Institutional Research Data from the 1960s

The term institutional research data was not in use in 1960, but that is exactly what Director of University Planning Stanley Salmen was collecting and studying. In a recently discovered set of boxes, we found a number of binders from Salmen’s office.  Labeled as “Course Study,” these binders hold enrollment numbers, tuition data, faculty salaries and even faculty retirement dates for all schools and all departments on the Morningside Heights campus from 1960 to 1966.

Stanley Salmen joined Columbia in 1956 as Coordinator (and later Director) of the newly created Office of University Planning. An accomplished administrator who had served a number of roles at Harvard and in private corporations, he was charged with the development and planning of academic programs, including financial and space planning for departments, programs, and schools. 

“Course Study” is a set of data compiled by department and/or school. For each academic unit, the data includes budget information for the last 5 years; enrollment figures and degrees conferred; personnel information (number of tenured and junior members, year of birth, years to retirement); and course information organized by faculty member: faculty member’s name, rank and salary; courses taught (course names, course number and credit units); enrollment numbers and tuition dollars based on credits times enrollment. The set starts with the figures for 1960-1961 and is more or less complete to 1965-1966.

Margaret Mead. Scan 1175. Historical Photograph Collection, University Archives.

In looking at the information in the very first folder of this series, one finds an unfortunate fact. For 1960-1961, in the Department of Anthropology, Prof. Conrad Arensberg taught six courses worth a combined 18 credits to a total of 99 students. This means that he brought in $11,880 tuition dollars, while receiving a salary of $15,000. Similarly, his colleague Prof. Joseph Greenberg taught (or was part of) 8 courses, worth a combined 19.5 credits to 83 students. That is comparable to $9,600 tuition dollars, while earning a salary of $13,000. What is not similar is the figure that one finds just two pages later. There is an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Anthropology by the name of Margaret Mead. Yes, that Margaret Mead. By 1960-1961 Prof. Mead was already a household name and she also held an Associate Curator appointment at the American Museum of Natural History. This popular figure was teaching a mostly full load of 5 courses (15 credits) but to a much bigger audience: 171 students. That’s $20,520 tuition dollars for Columbia. And what was the salary for Prof. Mead? $2,400. That is not a typo. 

The Course Study data and additional planning information can be found in the Office of University Planning records, 1956-1967. Salmen was better known in the press for campus expansion projects including Uris Hall, the Law School, and other real estate transactions. He struggled in his relationships with the surrounding community and left the University in 1967. After Salmen’s departure, the Office of University Planning was dissolved and its duties were sorted among two new offices: One was the Office of the Vice President for Administration, see the Warren F. Goodell papers, 1962-1970. The other new position was the Vice President for Business, see the Thomas McGoey papers, 1930s-1970s.