In January 1950, President Bronk read to the Academic Council a letter from a group of faculty concerning the objectives of the University, enlarging upon it with a statement of his own views. As a result, the Academic Council requested that Bronk appoint a committee to consider the objectives of the University and report back to the Council. In May, the Faculty Committee on University Development presented its report to the Academic Council, recommending that the University pursue the ideal of emphasizing scholarship and research, to be carried on by faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students alike, without distinction.
This plan, nearly identical to a scheme advocated in the early 1920s by President Frank J. Goodnow, was variously referred to as the "Bronk Plan," or the "New Plan." Bronk called for limiting admission to those capable of pursuing advanced scholarship, envisioning entrance exams designed to identify such individuals. The traditional undergraduate degrees would be abolished, with students only admitted at the old junior level or above, all working toward a graduate degree.
The Academic Council circulated the report to all professors in the Faculty of Philosophy. Although nearly all faculty members were sympathetic to the aims of the plan, several noted practical difficulties: the reduction of the tuition base, the loss of contributions of non-scholarly students, the unavailability of scholarship funds, the difficulty of selecting capable students, and the inability of most college sophomores to make definite career plans.
Although the Bronk plan was eventually discarded, one direct result of the plan was the creation of a General Assembly in November 1950, replacing both the Board of University Studies and the Board of Collegiate Studies. Initially called the General Council, the General Assembly serves as a forum for faculty discussions and recommendations on matters of concern to the University, especially general educational policy. Chaired by the president of the University, the Assembly consisted of all faculty members holding full-time appointments in the Faculty of Philosophy (later, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences) as assistant professor or higher, as well as "such other individuals as may be elected to membership by the General Assembly." The Academic Council presented for membership faculty from the Schools of Medicine, Engineering, Continuing Education, Hygiene and Public Health, Advanced International Studies, as well as the Chesapeake Bay Institute and, ex officio, the Registrar, Librarian, Director of Admissions and Provost. The General Assembly discusses such matters as degree requirements, admissions policy, curriculum, academic integrity and systems of grading.