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Committee on Instruction Records

Identifier: BC06-03

Collection Scope and Content Summary

This collection contains meeting minutes; correspondence between faculty members and COI committee members about proposed courses, reports, admissions, and course statistics; syllabi; and curricular review documents from the Barnard College Committee on Instruction.


  • Creation: 1900 - 2017


This collection has no restrictions.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections. The Barnard Archives and Special Collections approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Reproduction Restrictions

Photocopies or scans may be made for research purposes.

Historical Background

The Barnard College Committee on Instruction (COI), formerly known as the Barnard Committee of Curriculum and Scheme of Attendance, began meeting in March of 1900. The committee was organized by Seth Low, President of Columbia College, and consisted of Barnard and Columbia administrative and faculty members. Initially, faculty spent most of the meetings discussing students with entrance conditions in addition to overseeing the departments and their courses. Later COI meetings addressed a variety of educational issues. The current Committee on Instruction is (as of the writing of this finding aid in 2024) mainly reviews and approves new courses, including changes to the General Education Requirements (GER). Barnard College has four GER foci: two First-Year Foundations courses (First-Year Writing and First-Year Seminar), a physical education course, Distributional Requirements, and Modes of Thinking. Additionally, The Committee on Instruction is Barnard’s principal formulator of educational policy. It provides advice to the Office of Admissions on academic matters having to do with admissions policy and practice, including the development of recruitment strategies and priorities, the use of standardized test scores, and the evaluation of student outcomes.

In recent years, the COI has considered matters ranging from major modifications to the curriculum, such as changing the General Education Requirements, to the application of the Barnard Honor Code in the classroom, to whether or not to grant a GER designation request for a particular course. Programs such as Senior Scholar, Scholars of Distinction (previously known as Centennial Scholars), the Writing Center, First Year Seminar, and the Experimental College were established under the Committee on Instruction. COI is chaired by the Associate Provost. In addition to the chair, the committee consists of two faculty members from each of the four faculty voting groups, the Dean of the College, the Dean of Students, and the Registrar. A maximum of four students sit on the COI at any one time: the Academic Affairs Representative, who is elected by the members of the SGA for a one year term, and three appointed students, who serve two-year terms.


18.43 Linear Feet (35 document boxes, 2 record cartons, 1 half document box)




This collection consists of materials from the Barnard College Committee on Instruction.

Collection Arrangement

This collection is arranged chronologically.

Physical Location

This collection is located in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library. To use this collection, please contact the Barnard Archives and Special Collections at 212.854.4079 or

Acquisition Information

The acquisition date and source is unknown.


Additions are expected.

Processing History

This collection was processed and the finding aid written by Charlotte Kostelic in December 2015. This collection was heavily revised by Shannon O'Neill in July 2017.

In March 2024, Olivia Newsome moved this collection from a previous record group, BC19 (Committees), to the current record group, BC06 (Faculty Committees), to reflect the fact that the Committee on Instruction is a faculty committee. The collection identifier was changed from BC19.01 to BC06.03. Olivia Newsome also updated the finding aid.

In April 2024, Olivia Newsome moved the following collections from BC06.01 to reflect that they are subcommitttes of the Committee on Instruction: Committee on Courses of Study; Curriculum Committee; Curriculum Review Committee; Subcommittee on Advanced Placement and Advanced Standing; Subcommittee on Administrative Problems.

In April 2014, Olivia Newsome also moved Sub-Committee on Curricular Problems from its previous record group, BC19 (Committees), to the current record group, BC06 (Faculty Committees), to reflect that it was a subcommittee of the Committee on Instruction.

In April 2024, Olivia Newsome moved the Ad-Hoc Summer School Committee from BC06.03 to BC06.01 to reflect that it is ad-hoc faculty committee. Olivia Newsome also moved The Committee on Foreign Language Requirements to BC06.01 because it is a faculty committee unrelated to COI.

Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard. Machine readable finding aid encoded in EAD 2002. Finding aid written in English.

  • two committees; foreign language requirement and ad-hoc committee on summer school
Guide to Committee on Instruction Records
Charlotte Kostelic in 2015, Shannon O'Neill in 2017, and Olivia Newsome in 2024
© 2015, 2017, and 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Repository

3009 Broadway
New York NY 10027 United States