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Division of Student Affairs records

 Collection
Identifier: A084

Scope and Content Note

The Division of Student Affairs records document the everyday operations of the Office of the Dean of Students and its later incarnation as the Division of Student Affairs. Much of the collection consists of materials from Vice President of Student Affairs John D. O'Bryant, who served in that capacity from 1979-1984. These materials, contained in the first series, reflect both the Division as a whole and its individual departments, the wider Northeastern University administration and the Division's relationship to that administration, and the activities of John D. O'Bryant acting independently of the University. The Division's departments represented in the collection include: the Office of the Vice President (to which the other departments report), the Office of the Dean of Students, the African-American Institute, Counseling and Testing, the English Language Center, Freshman Affairs, Freshman Orientation, Handicapped Services, the International Students Office, Minority Student Affairs Office, Multicultural Affairs, the Religious Life Office, the Student Activities Office, and the Student Union. Throughout the collection are materials produced by John O'Bryant while Vice President for Student Affairs, and though some of these items relate to his work in that capacity, others reflect his work outside of the University. The African American community on campus and the activities of the University regarding minority students are well-represented in the collection. Materials from the African-American Institute are of particular note.

The collection also includes materials dating from before and after O'Bryant's tenure as Vice President, documenting Division of Student Affairs/Office of the Dean of Students activities such as student admissions and enrollment, freshman advising, housing, freshman and transfer student orientation, and student behavior and discipline. Of particular interest are the materials dealing with student unrest relating to the Vietnamese Conflict and the treatment of African Americans on campus in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Dates

  • 1933-2008 (bulk 1965-1985)

Creator

Conditions Governing Access:

Records are closed for 25 years from the date of creation, unless researchers have written permission from the creating office. Student records are closed for 75 years from the date of their creation.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.

Historical Note

The Division of Student Affairs was originally known as the Office of the Dean of Students. The first dean was Harold Wesley Melvin, who served from the office's inception in 1930 until 1957. In the 1950s, the office comprised a dean of freshmen, dean of women, and dean of men. In 1970, the Office of Dean of Students was reorganized into the Division of Student Affairs, and many of the tasks that had originally been handled directly by the dean and his assistants were separated into departments that reported to the Vice President of Student Affairs. Among these services were counseling and testing, student housing, and financial aid. In 1971, the positions of Dean of Freshmen, Dean of Women, and Dean of Men were replaced with the positions of Dean and Associate Dean of Students. The Division of Student Affairs continues to oversee programs and services relating to student life today. It provides academic support through the Disability Resource Center and through Special Support Programs; administers cultural and personal centers such as the African-American Institute, the International Student and Scholar Institute, the Latino/a Student Cultural Center, the Center for Counseling and Student Development, and the Office of Spiritual Life; and deals with student social life through the Curry Student Center, the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, and the Department of Residential Life. The Division of Student Affairs reports to the Office of the Provost.

In 1979, John D. O'Bryant was appointed Northeastern's Vice President of Student Affairs. He was born in Boston on July 15, 1931 and was educated in the Boston public schools. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Boston University. After serving in the U.S. Army, he worked as a teacher and a guidance counselor in the Boston public schools from 1955 to 1969. In 1969, he developed the Health Vocational Training Program at the Dimock Community Health Center and directed that program until he joined Northeastern as Associate Dean of University Administration in 1978. O'Bryant served as president of the Boston School Committee and as national chairman of the Council of Urban Boards of Education, and founded a number of local and statewide education advocacy groups. He died in 1992.

Chronology

  • 1930 Office of the Dean of Students established; Harold W. Melvin, first dean.
  • 1956 Counseling and Testing Center established
  • 1958 Gilbert G. MacDonald becomes Dean of Students
  • 1969 Afro-American Institute, later named the African-American Institute, founded
  • 1970 Office of the Dean of Students reorganized into the Division of Student Affairs; Gilbert MacDonald becomes Vice President for Student Affairs
  • 1971 Positions of Dean of Freshmen, Dean of Men, and Dean of Women replaced by Dean of Students and Associate Dean of Students
  • 1974 English Language Center established
  • 1975 International Student and Scholar Institute (International Students Office) established
  • 1979 John D. O'Bryant becomes Vice President of Student Affairs
  • 1992 John D. O'Bryant dies; Karen Rigg becomes Vice President for Student Affairs
  • 1993 African-American Institute renamed the John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute
  • 1994 Extended freshman orientation program initiated
1930
Office of the Dean of Students established; Harold W. Melvin, first dean.
1956
Counseling and Testing Center established
1958
Gilbert G. MacDonald becomes Dean of Students
1969
Afro-American Institute, later named the African-American Institute, founded
1970
Office of the Dean of Students reorganized into the Division of Student Affairs; Gilbert MacDonald becomes Vice President for Student Affairs
1971
Positions of Dean of Freshmen, Dean of Men, and Dean of Women replaced by Dean of Students and Associate Dean of Students
1974
English Language Center established
1975
International Student and Scholar Institute (International Students Office) established
1979
John D. O'Bryant becomes Vice President of Student Affairs
1992
John D. O'Bryant dies; Karen Rigg becomes Vice President for Student Affairs
1993
African-American Institute renamed the John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute
1994
Extended freshman orientation program initiated

Extent

5 cubic feet (5 containers)

Overview

The Division of Student Affairs was originally known as the Office of the Dean of Students. In the 1950s, the office comprised a dean of freshmen, dean of women, and dean of men. In 1970, the Office of Dean of Students was reorganized into the Division of Student Affairs, and many of the tasks that had originally been handled directly by the dean and his assistants were separated into departments that reported to the Vice President of Student Affairs. Among these services were counseling and testing, student housing, and financial aid. The Division of Student Affairs continues to oversee programs and services relating to student life today.

Overview

The Division of Student Affairs records document the everyday operations of the Office of the Dean of Students and its later incarnation as the Division of Student Affairs. Much of the collection consists of materials from Vice President of Student Affairs John D. O'Bryant, who served in that capacity from 1979-1984. These materials reflect both the Division as a whole and its individual departments, the wider Northeastern University administration and the Division's relationship to that administration, and the activities of John D. O'Bryant acting independently of the University. The collection also includes materials dating from before and after O'Bryant's tenure as Vice President, documenting Division of Student Affairs/Office of the Dean of Students activities such as student admissions and enrollment, freshman advising, housing, freshman and transfer student orientation, and student behavior and discipline.

System of Arrangement:

Organized into 2 series: 1. Vice President's Files and 2. General Files.

Physical Location

32/3

Bibliography

  • Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University: An Emerging Giant: 1959-1975. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1982.
  • Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University: Coming of Age: The Ryder Years: 1975-1989. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995.
Title
Finding aid for the Division of Student Affairs Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Jeanine Rees
Date
April 2005
Language of description
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US