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The last three decades in the history of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies have been characterized by rapid growth in size, number of degrees, and available student support, and by improvement in standing of the academic departments of instruction. The period has been marked by three university administrations, by the incumbencies of three graduate deans with the appointment of a new dean at the period end, and by the manpower problems and the economic stresses of three wars, including World War II, the Korean War, and the current Vietnam conflict.

As the period opened, C. S. Yoakum was Dean and Peter Okkelberg was Assistant Dean. In the years just preceding, the Rackham Building had been finished at a cost of $2,500,000 and dedicated on June 17, 1938, and the five Rackham endowment funds, with a book value of $7,000,000, became available between 1935 and 1938. (The market value of the funds on June 30, 1971 was $15,317,154.55.) The building, which is described in Volume IV of the earlier Encyclopedic Survey, gives the School excellent facilities for offices, reading rooms, and assembly halls. The endowment funds provide unique resources for the support of faculty research and student fellowships as well as for the specific social service objectives of three of the funds. Through these later decades they have continued to support and strengthen the graduate program.

The first part of Dean Yoakum's deanship was a time of steady growth in enrollment and in degrees granted. Both reached new highs in 1939-40 and 1940-41. The outbreak of war brought abrupt changes. Much of the building space was heavily used as classrooms, lecture halls, and study rooms for students training for service in meteorology and other army and navy specialties. The number of regular students fell from a high of 3,083 in 1939-40 to 1,633 in 1943-44, and the number of degrees granted from 1,203 to 582 for the same years. In the first of these years there were 2,078 men and 1,005 women in the regular session; in the second 697 men and 936 women.

The absence of many faculty on war service of some kind and the widespread calls on the University to provide for a variety of war research and military training programs left little time for the development of new graduate programs. Two interesting new programs were for the training of civil administrators for occupied territories and the establishment of two area and language group programs for the government.

During the war years much of Dean Yoakum's time and energy were devoted to the development of University policies related to the war effort and in planning for the postwar period. He did not live to see these plans carried out. Just as the postwar era was beginning Dean Yoakum died on November 20, 1945. Assistant Dean Peter Okkelberg was appointed acting dean.

Dean Okkelberg remarked, in his report to the President for 1945-46, on the difficulties of maintaining high standards of graduate work in the absence of many senior faculty and with the absorption in war research and training of many who remained, with the loss of many students to the war effort, and with the uncertainties hovering over many who were enrolled but were handled by an incomplete faculty and handicapped by equipment and supply shortages.

With the surrender of Japan on September 1, 1945, the war was over. Students were pouring back, with a 50 percent increase in enrollment in 1945-46 over the preceding year as well as in degrees granted. Problems of the return to normal conditions proved troublesome but without the strains or uncertainties of the war period. The Rackham Building was in need of redecoration after the heavy use by army and navy units. The Rackham endowment funds had unexpended income because of under expenditure during the war.

In May 1946, Professor Ralph Sawyer of the Department of Physics was appointed Dean to succeed Dean Yoakum. Dr. Sawyer had been a member of the Physics Department since 1919 but had been absent on leave for the five preceding years — four as a Naval Reserve Officer, chiefly at the Naval Proving Grounds at Dahlgren, Virginia, and for the last six months as civilian Technical Director of the atomic bomb tests in Bikini Atoll. At the time of his appointment Dean Sawyer was with the Naval Task Force at Bikini. He was unable to take up his new post until October, following the completion of the tests and the evaluations of the effects of the two bomb explosions on ships and military supplies and equipment.

In the postwar period graduate enrollment was stimulated by the G.I. educational benefits which made it possible for many veterans to resume or begin educational programs. The result was a steady increase in enrollment, which continued until 1952. At that time the passing of the postwar student bulge and the outbreak of the Korean hostilities caused a decrease in enrollment for a few years until the return of Korean veterans started a new upswing.

A further stimulus to graduate study in this period resulted from the launching by the Soviets of the first orbiting satellites, Sputnik I and II, in October and November 1957. This spectacular achievement convinced Congress and most government agencies of the pressing need for the training of more scientists and engineers and for the expansion of defense-oriented research. The immediate result was a rapid increase in the federal funds for graduate fellowships and for research grants for defense-related work, which could also support graduate student assistants. This condition continued for ten years or more and resulted at Michigan, as in most graduate schools, in doubling student enrollment and the output of Ph.D.s (See Table I for enrollment and degree figures and Table II for the number of fellowships and for available fellowship funds).

Since the distribution of federal research funds could not be uniform across the various fields of the University but favored the scientific and technical areas with the almost total exclusion of the humanities and social sciences, the Executive Board of the Graduate School decided to allot a major part of the research funds at its disposal to help fill their needs. The funds consisted of part of the income from the Horace H. Rackham Fund and of a Faculty Research Fund provided from the General Funds of the University. The amount available varied from year to year but in general was about $250,000. Since the neglected areas do not require large sums for equipment and laboratories, judicious use of these monies enabled significant support to numerous researchers. Through this use of the undesignated research funds at its disposal, the Board was able to make important contributions to the strengthening and growth of areas which otherwise would have lagged behind. The Board also made small "seed money" grants to new and younger faculty members in the health and physical science areas, which enabled these people to start research and establish themselves. In many cases such aid paid off within a very few years many times over in larger federal grants.

The rapid growth in the number of Ph.D. degrees at The University of Michigan and elsewhere led to increasing problems from the almost universal requirement of thesis publication, or at least of a bond or deposit to guarantee publication before the issuance of a diploma. The existing Graduate School regulations at Michigan required a $50 thesis deposit "to guarantee publication of the thesis." Before the deposit could be returned and the diploma issued, publication of the dissertation either in monograph form or in a periodical was required. Since in many fields publication could cost far more than the deposit, the result was the accumulation of an unproductive deposit fund and a feeling of resentment among graduates at failure to receive the diploma they felt they had earned.

In 1947, with the approval of the Board of Regents, the $50 dissertation publication deposit was abolished and replaced by a $30 publication fee. Under this arrangement the thesis is microfilmed immediately after the final doctoral examination. Microfilming includes cataloging of the thesis by the Library of Congress and constitutes official publication, although it does not preclude later printing of the thesis in whole or part. The microfilming is done by University Microfilms of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the abstracts are published in a journal started by University Microfilms in 1938 and entitled Microfilm Abstracts. Efforts were then made to make the publication of Dissertation Abstracts in this form widespread. The Dean became a member of a committee of the Association of Research Libraries on Microfilm Use and undertook through the Association of Graduate Schools to popularize this method of publication. The plan has been remarkably successful. At the present time all but three or four of the major universities in this country use this service for the publication of microfilm abstracts and the distribution of copies of their dissertations.

In 1953 the name of the publication was changed to Dissertation Abstracts. The number of abstracts published in Volume 31, 1970-71, was 33,817 and included all but a few hundred of all dissertations accepted in the United States as well as a small number from Canada and Europe.

The system has great advantages for the Graduate School since there is assurance now that every dissertation is in form for publication at the time it is accepted by the committee and the Graduate School. Every doctoral student is assured that his dissertation will be cataloged in the Library of Congress, the abstract will be made available through Dissertation Abstracts, and copies of his dissertation will be available to all who wish to read it from University Microfilms in microfilm or Xeroxed book form.

The greatly increased availability of federal funds for the support of research led to a need in the University for a central office to handle the various details of contracting for or accepting and managing grants for research support, including contract forms of reporting, accounting, overhead problems, and all related matters which, for the benefit of the contracting agencies and of the University, must be handled in a uniform manner. In 1947-48 the Committee on Budget Administration of the University directed that the budgets on all trust funds supporting research and fellowships should be transmitted through the Graduate School. This arrangement was to allow a more complete reporting of these funds on a University-wide basis. In 1947-48 the special endowment funds and grants from outside sources amounted to about half a million dollars. The amount increased very rapidly in following years as large amounts became available through federal agencies. While the handling of these funds through the Graduate School was appropriate because of the central position of the Graduate School in the University and its function in dealing with graduate research in all colleges and departments, it seemed, as the volume began to mount into millions of dollars, that a separate organization was desirable to handle this work. Accordingly, in 1959, the Dean was appointed as the first Vice-President for Research of the University and given administration over what had been the Engineering Research Institute and which became the Office of Research Administration. The Vice-President, through this office, then undertook the task of assisting members of the faculty in making contacts in Washington with research fund-granting organizations and seeing that the contracts were properly drawn up and executed, that all problems concerning overhead accounting and expenditure were handled in accordance with University policy, so that the granting agencies as well as the faculty knew where to look for central and consistent information on all details of the procedures.

In addition to the administration of the grant and contract research funds, other units not specifically related to a single department or college had attached to the Graduate School either directly or through an executive committee of which the Dean acted as chairman or ex-officio member.

One of the larger of these units is the Institute for Human Adjustment, which was established in 1938 following the gift by Mrs. Mary A. Rackham to the Graduate School of $1,000,000 to establish the Mary A. Rackham Fund. The Institute consisted originally of four divisions: the Speech Clinic, the Fresh Air Camp, the Social Science Research Project, and the Bureau of Psychological Services. The divisions were supported by funds supplied by the Mary A. Rackham fund, the Rackham Sociological Research fund, the Horace H. Rackham fund, and by outside grants, fees, and reimbursement. Clark Tibbitts was appointed as initial director of the Institute for Human Adjustment and served as the director until his resignation in August 1949 to accept a position in Washington. At this time it was decided that the Dean would coordinate the activities of the Institute through the directors of the individual divisions and that no new director would be appointed. To the original divisions, the Division of Gerontology, under the direction of Dr. Wilma Donahue, was added in 1951. Of the original units of the Institute for Human Adjustment only the Bureau of Psychological Services is still attached to the Graduate School.

A report on the activities of the Bureau of Psychological Services during this period is supplied by E. Lowell Kelly, the Director of the Bureau, and follows this report.

In June 1946 the Board of Regents established the Statistical Research Laboratory under the supervision of an executive committee responsible to the Dean and Executive Board of the Graduate School, with C. C. Craig as director. The Laboratory was to have objectives, first, to improve the quality and quantity of research done by the use of statistical methods and to stimulate further investigation in statistical methodology, second, to raise the level and increase the effectiveness of instruction in statistics both in theoretical and applied phases and, third, to employ graduate students of statistics in the Laboratory as technical assistants to strengthen their training. The Laboratory has operated over the intervening period with success and is still attached to the Graduate School. Paul Dwyer, who became director on the retirement of Professor Craig in 1967, has prepared a separate report on its activities. It should be noted, however, that the computer operations of the Research Laboratory, which were begun in December 1955 by installment of an IBM 650 computer, expanded so rapidly and became so large that a separate division of the Statistical Research Laboratory, the Computing Center, was established in 1959 and given a separate location to take care of its larger space needs for equipment. The Statistical Research Laboratory, however, still remains housed in the basement of the Rackham Building under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School.

In the planning of the Rackham Building, it was intended that space would be available for limited periods for individual faculty research projects. The demands of war services and teaching, however, almost at once took over all available free space in the building until the end of World War II. Shortly after the war, several activities were accommodated in the building. In 1949-50 part of the Bureau of Psychological Services of the Institute for Human Adjustment, the Statistical Research Laboratory, the Michigan Historical Collections, the English Language Institute, the Linguistic Atlas, the Gerontology Research, and several individual short-time faculty researchers were housed in the building. In addition to this, Haven Hall was destroyed on June 6, 1950, by an incendiary fire. By shifting and crowding the occupants of the Rackham Building, the departments of History, Journalism, and Sociology, the Bureau of Government, and the Institute of Public Administration, which had been in Haven Hall, were accommodated in temporary quarters in the building. During the course of the year the departments of History, Journalism, and Sociology were able to move to new quarters. The reconstituted library of the Bureau of Government, however, was placed in the basement of the Rackham Building where it still remains, and for a time in 1950 the temporary headquarters of the newly founded School of Social Work were also in the building.

In answer to a request by the Executive Board, the Board of Regents granted a sum of $10,000 in the 1949-50 budget for the appointment of ten summer faculty research fellows for the summer of 1949. These fellowships were intended to allow faculty members to carry on their research uninterruptedly during the summer session. The ten holders of the faculty summer research fellowships for 1949 all reported enthusiastically on their summer activities. They stated that they had accomplished important studies or writing that they could not have done otherwise, and that they had accomplished more than they could in a year or more under normal conditions. In view of the success of these first appointments, the Executive Board asked and received from the administration $15,000 for employment of fifteen summer faculty fellows for the summer of 1950. These appointments have filled a real need and have been continued at a slowly increasing level.

In the past three decades many new programs have developed in response to changes in the field of knowledge and to meet new demands. Over the sixteen-year period from 1955 to 1971, the Executive Board of the Graduate School approved thirty-four new Doctor of Philosophy programs. With their year of establishment, these are:

Aeronautics and Astronautics (1955)

Engineering Materials (1956)

Nuclear Science (1956)

Social Work and Social Science (1956)

American Culture (1957)

Communication Sciences (1957)

Far Eastern Studies (1957)

Genetics (1957)

Human Genetics (1957)

Meteorology (1957)

Pharmacognosy (1958)

Slavic Languages and Literatures (1958)

Industrial Health (1960)

Oceanography (1961)

Radiation Biology (1961) Discontinued 1969

Bioengineering (1963)

Toxicology (1963)

Natural Resources Economics (1964)

Public Health Administration (1966)

Psycholinguistics (1966)

Social Work and Political Science (1966)

Aeronomy (1966)

Water Resources Engineering (1966)

Ecology (1966)

Medicinal Chemistry (1967)

Urban and Regional Planning (1967)

Computer, Information and Control Engineering (1968)

Classical Archeology (1969)

Physiological Acoustics (1969)

Statistics (1969)

Cellular and Molecular Biology (1970)

Music: Music Theory (1970)

Neurosciences (1971)

Cellular and Molecular Biology (Health Sciences — 1971)

The University of Michigan Graduate School has long made a point of encouraging interdepartmental and interdisciplinary programs. It will be noted that a considerable number of the new programs listed above are of this nature. In addition to such formal programs involving two or more departments, the Executive Board of the Graduate School has also approved individual student programs, leading to the doctoral degree representing two or more departments, with the establishment of special doctoral committees set up by the Board to manage these programs.

Hardly a year passes without the addition of new degree or degree programs. The most important new kind of degree initiated recently in the Graduate School is the Doctor of Arts degree. After much discussion with departments and other graduate schools, the Regents established this degree in 1971 as one involving advanced graduate education leading to a range of professional practices, including prominently collegiate-level teaching.

The degree emphasizes breadth of subject matter competence and an internship in an appropriate professional activity other than research. Though not requiring a research dissertation, it calls for an analytical paper or other piece of work demonstrating scholarly ability. The first program was authorized in English in March 1971.

Two specialized doctoral degrees initiated during this period are the Doctor of Musical Arts and the Doctor of Architecture. The Doctor of Musical Arts (1953) is intended for advanced musical practitioners and is offered in composition and in certain fields of performance for students who have demonstrated a high degree of competence in the field of specialization. In addition to studies in the field of specialization and related areas, there is required, in lieu of a dissertation an orchestral composition of symphonic proportions for composers and a series of public performances of high maturity and technical proficiency for performers. The Doctor of Architecture (1969) program is intended to further the development of highly qualified professionals for careers in architectural research, education, or practice.

The enrollment in the Graduate School in both the regular session and the summer session began to increase rapidly in 1955-56. In order to keep the enrollment in balance with the housing facilities of Ann Arbor and the financial support of the University by the State, it was found necessary in 1956-57 to increase the admission standards for out-of-state students and to limit the percentage of out-of-state students admitted to the Graduate School. Beginning in school year 1957-58, the University administration instructed the Graduate School to hold the growth of the Graduate School to not more than 10 percent a year. This restriction was enforced by giving to each department the percentage as well as actual number of new graduate students that could be admitted to their program. These restrictions naturally caused some distress, especially in rapidly growing departments, but by allowing some flexibility between departments they were administered with a minimum of difficulty and, in fact, these restrictions made it possible to raise significantly the intellectual level of the new students admitted to the Graduate School.

Professor Clifford Woody, who had served as graduate adviser to the Michigan Colleges of Education since the cooperative plan for graduate work with them had been established in 1938, died suddenly on December 19, 1948. Professor Harlan Koch of the School of Education was appointed as Assistant Dean at the beginning of the second semester to carry on this work and also to coordinate the work in the Graduate Study Centers. On February 1, 1950, Associate Dean Okkelberg entered upon his retirement furlough. Dr. Okkelberg had served the Graduate School for twenty years. Beginning July 1, 1950, Robert Ford was appointed as Assistant Dean of the Graduate School to succeed him. Dr. Ford had been, for the preceding thirteen years, Director of the Bureau of Government, a position which he gave up on assuming his work in the Graduate School. On February 1, 1950, Stevens Rice, who had been Assistant to the Dean for ten years, resigned and was replaced by Max Crosman.

The increasing size and complexity of the graduate program made it necessary to enlarge the staff, and on October 1, 1958, Professor Robert White of the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering became Associate Dean of the Graduate School and was asked to take over the work of administering the rapidly increasing number of University, federal, and other fellowships, and the research support programs which were administered by the Graduate School. Professor White resigned in 1959 to accept an outside position, and on July 1, 1959, Professor Freeman Miller of the Department of Astronomy was appointed Associate Dean to replace him. On September 1, 1960, Professor Howard Bretsch of the School of Education was appointed Associate Dean to replace Associate Dean Harlan Koch who entered on his retirement furlough in August of 1960.

On September 30, 1964, Dean Sawyer retired after eighteen years in the Deanship. The Regents appointed Professor Stephen Spurr of the Department of Natural Resources to succeed him. Dr. Spurr had been Professor of Natural Resources since 1952 and Dean of the School of Natural Resources since 1962.

The Rackham Board of Governors during the period 1941-71 consisted of the following members:

President Robben W. Fleming


Dean Stephen H. Spurr


Dexter Horton


Roscoe O. Bonisteel


Robert P. Briggs


President Alexander G. Ruthven


President Harlan Hatcher


Dean Clarence S. Yoakum


Acting Dean Peter O. Okkelberg


Dean Ralph A. Sawyer


Clarence E. Wilcox


Charles L. Bussey


J. Burns Fuller


Leland I. Doan


In 1964-65, an important change was made in the handling of the Rackham endowment funds. These funds, which were given as separate grants, had previously been combined for investment purposes into one large fund. Distributions from this fund were then made on a percentage basis, based on the actual value of each one of the funds. At its meetings in 1964-65, the Board of Governors of the Rackham funds voted to consolidate the funds into a single fund, the Horace H. Rackham Fund, and to distribute from this fund in accordance with a single annual budget. The Board of Governors continued to reserve to itself final decisions on specific grant requests, but it allocated to the Dean and Executive Board of the Graduate School annual sums for graduate fellowships and for individual faculty research projects and faculty publication. At the same time the Board of Governors authorized the Dean to negotiate funding arrangements with the Vice-President for Academic Affairs to the end that Rackham monies would be withdrawn from the support of continuing units of the University and used solely for the support of graduate fellowships, faculty research, special projects, and Rackham family commitments. All these changes represented a considerable simplification of the handling of the large Rackham funds, the income of which amounts to about one-half million dollars a year.

In May 1966 the Executive Board authorized the granting of a "Candidate in Philosophy" certificate to students who had formally attained that stage in the doctoral program marked by the passing of a comprehensive examination and the completion of all requirements up to the doctoral dissertation. Not a degree, the certificate was intended to mark an intermediate point in the advance toward the doctorate at a level widely recognized in American graduate schools, and is given automatically, not on application, to all students to reach this phase. The action of The University of Michigan has been followed by similar action on behalf of a substantial number of major American universities and serves to recognize intermediate accomplishment en route to the doctorate, whether or not the student eventually completes his doctoral program.

