The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Page  356

THE OFFICE OF EDUCATIONAL INVESTIGATIONS

THE office of educational investigations represents one of the functions of the office of the president. Its budget is included therein. The vice-president in charge of educational investigations is a consulting member of the president's staff with respect to the general educational policy of the University. As such, he is in part responsible for studies which concern the interrelations of curriculums, their development, and their efficiency in attaining objectives finally agreed upon as appropriate functions of the University. He is a member of the committee on office personnel and of the committee on faculty personnel. In order that he may perform these functions, budget curves, salary ranges, teaching loads, faculty activities, and changes in curriculum are collected and recorded.

The staff is also charged with the duty of assisting in the general program of selection and progress of students. The office maintains oversight of the mechanical equipment such as sorting and tabulating machines used in these studies and in all research projects. Its technical staff is available for consultation on all such investigations. The program of selection is in part directly performed by this staff; however, they are also consulted with respect to all major studies and issue studies of their own. The function of examining includes testing for selection of students, achievement examinations, and aptitude measurements.

Historically, the several activities just enumerated stem from many sources, and in turn others once largely a function of the president have now become separate bureaus and University offices. The offices of the dean of students, the dean of women, the director of student-alumni relations, the counselor to new students, and the recently appointed director of residence halls have been developed in this way, as have the student advisory systems that have grown up in the several schools and colleges. Also from the general function of student supervision have arisen such specific activities as the University Health Service and the Bureau of Appointments and Occupational Information. The Board in Control of Physical Education and the Board in Control of Student Publications represent other types of subdivision. Likewise, the Bureau of Alumni Relations, the Bureau of Co-operation with Educational Institutions, the University Extension Service, and the office of the vice-president in charge of University relations indicate subdivisions of earlier presidential duties.

In general these varied activities had for many years been largely distributed among regular administrative officers and members of the faculty. During the administration of President Burton many of them were brought together in formal organizations. President Little continued the trend in the phases of student personnel, and President Ruthven's administration began the collection and study of data relating to the more general administrative and educational policies, while still continuing the development of services to the students.

The question of providing special facilities for the educational and vocational guidance of students was discussed by President Burton with the Regents and in his annual reports from the beginning. The University Senate appointed a committee which brought in a report in 1924 Page  357recommending that a bureau of placement and guidance should be established. The year before, a committee of students had requested permission to establish such a service in the Michigan Union. The autumn of 1927 saw the first steps of this program in action. William A. Frayer, Professor of History, was in charge of orientation work and of certain related problems in curriculum adjustment and housing (R.P., 1923-26, p. 805). The same year, a separate office for vocational advice and educational guidance was established. An all-University testing program for freshmen was also begun. In June, 1927, these functions and others were brought together under the general title "Bureau of University Research."

During 1911 and 1912 the Regents were especially concerned with the problem of obtaining satisfactory data on the general efficiency of educational administration. They passed a series of resolutions differently worded but with this same general import during this period. The final resolution of the series (Oct., 1912) empowered the president to secure information by departments on the teaching and consultation hours of each staff member, the number of courses taught, and the number of students in each course. This resolution also asked for room capacity and the frequency of use of each room.

Details of this sort were well known to the Regents in the earlier years of the University's history because of their close association with the smaller staff and their concern with all details of administration. Yet, as early as 1875, President Angell found it desirable to request members of the faculty to furnish data on all these activities. His request included a statement that these data were for information of the legislature. A more systematic method of reporting had become necessary.

No full report covering all the details requested was forthcoming until some years later. During President Burton's administration the need for additional space and for new buildings became so apparent that requests for them were prepared for presentation to the legislature. To demonstrate this need, the President and the deans requested Frank E. Robbins, then Assistant Professor of Greek, to obtain detailed data on existing capacity and its use. This report was presented in November, 1921, and constitutes the first complete summary dealing with use of classroom space of which there is record. At intervals, Robbins continued to prepare further reports of this nature until the work was taken over in 1927 by the Bureau of University Research.

The preparation of periodical reports on use of rooms was continued for several years by this bureau. These reports were gradually enlarged to include data on size of class, number of courses and sections offered by semesters, and number of these taught by each instructor. Later, additional reports were requested covering the activities of the staff of a University nature not included in the teaching function. Each year, or biennially, a fairly comprehensive view of the numerous duties of a staff member can be obtained from these reports. During 1929, a detailed study of the teaching and technical personnel below the rank of professor was prepared. The office-personnel study was also brought to a conclusion at this time.

The titles director of educational investigations and Bureau of Educational Investigations were discontinued in 1930 and the office of vice-president of educational investigations was created. The previous functions of the Bureau were continued under the new organization. In addition, this office began to assist the Page  358faculties in studying curricular changes, in improving examination procedures, and in developing educational experimentation.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

President's Report, Univ. Mich., 1875, 1920-40.
Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1920-40. (R.P.)