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Bureau of Institutional Research papers

Identifier: ua-00948

Scope and Content

The collection contains reports, correspondence, personnel records, travel forms, teaching evaluations, studies, conference papers, working files, statistical research data and other administrative papers of the Bureau of Institutional Research.


  • 1920-1986


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical Note

The Bureau of Institutional Research (BIR) was established at the University of Minnesota ultimately as a result of increased student enrollment to undergraduate and professional programs after World War I. Louis B. Wilson, director of the Mayo Foundation suggested to University president Lotus Coffman in 1922 that the University hold a conference to discuss the improved selection of students who desire to enter medicine and other professions.

The Committee on Educational Guidance (CEG) was established that year by Coffman in response to this concern. The committee discovered that the University knew very little about its students, either before, during, or as a result of their University training, and even less about testing or educational and vocational guidance. An educational research committee was recommended by the CEG that would provide a means of coordinating research being done by individuals in the University, advise in regard to the direction which research should take and the methods to be employed, and promote the dissemination of resulting information throughout the University.

As a result of the findings of the CEG, a Committee on Educational Research (CER) was appointed by Coffman in 1924 consisting of University faculty and deans. During its first fifteen years, the committee concentrated mainly on studies of student personnel, student selection, testing, admissions and retention, although some studies on class size, methods of instruction, curriculum and faculty characteristics were also conducted. Melvin Haggerty served as the first chair of the CER until his death in 1937.

By 1948, the work of the CER had grown to such an extent that the Bureau of Institutional Research was formed to carry out the work of the committee. In 1956, the Administrative Research Unit, later named the Office of Administration and Planning, was established by the University's central administration to answer research needs that by this time were supposedly not being met by the BIR. The Senate Committee on Institutional Research likewise was not willing to expand the BIR to conform to the demands of the times.

In 1967, the BIR was moved off campus, thus hampering its access to faculty members and resources it have been accustomed to consulting. The BIR formally ended on June 30, 1971.


30 boxes (39.0 linear feet)


Collection contains the papers of the Bureau of Institutional Research at the University of Minnesota.


The materials are arranged in alphabetical order.

Other Finding Aid Available

A finding aid with a contents list is available in University Archives.

Source of acquisition

The collection was transferred to University Archives from 1951-1982.

Related Materials in University Archives

Ruth Eckert papers

University of Minnesota. Senate. Committee on Institutional Research papers

Minnesota. University. Bureau of Institutional Research. A University Looks at its Programs. [1954] (MAG/In7)

Beck, Robert H. Beyond Pedagogy: A History of the University of Minnesota College of Education.North Central Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minnesota, 1980. Chapter 8.

Stecklein, John Ellsworth. "The History and Development of the Bureau of Institutional Research at the University of Minnesota." [Prepared for] Conference on Institutional Research, Stanford University, July 19-25, 1959. (MTI/A3S)

Bureau of Institutional Research papers, 1920-1986
Karen Spilman
August 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area