In 1967 an important change was made in the language requirements for the doctor's degree. Traditionally, all graduate schools had required a reading knowledge of two languages, ordinarily French and German, for the completion of the degree requirements. With the rise of important scientific activity however, and publication in countries with other languages, the Graduate School, during Dean Sawyer's administration, modified the requirements. The permissible alternatives included substitution for either French or German of another approved language useful to the student's field, such as statistics. In 1967, following the actions of numerous other major graduate schools, the Graduate Board agreed to leave the foreign language requirement to the student's department to decide. Under this program there might be required no languages, one or two or more languages, an alternative of two at a given level or one at a higher level. As a result of this action, a variety of requirements have been set up covering all of the possible alternatives.

Recently it has become apparent that at The University of Michigan, as in many other schools, a considerable number of students have been handicapped in their desires and attempts to attain graduate education either because they come from minority backgrounds or from poor homes. The University of Michigan has, therefore, set up an Opportunity Program for such students, and the program has been operated in the Graduate School, beginning on a small scale in 1968. The program has grown rapidly as students have been identified and as funds have become available either from the General Fund or from outside agencies. It is operated in cooperation with the departments. A department that wishes to participate in the program must become involved to the extent that it is able to identify some dedicated faculty members who will work in the program, to allocate some departmental resources either from teaching fellowships or other funds to help support these students, and to provide a program for additional counseling and help for them. The program in 1970-71 provided support through the Graduate School and the departments for more than 350 graduate students, most of who would have been unable otherwise to undertake graduate work. These students are distributed through the various colleges and departments with a major number in education. The Opportunity Program is a distinct help in extending equal opportunities to all of our young people to benefit from graduate education. The funds involved from departments and Graduate School totaled nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in the first year.

For many years, as a part of its fellowship program, the Graduate School has offered one first-year graduate scholarship to each Michigan institution of higher learning. Over the years this arrangement has become less satisfactory because some of the smaller schools had no candidates to offer and the larger schools felt that one candidate did not adequately represent their potential. The Graduate Board, therefore, revised the program to provide 22 fellowships, beginning in 1971-72, which would be distributed without a definite assignment to each institution but for which students from every institution might apply and compete. The stipend was made $2,400, plus tuition for two terms, which makes these appointments comparable to other graduate school fellowships. For 1971-72, 17 awards were made from about 100 applicants.

Every graduate department and graduate school is naturally interested to know how it compares with other similar departments and graduate schools on some objective rating. In the last fifty years there have been five such ratings. In all of these studies The University of Michigan was rated in the top ten American graduate schools.

During the last seven years a number of changes have been made in the administrative officers of the Graduate School. Associate Dean Freeman Miller resigned as of June 30, 1966, and Associate Dean Bretsch as of June 30, 1967. To replace them and to take care of the increasing load of work in the Graduate School, there were appointed as Associate Deans George Hay, who had been for ten years Chairman of the Department of Mathematics; Byron Groesbeck who had been attached to the Registrar's Office of the University; Ralph Lewis, Associate Professor of Music; and Wade Ellis who had been Professor of Mathematics at Oberlin College. Before entering on the graduate deanship, Dean Spurr had had part-time duties as Assistant to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. He continued these duties, and in December 1969 was appointed Vice-President for academic services, with duties to administer the Flint College and the Dearborn Campus and the academic service offices. As this period drew to a close, Dean Spurr, in the spring of 1971, accepted the Presidency of the University of Texas at Austin and assumed the position in the summer of 1971. On August 1, 1971, Professor Donald Stokes of the Department of Political Science was appointed Dean.

During the last few years, efforts have been made to find more suitable homes for the units administered by the Graduate School. As of July 1, 1969, jurisdiction of the Speech Clinic was transferred to the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the Medical School. The Fresh Air Camp was transferred to the administration of an executive committee chaired by Dean Wilbur Cohen of the School of Education. Dean Cohen was appointed Director of the University of Michigan-Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology, thus effectively transferring jurisdiction of the University's participation in this unit. The Arthritis Unit was transferred to the Medical School. The Bureau of Psychological Services and the Statistical Research Laboratory remain under the administration of the Graduate School.

Ralph A. Sawyer

The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey Supplement, Pages 145 - 159.

History of the University of Michigan

School of Graduate Studies

1940 - 1970