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Johns Hopkins University General Assembly records

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-04-013

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Records of the General Assembly date from 1950 through 1984, although few records exist prior to 1971. Arranged in one series, the first two folders contain information on the creation of the General Assembly; the remainder of the records consist of minutes, agendas and supporting papers. The supporting papers generally consist of correspondence, reports and memoranda, serving to illustrate the types of problems the Assembly considered and its relation with other governing boards, particularly the Group Council.


  • Creation: 1950-1984


Use Restrictions

Administrative records in this record group are restricted for twenty-five years from their date of creation. For details, see Regulations Governing Access to Restricted Records, in the front of each binder.


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.


0.57 Cubic Feet (1 letter size document box, 1 letter half-size document box)

Language of Materials



Most of the records of the General Assembly were given to the Archives by the Registrar's Office. The records from 1971 on were found in the records of the Department of Physics.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Maryanne Courtney, Sean DiGiovanna and Deborah Jeffrey. Additional processing by Annie Tang in December 2017.

Guide to the Johns Hopkins University General Assembly records
Annie Tang
December 2017
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA