Allen Collegiate Center Records, 1968-1978, bulk 1972-1976
- State University of New York at Albany. Allen Collegiate Center
- The collection consists chiefly of administrative paper records from the University at Albany's Allen Collegiate Center, operational from 1972-1976. The experimental center combined the senior year of high school with the freshman year of college so that students could earn a bachelor’s degree in three years.
- 3.5 cubic ft.
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, box, folder, Allen Collegiate Center Records, 1968-1978. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Allen Collegiate Center Records).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this collection is unrestricted with the exception of a small number of files noted on the inventory.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
Files consist of records that document the administrative activities of the Allen Collegiate Center. Files contain documentation of planning stages, various committee meeting minutes, conference and professional development activities, correspondence (internal and external), memoranda, course curricula, syllabi, student applications, curricula vitae of faculty, promotional materials, course bulletins, and news clippings. The collection also contains student work, such as the college’s newspaper.
Related collections in the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives include the records of the Department of African American Studies (UA-611), the School of Nursing (UA-629), and the School of Social Welfare (UA-690).
Please note that the folders titled Archival, Rensselaerville 2. Archival 2, and Archival 3 contain materials that were kept by the records creator for posterity and with an enduring legacy in mind.
- Biographical / Historical:
The Allen Collegiate Center was established in 1972 by the University at Albany, SUNY’s Board of Trustees upon recommendation of student-faculty governance bodies. The experimental Center combined the senior year of high school with the freshman year of college so that students could earn a bachelor’s degree in three years. The Center was located on the University's downtown campus in Albany, New York.
The Center was an indirect response to criticisms during the late 1960s and early 1970s directed at the higher education system in the United States. Discontents included the system's formality, structure, length, accessibility, and overall practicality after graduation. The Allen Center was directly influenced by experimental colleges New England, especially in Massachusetts, and experimental colleges in Pennsylvania and California. One of the original planners of the Center was its dean, the late Dr. Seth W. Spellman, Jr.
Teaching methodologies included small, seminar-style classes and short-term course modules that emphasized student participation. Allen Center students had full voting privileges and equal representation alongside faculty on the Center’s standing committees, and were encouraged to provide their feedback on the Center’s day-to-day operations and policies. The Center offered a single, interdisciplinary major, "Man and His Institutians" (MAI), which attempted to connect humanity’s social institutions and their influence on contemporary society with classroom learning, extracurricular life, free colloquia, and practical internships. The cohesive implementation of such lofty goals proved challenging for the Center from its planning until its closing. Students who completed the first year of the program had the option to earn their high school diploma from the Milne School, the school connected to the University since 1845 where education students practiced teaching. Allen Center students had several experiential education opportunities and were required to complete an internship within the last two years of study.
The Allen Center closed in 1976 due to the economic austerity measures in the State University system in the 1970s.
Chronology 1967 A select committee chaired by the Vice President of Academic Affairs creates a statement policy “New Patterns in Undergraduate Education” which asks that the University at Albany respond to social change. 1968 The University Senate adopts the policy. 1968 Planning stages begin for an unnamed “experimental college.” 1970 The experimental college is tentatively referred to as "Milne College." 1971 The estate of the late James E. Allen Jr., former New York State Commissioner of Education, grants use of his name for the college. 1971 Seth W. Spellman Jr., professor and past chair of the Department of Africana Studies, is named dean of the college. 1972 After preliminary declinations of large-scale grant requests from several institutions, a substantial development grant is received from the Carnegie Foundation. 1972 The college’s only major program of study, Man and His Institutions (MAI), is finalized. 1972 53 students, referred to as the Pilot Project, are recommended for admission into the center's first class. 1973 158 new students enroll in the accelerated program. 1975 University President Louis T. Benezet makes the decision to close the center, citing budget constraints and university priorities. 1976 The center closes at the end of the academic year.
- Acquisition information:
All items in this manuscript group were transferred to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives by the Allen Center in 1975 and 1978.
- Appraisal information:
In 2017 student transcripts and education records containing grades were deaccessioned from the collection to increase access. This retroactive appraisal action was executed in complaince with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and in accordance with the approved appraisal and disposition Schedule of the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2017 by Brenden J. McCarthy.
- Education--Experimental methods
College-school cooperation--New York (State)
Education, Higher--New York State--Albany
Minutes (administrative records)
- State University of New York at Albany. Allen Collegiate Center
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching