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A Finding Aid for the Social Science Department Records 1956-2006

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Social Science Department Records

Creator: Ferris State University. Social Sciences Department.

Dates: 1956-2006

Abstract: The Department of Social Sciences was created as a part of the General Education Division of Ferris Institute in 1959. The records of the department consist of administrative files, correspondence, curricula and meeting records. There are also records relating to outside conferences and symposia sponsored by the department. The records span the dates 1956-1988.

Language: English

Quantity: 1.5 cubic feet; 1 records center box

Identification: UA 24.13.1

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Historical Note

In 1959, as part of an organizational restructuring, the Department of Social Sciences was created by Dean James V. Farrell within the General Education division. John S. Taylor, with a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, was hired to be the first department head.

Programs included in the original department included: economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, social science and sociology. Most of these courses were already in the catalog. The new course of Man and Society 1 was designed as "an analytical study of selected problems of man in his social surroundings." Man and Society was the only course listed under the category of Social Sciences. Other courses were listed by program.

Early goals of the department were the creation of a departmental identity, integration of coursework and student-faculty discussion groups and seminars. Faculty offices were in the Starr Building, near the classrooms. The department split off into program based committees to handle curriculum revisions, syllabi organization and methods for improvement of instruction. There was also an overall department curricula committee and regular departmental meetings at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays (usually called monthly).

The department was active in campus life. They were strong supporters of the library and of emerging audiovisual technology. In addition to sponsoring faculty colloquia, they sponsored speakers on current affairs (from the Cuban missile crisis to racism in America) and on historic topics (a Civil War centennial observation) Members were extremely active in campus governance.

Several programs have been added and dropped within the Department of Social Sciences. In 1968, the department underwent a name change to the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Geography. The programs of criminal justice and early education were added. A separate department of History, Economics and Political Science was formed. After its dissolution in 1985, the political science program returned to the renamed Social Sciences department. The criminal justice program was transferred to the College of Education, as was the childhood development program.

Social Sciences Department Heads

Year Department Head
1959-1960 to 1977-1978 John Taylor
1978-1979 to 1988-1989 L. Leon Keyes
1989-1990 to 2006-2007 John Thorp

Scope and Content Note

Although known for technical programs, Ferris Institute had several other programs which did not fall under the Trades and Industrial division. Ferris used a number of combined departmental structures as a way to organize these programs. The Department of Social Sciences, under the General Education division, provides a window in the structuring and significance of such programs on the campus.

These records document the activities and programs for the department primarily during the 1960s and 1970s. Administrative records include correspondence, meeting records, evaluations and schedules. Some correspondence and evaluations came from faculty member Glendon Hynes. The correspondence is fairly routine- either reminding faculty members of procedures or activities or a requesting a higher academic official for approval of a departmental proposal. This department had fairly stable leadership, with only three department heads between 1959-2000. Records were received from John Taylor, but not Keyes. Later departmental records came from Hynes and other collections.

The second series relates to activities sponsored by the department. The department was active in promoting the 85th anniversary lecture series on Man and Machine. They also sponsored an ongoing faculty colloquia in members homes. These records relate more to scheduling and do not contain actual transcriptions of most lectures.

The third series relates to curricula activities of the department. It contains the general curricula committee records followed by material divided by program. Some of these programs may no longer be in existence or attached to this department. It includes proposals, correspondence, and reports.


The papers are divided into three series.

Access Information

Conditions of Access

The Social Sciences Department Records are open for research to all users in accordance with University Archives and Records Management access policies. It is available in the reading room of the Ferris State University Archives.

Conditions of Use

Requests for permission to publish material should be directed to the University Archivist. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Copyright interests for this collection have been transferred to Ferris State University. For more information, contact the University Archivist.

Subject Headings

Below are a list of names, organizations and subjects relating to the collection. Names have been taken from Library of Congress Authority headings whenever possible.

Related Materials

John Taylor Papers. (UA 24.13.50)

Administrative Information


Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box. Social Sciences Department Records. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Provenance (Acquisition Information)

These records were donated to the University Archives by John Taylor at an unknown date and by faculty member Glendon Hynes in April 1991. Other materials were located within other university records.

Processing Information

The Social Sciences Department Records were processed to the folder level by Melinda McMartin Isler in May 2006. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 1.0. A revised finding aid was created in January 2008. A collection level MARC-21 record was prepared and placed in the library online public access catalog. Description based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004).

