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The Secretary to the Board of Regents had long administered the affairs of the University.Starting in 1890 the Secretary (then the redoubtable Melvil Dewey, also head of the State Library) supervised full-time inspectors of secondary schools, libraries, colleges, and other institutions reporting to the Regents.This unwieldy body soon got involved in the day-to-day administration of Columbia.In 1786 a Regents' committee recommended that colleges and academies have their own trustees, and that the Regents be given broader responsibilities for overseeing education in New York.



But during the same decade the University's activist program under Secretary Melvil Dewey won the Regents many new supporters.During the nineteenth century the Regents exercised oversight by reviewing statistical reports from academies and colleges; only occasionally did Regents actually visit an institution.The Regents adopted standards for incorporating private academies (1801) and colleges (1811), and required academies to offer acceptable programs in order to receive aid from the Literature Fund, established in 1801.Unification of the University and Department of Public Instruction.

New York State also developed a statewide system of public schools, under the common school law of 1812.

--JF     Board of Regents and the Development of the University.