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From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:



Faculty of one (President James Manning) was enough to instruct a student body of one (William Rogers) in 1765. In 1768 the faculty was doubled by the appointment of David Howell, a 1766 graduate of New Jersey College (Princeton) as a tutor. The next year Howell was named professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. The faculty was enlarged in 1784 by the appointment of Joseph Brown as professor of natural philosophy and Benjamin Waterhouse as professor of natural history, both of whom, according to President Manning, “engaged to give Lectures in their respective Branches, without any Expence to the College, while destitute of an Endowment.” Benjamin West lectured in mathematics and astronomy and Perez Fobes in natural philosophy from 1786 to 1798 when Asa Messer took over in these subjects. A professor of learned languages, Calvin Park, was engaged in 1804. Medical lectures were first offered in 1811 and it was necessary to procure professors in botany, chemistry, and medical subjects. In 1815, Tristam Burges was appointed to fill the first endowed professorship, that of Oratory and Belles Lettres, established by Nicholas Brown 1786 in 1804.

When President Wayland arrived in 1827, determined to take control of a student body which had become unruly, he revived a former rule that required the officers of instruction to visit the students’ rooms and added to it that the officers must “occupy rooms in College, during the hours appointed to study.” The result was the loss of the medical school professors, who made their livelihood not from the students’ fees, but from their medical practices, and also the departure of Professor Tristam Burges, who as a member of the United States Congress was not always available. That left a faculty of three professors and two tutors. Ten years later there were six professors and three tutors. The tutors were dismissed in 1846 to save funds, but two years later the senior professors were complaining about the added work and their own inadequate salaries. After President Wayland’s New System with its curricular changes was introduced in 1850, the professors were given a choice of salaries, $1,200 per year or $500 per year augmented by fees based on the number of students in their classes. In 1856 the New System was abandoned and the professors’ salaries were set at $1,200.

President Ezekiel Gilman Robinson, arriving in 1872, was responsible for adding professorships in the sciences and modern languages. In Robinson’s last year, 1888-1889, there were fourteen professors, two assistant professors, and six instructors. Ten years later, in the last year of E. Benjamin Andrews’ presidency, the totals have risen to 24 professors, ten associate professors, two assistant professors, and 22 instructors. In the nineteenth century the University drew its faculty from its own graduates, but in 1914 Walter C. Bronson pointed out in his History of Brown University that the faculty “have had healthful diversity of training: fifty-four per cent of the teachers of professorial rank hold first degrees from colleges other than Brown, and sixty-five per cent have studied at two or more institutions; fifty-six per cent are Doctors of Philosophy.” The professorial ranks of the faculty quadrupled in the thirty years of President Faunce’s administration to 38 professors, 34 associate professors, and 41 assistant professors.

The admission of women students in 1891 brought about the appointment of the first women faculty members, hired to teach those courses which could not be taught to young ladies by a male professor, namely, biology, hygiene, and physical education. The first dean of the Women’s College was a man, Louis Franklin Snow. The second, Anne Crosby Emery, was not a member of the teaching faculty, and she resigned her position when she married Professor Francis G. Allinson. Lida Shaw King, the third dean, had the title of assistant professor of classical philology from 1905 to 1909 and professor of classical literature and archaeology from 1909 to 1922. Margaret S. Morriss, succeeding Dean King, was named associate professor of American history in 1923 and promoted to professor in 1932. The women’s biology course continued to be taught by women, but Magel C. Wilder ’19, who became an instructor in biology at the Women’s College in 1921 and was named assistant professor in 1930, also taught men students. At the time of her death in 1947, President Wriston said, “So far as I can determine she is the first woman, other than administrative officers, to be appointed a full-time teacher in the University faculty, without having her work limited to Pembroke College, instructing both men and women. In her personal experience, therefore, she epitomized one of the greatest changes in educational theory and practice within this University.”

Tenure was reserved for full professors until 1940, when 36 associate professors and seven assistant professors were given the same privilege. President Henry Wriston explained the philosophy behind the change in an article in the American Scholar: “Each teacher should be given tenure whenever it is clear that he is a success.... A man may be a success, and entitled to this recognition, even though the road to advancement is closed by too many senior departmental colleagues, by restricted institutional funds – or for many other reasons.”

In 1969 the first Faculty Policy Group was elected. The disturbances of previous year had brought to attention the need for a small group representative of the faculty to deal with unexpected situations. The eighteen members elected by the Faculty as a whole were authorized to study and propose policy changes and to act in behalf of the faculty in emergencies. In the 1970s a large majority of the faculty was still male, when Louise Lamphere, an assistant professor of anthropology who had not been granted tenure in 1974, brought a class-action suit against Brown University, charging sex discrimination in hiring, promotion, renewal of contracts, and granting of tenure. The case was settled out of court in September 1977. In addition to granting tenure to Louise Lamphere, and also to Claude Carey, assistant professor of Slavic languages, and Helen Cserr, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, and compensation to Patricia Russian, a former instructor in German, other provisions of the settlement were the establishment of goals and timetables for adding women to the faculty, the development of written standards for faculty employment, and the creation of an Affirmative Action Monitoring Committee. The monitoring committee, charged with implementing the consent decree, was to be composed of five tenured faculty members, two chosen by Louise Lamphere, two elected by the voting members of the faculty, and the fifth to be chosen by the other four. The cost of the settlement came to $1.1 million dollars, including awards to the plaintiffs and other women who filed class action suits, and the expense to Brown of both the plaintiffs’ and the University’s attorneys. President Swearer justified the out-of-court settlement, stating that the University could not justify continuing expenditures on this case, observing that the cost of the plaintiffs’ attorney alone would support fifty financial aid students. In 1977, as required by the federal government, Brown developed an Affirmative Action Plan to increase the number of women and minority members of the faculty. In 1979 there were 64 women (30 tenured, 34 non-tenured) and 35 minority faculty members (25 tenured, 10 non-tenured) out of a total 376 tenured and 113 non-tenured faculty membership. In 1989 Brown’s request that the consent decree be terminated was denied by Judge Raymond Pettine, who ordered the University to grant tenure to thirteen more women by 1991.

The regular faculty have the titles of professor, assistant professor, associate professor, instructor, lecturer, and senior lecturer. Appointments at the professorial rank are limited to seven years unless tenure is granted. The offering of tenure generally takes place at the same time as review for promotion to associate professor. In addition to the regular faculty there are visiting faculty members (lecturers, instructors, and professors), who are on leave from another institution or have no permanent affiliation. Adjunct faculty are those employed elsewhere or in administrative positions at Brown, who are appointed to meet a specific departmental need at a faculty level. Since 1973 tenure has not been granted to hospital-based faculty of the Medical School, for whom senior appointments are for five years and are renewable and appointments as assistant professor are limited to nine years. There is much involvement of the Faculty in the administration and policy development through the approximately forty faculty committees on matters as varied as University planning, awards and benefits, honorary degrees, the library, lectureships, the status of women, prizes and premiums, the curriculum, academic computing, affirmative action, and financial aid.

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.

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