Separated Materials

Duplicate university publications and material relating to other university offices, such the General Education division were removed from the collection. The majority of this collection came out of the unprocessed collections for John Taylor and Glendon Hynes.

Technical Requirements

This collection consists of typed and handwritten papers of various sizes. There are also some photographs and brochures. There is no specialized software or hardware required for viewing.

Content Listing

Series 1. Administrative Files. 1959-1988.

This series consists of approximately 1.0 cubic feet of records. In this series are the typical governance records of a department including correspondence, departmental evaluations, meeting records, and procedures. It also contains schedules for classes.

The records are arranged alphabetically by subject title.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Annual report. 1960-1979
1 2 Brochures; marketing materials. 1984; undated.
1 3 Budget. 1979-1983.
1 4 Correspondence. February 1963-January 1968.
1 5 Correspondence. February 1968-December 1975.
1 6 Correspondence. January 1976-December 1979.
1 7 Correspondence. January 1980-March 1985.
1 8 Correspondence. April 1985-January 1988.
1 9 Department of History, Political Science and Economics. Correspondence; meetings; programs. 1967-1976.
1 10 Departmental committees. 1970-1986.
1 11 Departmental self study. Report. 1979.
1 12 Evaluations. 1972-1986.
1 13 Faculty lists. 1966-1970.
1 14 General Education. Divisional five year plan. 1960-1961.
1 15 Gerontology/Geriatrics interest survey. 1979.
1 16 Interdisciplinary Futures Committee. School of Education. Grant proposal. 1975.
1 17 Meetings. Agendas; minutes; notes. September 1959-September 1966.
1 18 Meetings. Agendas; minutes; notes. October 1966-December 1970.
1 19 Meetings. Agendas; minutes; notes. January 1971-October 1976.
1 20 Meetings. Agendas; minutes; notes. January 1977-January 1984.
1 21 Meetings. Agendas; minutes; notes. February 1984-May 1987.
1 22 North Central Accreditation departmental self study. 1965.
1 23 North Central Accreditation departmental self study. 1977.
1 24 Retirement. 1965-1987.
1 25 Schedules. 1971-1986.
1 26 Student club. 1966.
1 27 Summer quarter employment/extra employment. 1967-1986.
1 28 Tenure procedures. 1979-1980.
1 29 Tenure procedures. 1981-1988.

Series 2. Conferences; Seminars and Events. 1964-2006.

This series consists of approximately 0.2 cubic feet of records. Of special interest is the departmental colloquia series including schedules, handouts and topics.

The files are arranged chronologically by beginning date of event.

Box Folder Contents
1 30 80th anniversary lecture series. Machines and Free Men. Ferris State College. 1964-1965.
1 31 Colloquia. May 1962-August 1979.
1 32 Colloquia. September 1979-May 1982.
1 33 Colloquia. October 1982-February 1985.
1 34 Colloquia. March 1985-May 1987.
1 35 Midwest Biennial Social Work Education Conference. 2006.

Series 3. Curricula; Program Files. 1956-1986; undated.

This series consists of approximately 0.3 cubic feet of records. These are curricula related records for the whole department, and programs which are part of the department.

They are arranged with the general curricula material first, followed by individual programs, alphabetized by name.

Box Folder Contents
1 36 Curriculum committee 1956-1984.
1 37 Curriculum. Social Sciences 101; Social Sciences 102. 1964-1986; undated.
1 38 Curriculum. Social Sciences 103. 1965-1967; undated.
1 39 Anthropology program. Courses. 1978-1981.
1 40 Earth science program. Proposal. Ca. 1965.
1 41 Economics program. Courses. 1962-1967.
1 42 Economics program. Curriculum. 1960-1961.
1 43 Geography program. Courses. 1977.
1 44 Geography program. Curriculum. 1962-1965; undated.
1 45 History program. Courses. 1962-1963.
1 46 History program. Curriculum. 1961-1965.
1 47 Political science program. Courses. 1962-1965.
1 48 Political science program. Curriculum. Undated.
1 49 Psychology program. Courses. 1961-1981.
1 50 Psychology program. Program proposal. 1961.
1 51 Social services program. Academic Program Review. 1982-1983.
1 52 Social services program. Courses. 1981-1985.
1 53 Social services program. Curriculum. 1977-1985.
1 54 Social services technician program. Curriculum. 1970.
1 55 Social services- education program. Curriculum. Undated.
1 56 Social studies program. Report. Undated.
1 57 Sociology program. Correspondence. 1976-1981.
1 58 Sociology program. Courses. 1961-1984.