Bureaucracy: 1926 Bulletin, North Texas State Normal College

1926 Bulletin, North Texas State Normal College

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This volume contains official bulletins for the North Texas State Teachers College, including the 1927 summer quarter bulletin and the 1927-1928 general catalog. This volume gives a glimpse into the state of the institution during the mid-1920’s. As with the other bulletins in the collection, this volume includes sections on general information, expenses and fees, and certificates and degrees offered. It also outlines the prerequisites needed for particular classes or degree plans and requirements for graduation. Finally, the bulletin lists registered students and summarizes degrees granted, dating back to 1918. Just as important, the bulletins give a rich history of life on campus, by including pictures and detailed descriptions of various extra-curricular activities offered by the college.

These bulletins were published just after North Texas State Normal School had transformed into North Texas State Teachers College. This change represented a significant institutional change inasmuch as it required an expansion of degree offerings and curricula, which would align it with other colleges in the state of Texas. The change from normal school to teachers college also required a more substantial bureaucratic organization, with more administrators, more divisions, and an increasingly hierarchical power structure. North Texas State Normal became a teachers college as part of a major national shift in which normal schools were nearly all transformed from normal schools into teachers college, along with expanded curricular and administrative requirements.

Although there is ample information in these volumes to document the institutional structure, of particular interest with this volume are the institutional credentials displayed on the cover of the June 1927 bulletin. Beginning that year, the institution became a member of the Association of Texas Colleges, the American Association of Teachers Colleges, and the Southern Association of Colleges. These credentials are particularly noteworthy because North Texas State Teachers College was among the first institutions to be allowed to join both the American Association of Teachers Colleges and the Southern Association of Colleges, since the two were generally reserved for different kinds of institutions. In fact, North Texas State Teachers College was at the center of debates over whether or not teachers colleges would be allowed to join regional accreditation associations like the Southern Association. Among the five regional associations that accredited all the colleges and universities in the country, none allowed teachers colleges to join unless they met the more stringent standards of a traditional college. This meant higher requirements for endowments, higher credentials for faculty, and higher equipment requirements than the American Association of Teachers Colleges required. In the mid-1920s, North Texas State Teachers College was the largest teachers college in Texas and one of the largest in the country. After its application was turned down by the Southern Association in 1924, administrators began lobbying all the teachers colleges in Texas to consider joining the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. This move would have either split the state of Texas into two regional accreditation jurisdictions or have caused the state’s colleges and universities to follow the teachers colleges’ suit. The Southern Association ultimately relented and allowed the teachers colleges to join, provided they met the association’s requirements for regular colleges and universities.

The Southern Association credentials allowed North Texas State Teachers College to offer a wider range of courses and to recruit more students by offering different curricula than other teacher training institutions. Additionally, it ensured that NTSTC graduates could teach in any Southern Association accredited elementary or high school, which made it easier for NTSTC graduates to relocate across state lines. The credentials advertised on the front of the June 1927 catalog, then, represent a series of intense institutional battles that reverberated throughout the state of Texas, the southern region of the United States, and in fact throughout the country, as more and more teachers colleges began to seek regional accreditation.

Find the Bulletins of the North Texas State Teachers College in the UNT Libraries Catalog.