Bureau of School Services (University of Michigan) records, 1871-1992
Using These Materials
- The records are open for research.
- University of Michigan. Bureau of School Services.
- University of Michigan unit established in 1871 to accredit secondary schools. Consists primarily of accreditation inspection reports, 1871-1992, representing over 1,000 public and private high schools in Michigan. Reports include information on demographics, facilities, finances, curriculum, staffing, and reviewers comments. Some early reports were completed by John Dewey. Files are arranged by school alphabetically by city. The state assumed accreditation responsibility in 1992.
- 166 linear feet
- Call Number:
- 8727 Bimu C5 2
- Finding aid prepared by: Kimberlee J. Mayer, 1997
- Scope and Content:
The records of the Bureau of School Service are comprised of 166 linear feet spanning the dates 1871 to 1992. The record group has been divided into three series: Administrative Files, Accreditation Inspection Reports, and Detroit High School Study Commission.
- Biographical / Historical:
In 1871 the University of Michigan became the first university in the United States to drop the admissions requirement of entrance examinations and offer instead a program of voluntary accreditation to public, private, and parochial secondary schools. Michigan high schools that wanted to enter into this arrangement were visited by a university faculty committee that appraised the schools for their work in science, philosophy, and the arts. A school that passed the minimum criteria in all three areas would be accredited. By 1876 accreditation specifications had changed to accommodate schools that were strong in only one or two of the subject areas. Students from these schools would be granted entrance to select university programs depending on the accreditation status of the secondary school from which they graduated. During the early years of the program, requests for accreditation came from outside of the state, including schools in California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. In 1884 admission to the University of Michigan by diploma was extended to high schools outside of Michigan. By May of 1900, a single system of entrance requirements went into effect.
Five Michigan high schools were accredited the first year, these being Adrian High School, Ann Arbor High School, Central High School of Detroit, Central High School of Flint, and Jackson High School. In 1900 there were 127 accredited schools. By 1951 this number had reached 635.
In 1899, at the recommendation of the faculty of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, the Board of Regents agreed that an individual was needed to oversee the accreditation program on a full-time basis. Thus, Alan S. Whitney, who went on to become chair of the Department of Education and the first dean of the School of Education, was appointed the first full-time inspector of high schools. He was followed in 1914 by Dr. James B. Edmonson, who later became the second dean of the School of Education. In 1929 Dr. George E. Carrothers became director of what had come to be known as the Division of University Inspection of High Schools. In 1932 the unit was reorganized and renamed as the Bureau of Cooperation with Educational Institutions.
In 1948 the Board of Regents authorized the establishment of the Bureau of School Services, effectively combining the activities of the Bureau of Educational Reference and Research, the Bureau of Cooperation with Educational Institutions, and other support units. The Bureau's administrative hierarchy consisted of a director, who reported directly to the Board of Regents, and a coordinating or executive committee consisting of deans, professors, and administrators appointed by the Board of Regents. Provost James P. Adams remarked that "The establishment of the Bureau of School Services will make possible the extension and development of the University's services to schools and the communities of the State." (Letter to Schools, vol. 1, no. 1, June 1948). The Bureau's function, as explained by the provost, was to coordinate within the university the activities previously carried out by a number of separate agencies. It was to extend the services already provided and develop new services to the schools as needed. Additionally, it would act as a central office of communication with the schools regarding the services of the university. Over the years, the services provided to both public and private high schools have included consulting services in a variety of areas such as testing and evaluation, libraries, area studies, journalism, and curriculum. The Bureau also sponsored and directed a number of conferences, including the annual Citizenship Conference; the Conference for School Board Members, School Officials, and Laymen; Cheerleaders' Clinics; Forensic Day; Secondary School Conference of the Schoolmasters Club; and a number of area conferences and smaller meetings between school administrators and university representatives.
In 1970 oversight of the Bureau of School Services was moved to the School of Education. The director reported to the assistant dean of Services and Institutional Relations. The executive committee was replaced by a University Advisory Committee, which was chaired by the dean of the School of Education and composed of the Administrative Dean of the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the deans of the College of Engineering, the School of Music, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
The accreditation program provided minimum standards for secondary schools to seek to attain and surpass. Accreditation visits took place once every five to seven years by a university appointed accreditation consultant, meaning that each year approximately one-fifth of the accredited high schools were visited in any given year. During the visit teachers and programs were evaluated. These evaluations were combined with a report that was submitted by the school to determine accreditation status. In addition to its accreditation function, the Bureau also served as a liaison between the Michigan State Department of Education and the various school districts.
In 1983 a review committee evaluating the School of Education recommended closure of the Bureau. At this point the Bureau continued, but was pushed to become a self-supporting entity. In 1984, following a reorganization of the School of Education, the Bureau became part of the Bureau of School Improvement and Standards, which was subsequently reorganized as the Bureau of Accreditation and School Improvement Studies. The Bureau of School Services finally closed in 1992 when the Michigan State Department of Education took over accreditation activity.
The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools was a somewhat separate accreditation agency that maintained close ties with the university's accreditation program. The Association began in 1895 and maintained its main office at the University of Michigan. Some of its files were transferred with those of the Bureau of School Services and are inter-filed within the Bureau's accreditation inspection reports. The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools still maintains a regional program on campus at the University of Michigan.
Sources Consulted for History of Bureau of School Services
History compiled from the following sources: Letter to Schools from the University of Michigan (vol. I, no. 1, June 1948; and vol. IV, no. 2, November 1951); University of Michigan Office of the Registrar history (finding aid), Accreditation Standards, 1991-92 (Bureau of Accreditation and School Improvement Studies, School of Education, University of Michigan); The University of Michigan List of Exemplary School Programs, 1990-91 (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor); The University of Michigan Accredited Schools, 1990-1991 (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor); and The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, vol. 5 (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1977).
- Acquisition Information:
- The record group was received in two accessions: 1953 and 1996 (donor no. 3008 ).
- Physical Location:
- Boxes 2-166 stored offsite, two days notice required for retrieval.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Education -- Michigan.
Schools -- Michigan.
Education, Secondary -- Michigan.
High Schools -- Michigan.
School management and organization -- Michigan.
University of Michigan. Committee on Diploma Schools.
University of Michigan. School of Education.
Detroit High School Study Commission.
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (U.S.)
University of Michigan. Bureau of Cooperation with Educational Institutions.
Dewey, John, 1859-1952.
Robinson, Remus, 1904-1970.
Whitney, Allen Sisson, 1857-1944.
Using These Materials
The records are open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
item, folder title, box no., Bureau of School Services (University of Michigan) Records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan