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Academic Council records

 Record Group
Identifier: 001-004-003

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of minutes, reports, and memoranda from the Academic Council meetings, as well as from subcommittees within the Academic Council.


  • Creation: 1970-1982


Biographical / Historical

In 1969, Earle T. Hawkins retired as President of Towson State College, and his successor, James L. Fisher, decided to restructure the school’s governing body, the College Senate. He found that the constitution of the College Senate was impossible to amend because it was difficult to get past the two-thirds vote needed to initiate changes. He no longer wanted to chair the meetings and felt that the number of administrators in the Senate led to a less democratic body. Also, the student body itself had changed -- school programs and enrollment had grown exponentially since 1962 when the College Senate was first created. The Student Government Association as well as the Faculty Association agreed with this assessment and the new governing body, the Academic Council was voted to take over in the fall of 1970.

The first regular meeting of the Academic Council of Towson State College was held on September 29, 1970. The first two meetings were spent ironing out practical details regarding committee membership, responsibilities, and the bylaws were finally approved on December 7, 1970.

The Council was composed of twenty-four voting members: eighteen full-time teaching faculty members (which could also include librarians and the staff at the Lida Lee Tall Learning Center) including the president of the Faculty Association, and six student members, one of whom was to be the president of the SGA. Faculty members, excluding the FA president, were elected to three year terms while students were elected for one year only. The President, Chief Academic Officer, Student Personnel Office, and Business and Finance Officers were all ex officio non-voting members as well.

The Academic Council had four officials who were elected to a one-year term, the Chairman, the Parliamentarian, the Member-at-Large, and the Secretary. These members constituted the Executive Committee. The Chairman was the chief liaison between the Council and the Administration of the school and was responsible for the budget of the Council. The Chairman had sole authority to decide on constitutional, by-laws, and rules of procedure matters, but with a majority vote the Council itself could overrule the Chair. The Parliamentarian advised on matters concerning the constitution, by-laws, and rules of order which followed Robert’s Rules of Order. The Member-At-Large coordinated the Committee activities by receiving all the minutes, policies, and reports. The Secretary wrote up and distributed the agenda as well as recorded the meeting minutes.

Anyone on campus could suggest items to add to the agendas, but the Executive Committee voted on the agenda itself, including the order in which items would be presented. The agendas were distributed to campus one week before each meeting through inter-campus mail as well as posted on bulletin boards throughout campus. Written material for the agenda was kept on reserve at the library. Changes to the agenda could be addressed at the beginning of the meeting, but were subject to a two-thirds majority vote.

During the meetings, the Chairman would call the meeting to order, there would be a roll-call, and then the Chairman would call for approval of the agenda and the minutes of the previous meeting. Officers would then make their monthly reports, beginning with the President of the school, followed by the Deans and Directors, the Presidents of the Faculty Association and the Student Government Association, and finally the Chair of the Council. Old business would be addressed and new business was then introduced and finally any announcements would be made before the meeting was adjourned. The Chair was able to recognize anyone for the purpose of speaking, and while a member could yield to a non-member to speak, any member could also object to the participation of a non-member.

After the meetings, minutes would be distributed to campus within one week, and the meetings were also recorded. Both tapes and written minutes were made available in the library for anyone to use. There were many standing committees within the Council. These included the Academic Standards, Admissions, Curriculum, Promotions and Tenure and Fiscal Affairs and Planning committees. As needs for the school changed, committees adapted. For instance, in 1974, the Bookstore, College Union, and Housing Committees combined under one committee which was then known as the Auxiliary Services Board. Also, ad hoc committees were created on an as needed basis, but were not permanent committees of the Council.

On September 2, 1976, the Academic Council created the ad hoc Committee to Study the Academic Structure of the University, which would become known as the Task Force on Academic Structure and Governance in 1979. Charged with trying to create an ideal governing structure for the school, this committee would ultimately propose the Colleges structure that Towson University uses today. During discussions for this reorganization, a proposal was made to revamp the governing body. This organization would be made up of a minimum number of representatives from each of the Colleges plus more if the size of the College warranted it, the Presidents of the Faculty Association and the Student Government Association, as well as administrators who would serve as ex officio members. This change to the governing body of Towson State University was passed on May 25, 1981, and in the fall of 1982 the Academic Council was replaced by the new University Senate.


22.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Series 1: Academic Council Constitution, By-Laws, and Members This series contains the constitution, drafts, revisions, amendments on structure and functions of the Academic Council.

Series 2: Academic Council Agendas, Meeting Minutes This series contains the agenda, reports, requests of items to add to the agendas, as well as memos sent to members of the College Senate.

Series 3: Academic Council Chairpersons’ Files Records maintained by the Chairperson of the Academic Council for each year.

Series 4: Academic Council Members-at-large Files Records maintained by the Member-at-Large of the Academic Council for each year.

Series 5: Academic Council Secretary’s Files Records maintained by the Secretary of the Academic Council for each year.

Series 6: Academic Council Executive Committee This series contains minutes from the meetings of the Executive Council of the Academic Council. The meetings were chaired by the Vice-President of the Council.

Series 7: Academic Council Academic Standards Committee -- Restricted The committee was responsible for establishing policies regarding standings of the students, issues surrounding transfer credits, and also reviewed petitions and requests related to those procedures.

Series 8: Academic Council Admissions Committee -- Restricted The Admissions Committee recommended policies regarding admission of undergraduate students to the school as well as marketing initiatives to attract students to the school and raise the institution’s image. This committee also worked to attract a diverse student population and encouraged studies of the student population to better understand student success and failure.

Series 9: Academic Council Auxiliary Services Board Begun in 1974, the Auxiliary Services Board was created to oversee dormitories, dining facilities, the use of campus facilities, and the bookstore. It was composed of three faculty members who were appointed for three year terms, three appointed students one of whom must be a resident and one a commuter, and the Director of Auxiliary Services who served as an ex officio, non-voting member.

Series 10: Academic Council Continuing Studies Committee Formerly known as the Summer and Evening Programs Committee, this Committee was re-named in 1979. It was charged with recommending policies and procedures relating to the Continuing Studies programs, students, and faculty for both credit and non-credit work on campus and at extension centers.

Series 11: Academic Council Curriculum Committee This committee was charged with approving all courses, programs, and anything that counted as credit and any changes to those programs as well as maintaining the file recording all those approvals and changes. The committee also coordinated any interdisciplinary course offerings. It was also incumbent upon this committee to study the effectiveness of the curriculum. Subcommittees were formed to oversee individual programs and report back to the Curriculum Committee as a whole.

Series 12: Academic Council Faculty Development Committee Begun in 1977, this Committee worked to increase communication between faculty members as well as publicize opportunities for career development (such as grants for research or travel) through various outreach efforts.

Series 13: Academic Council Faculty Hearing Committee The Faculty Hearing Committee oversaw cases of alleged academic misconduct by faculty members. It was composed of a Chairman who conducted elections of faculty members who would preside over the cases and report their findings.

Series 14: Academic Council Faculty Research Committee This committee was charged with finding financial support for faculty research, creating criteria and guidelines to distribute awards and grants, to advise faculty on opportunities for funding, to promote Towson State College as an institute which encourages and supports research, and review and monitor any research that uses human subjects.

Series 15: Academic Council Fiscal Affairs and Planning Committee Composed of administration, faculty, and students, this committee reviews various budget matters including funding, fiscal welfare of faculty, and land and campus development.

Series 16: Academic Council Graduate Studies Committee This committee created policy and advised the Dean of Graduates Studies on matters related to admissions, curricula, and theses, and reviewed the Graduate Department to ascertain whether it had appropriate staffing and funding and was working effectively.

Series 17: Academic Council Intercollegiate Athletics Committee This committee oversaw budget matters relating to men’s and women’s athletics including gate receipts, recruitment, public relations and travel allowances, oversaw eligibility rules, promotion of scholarship opportunities, insurance matters, physical exams of players, team sizes, and enforcement of the code of ethics for student athletes.

Series 18: Academic Council Library Committee This committee advised on the role of the library within the campus community. It studied the needs of the academic program and advised the Librarian on policy, resources, and approaches to integrating library in the general academic activities. It also served as the representative of the library to the college community, and reviewed budgetary and development policies for the library.

Series 19: Academic Council Long Range Planning Committee Established in 1972, this committee was charged with making recommendations for capital improvement projects on the Towson campus.

Series 20: Academic Council Promotions and Tenure Committee (Restricted) This series contains documents relating to the Promotions and Tenure Committee. Composed of a seven-person board with the Dean of Instruction as a permanent member and the other 6 members who were full-time professors of the College elected by the Faculty, this committee made recommendations to the President regarding tenure, salary increments, and promotions. The series contains meeting minutes, agendas, evaluation forms and data, correspondence, and appeal letters.

Series 21: Academic Council Public Programs Committee This committee oversaw on-campus programs designed to reach a broad audience of both those within the campus community and campus neighbors with the intention of enriching participants’ lives and fostering greater understanding of different philosophies. It oversaw scheduling of programs, budgets, and technical matters such as contracts, publicity, venues, and tickets.

Series 22: Academic Council Student Rights and Responsibilities Committee This committee was charged with safeguarding student rights and freedoms and was also an instrument students could use to voice grievances about any and all college matters.

Series 23: Academic Council Summer and Evening Programs Committee This committee advised the Dean of the Evening and Summer Session about developing policies and procedures relating to programs and faculty and developing new programs. It became the Continuing Studies Committee in 1977.

Series 24: Academic Council Ad Hoc Committees This series contains documents of committees that were created on an as-needed basis and were not part of the permanent committee structure of the Academic Council.

Series 25: Academic Council Audio Recordings This series contains the audiotape recordings of Academic Council meetings, May 10, 1971 until April 10, 1982.

Related Materials

UA00017 Faculty Committee; UA00018 College Senate; UA00020 University Senate

Processing Information

Any duplicate copies were discarded. Some materials were transferred to their original record group -- UA00010, UA00017, UA00019, and AAUP files.

Guide to the Academic Council records
Felicity Knox (metadata updated by John Esh, 2020)
July 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Towson University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Albert S. Cook Library
8000 York Rd
Towson MD 21252 United States