Note on History of the Barnard Faculty

                                Note on the History of the Barnard Faculty
Five Distinctive Features:

1. Gradual alienation/differentiation/weaning from Columbia parentage

Barnard faculty begun as an adjunct to the much older, much larger, more graduate-instruction-focused Columbia faculty
Between 1889 and 1900, all Barnard male instructors were rented from Columbia, where they had been trained and held junior appointments; only a handful of women instructors (Emily Gregory) drawn from elsewhere;

First senior faculty to teach at Barnard –the historian Levi Osgood, the economist John Bates  Clark, the mathematician Frank Cole) did so in 1895 — did so  under financial arrangements worked out (and paid for) by President Low whereby their appointments at Barnard created faculty-swapping opportunities thereafter

All sixteen male professors who constituted the first autonomous Barnard faculty in 1900 were members of one or more of four of Columbia’s faculties (Faculties of Philosophy, Political Science, Pure Science, Columbia College), and most of eventually reverted fully to Columbia.

Most Barnard faculty – men and women — through the 1930s received their graduate training from Columbia, where most had begun their teaching careers before taking up appointments at Barnard;

Among Barnard faculty into the 1950s, most of those who resigned to take up another academic appointment, moved over to Columbia;

Beginning in 1950s, Barnard faculty consisted  of fewer Columbia-trained or Columbia-apprenticed; more of its hires trained at other Ivies or major state universities; more of its senior hires coming from from universities other than Columbia;

Persistent BC/CU faculty connections:

Presence of joint appointments — and of BC faculty teaching in CU graduate program
Existence of “integrated” departments
Presence of cross-Broadway faculty collaborations
Role of Columbia assessment in Barnard appointments and tenure decisions

2. Gradual Feminization

Early BC instructional staff predominantly male, especially at the senior level, with a small number/percentage of women consigned to junior ranks, where they remained for extended apprenticeships.
First female adjunct professor (rank confers membership in faculty)
First female full professor?

 Women first constitute a majority of BC full-time instructional staff in the late 1930s; do not become a majority of the tenured staff until the late 1970s or a majority of department chairs until the 1990s

Barnard Faculty Appointments, by Quarter Century and Gender

Period All BC Faculty Men Women % Women
1889 – 1914 60 41 19  31%
1915 – 1939 61 28 33  54%
1940 – 1964 80 38 42  52.5%
1965 – 1989 156 72 84  54%
1990 – 2014 266 89 177  66%
1889 – 2014 623 268 355  57%


3. Relatively Stable Faculty Representation among three traditional fields –
Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences

Barnard Faulty by Quarter-Century and Field, 1889 – 2014

Period Sciences Social Sciences Humanities Other  
1889 – 1914 17 16 26 1 60
1915 – 1939 13 16 27 5 61
1940 – 1964
1965 – 1989
1990 – 2014



4. Gradual Assimilation of Faculty with interests outside Traditional Arts & Sciences Subjects;
Leads to more Interdisciplinary Faculty Appointments

Relatively early acceptance/introduction of the performing arts in the curriculum
—  Theatre (Minor Latham,1914);
—  Music (Douglas Moore,1928);
— Dance (Jeanette Roosevelt, 1960s)

Fine arts/art history (Ernest De Wald, 1923)

Introduction of interdisciplinary programs in late 1930s:
Medieval Studies (Ethel Sturtevant)
American Studies/American Civilization (Elizabeth Reynard)

Religion in 1950s (Ursula Niebuhr)
Education Program in 1950s
Social Work Program in 1950s (Gladys Meyer)

Women’s Studies in 1970s
Environmental Studies/ Science in 1970s

Architecture Program in 1980s
Urban Studies Program in 1980s

African-American/Africana Studies in 1980s, 1990s

Human Rights Program in 1990s


5. Stiffening of Qualifications for Tenure Appointments since 1960s

Increased evidence of scholarly productivity/promise expected of junior faculty;
teaching competence/effectiveness necessary but no longer sufficient criteria for tenure

Scholarly expectations approximating those for Columbia tenure promotions in social sciences and humanities)

More turnover in junior ranks

Greater reliance on outside senior appointments to fill senior vacancies
Barnard tenure nominations subject to review by University Provost-appointed Ad Hoc Review Committee, as were Columbia nominations

2005 — Tenure decisions now in hands of Tenure Review Advisory Committee (TRAC), a standing committee with regular Barnard representation; Barnard cases fare better under this arrangement.

BMc 9/2/2021

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.