each department offering instruction in the undergraduate colleges of liberal arts and sciences, as well as one member elected by each department that had five or more teachers giving instruction in arts and sciences. The General Faculty Council met once per month. They discussed curriculum in arts and sciences as well as concerns about education and policies.

Although the goals, responsibilities, and membership of the General Faculty remained constant throughout the years, by 1952 the term "University Faculty" had come into use instead. In addition to the definitions and responsibilities of the Faculty from previous years, in the 1952 bylaws the Faculty was also expected to promote faculty and student welfare; consult with and advise the president on matters of general university policy; and receive information about the affairs of the university. The President served as chairman of the Faculty and the Secretary of the University served as Faculty secretary. The Faculty met regularly in October and February as well as before the June commencement. They also met by request of the president, of the vice-president in the division of education, or of twenty members of the Faculty.

As stated in the 1952 Bylaws, the Council on Undergraduate Teaching consisted of deans and assistant deans of Trinity College, the Woman's College, the College of Engineering, other officers and appointed members, and teachers of all ranks who devoted fifty percent or more of their time to undergraduate instruction. The Council's goals involved improving the quality and efficiency of teaching. The Council had the right to take any action necessary to secure these goals. The Council on Undergraduate Teaching is interchangeably referred to as the Council on Undergraduate Instruction. The origin of the Council dates back to at least 1934.

Only a few minor changes affecting the definition of the Faculty have occurred in the Bylaws since then. In the Bylaws of 1962, the provost, vice presidents, secretary, registrar, and university librarian were included in the University Faculty. Other changes in the bylaws over the years have provided for the carrying out of the Faculty's functions through appropriate councils, committees, and other bodies. These have included a Faculty Council (to oversee educational matters beyond the purview of the individual school's faculties), a Council on Undergraduate Teaching, a Council on the Instruction of Freshmen, and other committees.

Governance and Advisory Councils: As the institution developed President William Preston Few prevailed upon the trustees to organize into committees so that Board members could become more knowledgeable about and involved. Still, during Few's administration he, Vice President and Treasurer Robert Lee Flowers and Dean of the University William H. Wannamaker made decisions on matters of general university policy subject to board approval. This pattern continued after Few's death, despite several formal and informal requests from faculty for more involvement in governance. During and after World War II, some faculty began to actively seek a greater role. In 1946 and again in 1948, our AAUP chapter petitioned the trustees for permission to form a faculty senate that would exercise legislative power. The Board tabled these requests.

Then, in 1950, the newly appointed President, Arthur Hollis Edens, convened a committee to study the organization of the faculty. This "General Faculty's Commission on Faculty Reorganization" submitted its report in 1952, and the Trustees revised the University Bylaws to incorporate some of its recommendations. In the revisions, the organization and responsibilities of the faculty were laid out in specific detail. The 1952 Bylaws also created a faculty-administrative liaison committee called the University Council (q.v.) as a standing committee of the General Faculty. The University Council acted as an advisory body on matters of general University policy and interest. The revisions also created an Undergraduate Faculty Council and an Engineering Faculty Council to oversee undergraduate instruction.

In the 1962 revision of the University Bylaws, the Board of Trustees gave the faculty authority to organize itself as it wished, thereby doing away with the very formal structures of 1952. A report in March 1962 by the University Faculty's Committee on Faculty Organization recommended formation of the Academic Council. The University Policy Advisory Committee was also formed as a successor to the University Council. For additional information about the history, structure and function of the Academic Council, see Professor Don Fluke's history, in the Council's records here.

Related Material

  • Faculty Reference Collection (Duke University Archives)
  • Undergraduate Faculty Council of Arts and Sciences Records (Duke University Archives)
  • Faculty Club of Duke University Records (Duke University Archives)
  • Faculty Census Reports (Duke University Archives)
  • Undergraduate Faculty Council Records (Duke University Archives)

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


The Faculty Records were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1955-1989.

Processing Information

Processed by Jane Veronica Charles, Summer 2000

Encoded by Kimberly Sims, January 2008

Accessions A48-2256, A60-203, A73-152, A73-154, A73-155, A74-4, A75-58, A77-180, A79-27, A79-76, A80-71, A88-30, and A89-89 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.