Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)UB/FAC1
TitleRecords of the Faculty of Arts
Extent47 boxes
DescriptionMinutes of Faculty of Arts Board and of Faculty of Arts committees which reported to the Faculty of Arts Board; index book and attendance book of Faculty of Arts Board; circular notices sent to academic staff in the Faculty of Arts which relate to meetings and other Faculty business; administrative records of the Faculty of Arts including registers of MA students, examination invigilators, and applicants for jobs in the Faculty of Arts, and files of papers relating to the development of the Faculty of Arts after the Second World War and particularly to the use of room space in university buildings at both Edmund Street and Edgbaston; papers of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts Henry Alfred Cronne, largely consisting of correspondence; and the Faculty of Arts publication 'The Open Book' and information booklets for student applicants

Records of the Faculty of Arts Board cover the entire period that the Faculty structure existed at the University of Birmingham 1900-1998. Records of Faculty of Arts committees mostly date from the post 1945 period, but there are some minutes which date from the period before 1914. Circular notices relating to Faculty of Arts business date from 1931 to 1945. Most of the administrative records date from between the 1930s and 1950s, but some of the registers relating to MA students cover the period to 1981. There is also a set of five year plans for each of the Schools in the Faculty of Arts, 1997-2001 which post-date the Faculty structure. The only surviving records of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts are those of Henry Alfred Cronne who was Dean between 1952 and 1955. The only surviving publication of the Faculty of Arts, 'The Open Book' was produced by students between 1922 and 1923. There are also some information booklets containing information about Faculty of Arts courses, produced for student applicants in 1947 and 1964

Minutes of the Faculty of Arts Board, in particular, allow for the study of the development of the Faculty and its academic departments over the course of the twentieth century and, though incomplete, the other records provide a useful source of information about particular aspects of the Faculty's history. The good survival of non-committee records for the period from the 1930s to the 1950s, for example, makes it possible to study the Faculty's use of physical space at both Edmund Street and Edgbaston and immediate post-war development of the Faculty
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue
Access StatusOpen, but subject to some access restrictions
Creator NameUniversity of Birmingham, 1900-
Administrative HistoryThe University of Birmingham was divided into Faculties from its foundation in 1900, and these were a continuation of the Faculties which had existed in Mason Science College, its predecessor institution. The Faculty of Arts at Mason Science College had been established when academic staff in Greek and Latin, English language and literature, and French and German language and literature were appointed for the 1881-1882 academic session.

The Faculty structure was set out in the University Statutes and Ordinances. The Dean of the Faculty of Arts was appointed by members of the Faculty, for three years. The Dean was a member of the Senate and chaired the Faculty Board. Other members of the Faculty and Faculty Board were the Vice-Chancellor and Principal; the Vice-Principal and later Pro-Vice-Chancellors; the Deputy Dean or Executive Dean when that post was established; the University Librarian; all Professors and all those holding posts of professorial status in the Faculty; all non-professorial Heads of Schools and Departments in the Faculty; representative staff members; representative student members; and attached members

Faculty Boards were responsible under the Senate for organising, regulating and directing the academic work within the Faculty in teaching, examining and research. They reported to Senate but also to the Committee of Principals and Deans. The Faculty Boards had powers to make recommendations concerning programmes of study within the Faculty; to make recommendations on the appointment of External Examiners in the Faculty; to make recommendations for the necessary Ordinances and Regulations and to make special Regulations and Rules concerning Degrees, Diplomas, Prizes, examinations and assessment and concerning the results and other matters pertaining to the Faculty; to transact any other academic business pertaining to the Faculty; and to take into consideration any matter bearing upon the work and development of the Faculty

Faculty Boards could delegate business to committees appointed to report to the Faculty Board, and there is evidence that a number of committees were set up to deal with specific Faculty of Arts business at the University expanded. However, almost none of the records of these committees have survived and so the primary source of information for the functions and activities of the Faculty of Arts is the records of the Faculty Board. School committees and Boards of Studies reported to the Faculty Board, and some of these have survived

Edward Adolf Sonnenschein, Professor of Greek and Latin at Mason Science College, was the first Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Birmingham. In 1900 the Faculty consisted of academic staff in Classics, English, modern languages, and Philosophy. The Faculty was smaller than both the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine, and
provision of facilities and funding for staff and students was considered to be less important than the expansion of science and medicine in the early years after the foundation of the University.
However, Chairs of History, Education, Geography, and Music were founded before 1914, and a Chair of Russian in 1917 which formed the core of the School of Slavonic Studies. Fine Arts, represented by the Barber Institute, was added in the 1930s, and a Chair of Theology was established in 1940. The Department of Education was part of the Faculty of Arts until 1966

Arts subjects were considered to be secondary to science and medicine, and to commerce at the new university. There was less publicity about courses and much less sponsorship and support from local industry. The Faculty remained in accommodation in the original Mason College buildings at Edmund Street in Birmingham city centre until 1960 when it was eventually able to move out to purpose built accommodation on the Edgbaston campus. The Faculty grew in the 1960s as part of wider university expansion, and the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, the Centre of West African Studies, departments of Byzantine Studies, Drama, and American and Canadian Studies, and the Shakespeare Institute were all established during this period.

Faculty registries were introduced in the 1950s to support academics in running Faculties, though these were later abolished. The post of Sub-Dean was established to share some of the increasing responsibility of the Dean for running the Faculty and its budget.
The Faculty structure was abolished at the end of the 1997-1997 academic session and the academic Schools and Departments were given responsibility for their own activities. In 2009 the University was re-organised into five academic Colleges, each of which consisted of a number of Schools and Departments
Custodial HistoryFaculty of Arts records were transferred to Special Collections in 1989-1990 as part of a project to gather and sort the university's institutional archives, with subsequent transfers of later records. Some records had already been transferred to Special Collections before this date, including records of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and the Faculty of Arts publication 'The Open Book'


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