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Ralph W. Tyler Institute Self-study materials

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0095

Scope and Contents

The Ralph W. Tyler Institute Self-study materials includes documents related to Tyler's visits to the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI), later named the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Most of the collection consists of meeting reports and agendas for Tyler's visits. These reports outline the material covered during various meetings, as well as research documents compiled for review. The reports date from 1932-1970.

The collection also includes a correspondence file. Most of the correspondence is between Tyler and Dr. Leo F. Smith, a former Dean of Instruction at RIT. While some of these letters discuss specific matters related to Tyler's work, many deal with scheduling Tyler's visits.

In addition, there is a folder of miscellaneous items at the end of the collection. Most of these items are publications and articles produced by Tyler.


  • Creation: 1932-1970

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Historical Information: Institute Self-study

In 1922, John A. Randall was selected as the fourth president of the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). At the time, the school's future was uncertain. RAMI (renamed the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944) had served an important role during the First World War, tailoring its programs to meet the needs of wartime production and training soldiers in trades and vocations essential to military success. Yet, at the start of Randall's presidency, it was unclear in which direction the school was headed.

In 1925, Randall invited Dexter S. Kimball, Frederick P. Keppel, and Channing R. Dooley to form a commission to study the future path of the Institute, including the possibility that the school might have no future at all. Although the commission determined that RAMI could serve an important role in the education community, it noted that important changes were needed, emphasizing the need for a clear educational policy.

Taking the recommendations of the commission, Randall approached Dr. Werrett Wallace (W.W.) Charters about serving as an educational consultant to RAMI. At the time, Charters (1875-1952) was working as the Director of the Bureau of Educational Research at The Ohio State University (OSU). He was known for his work in curriculum development, particularly his use of a scientific approach to develop programs focused on life activities and functions rather than subject material. Starting in 1928 Charters served as a continuing consultant to the Institute. He invited his colleague at OSU, Dr. Ralph Tyler, to assist in this process. Like Charters, Ralph Winfred Tyler (1902-1994) was known for his work in educational research. His book, Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction published in 1949, served as an important guide in the field of curriculum reform.

After an initial assessment of RAMI, Charters recommended that the school revise its entire curriculum. He explained that course content needed to be based on the job requirements of the positions that students were training for. A curriculum planning committee was to be formed and faculty members were to be trained on the "techniques of investigation" necessary to accomplish this undertaking. RAMI's Policy Committee accepted Charter's recommendation and work began September 1928.

The Curriculum Committee consisted of six individuals: Mark Ellingson (chairman), William N. Fenninger, Georgiana Hathaway, C. C. Thomason, Byron G. Culver, and F. H. Evans. The committee worked closely with a "curriculum expert" – in this case both Charters and Tyler – to oversee the entire process. Charters would visit the Institute every four or five weeks to check-in on the committee's progress. Additional "division" committees were formed, representing each department, with job analysis and subject matter subcommittees. Since Charters had worked as the director for the Research Bureau for Retail Training at the University of Pittsburgh, the retail distribution department was chosen as the first program for evaluation.

The revision process included nine steps:

  • Study of objectives
  • Plant and organization study
  • Demand study
  • Analysis of basic jobs
  • Raw material - professional courses
  • Raw material - related courses
  • Raw materials - liberal courses
  • Organization of content
  • Specifications for teaching
  • Extent

    3.25 Linear Feet (6 document boxes 1 half document box)




    Materials related to Dr. Ralph W. Tyler's work with the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute, which was renamed the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944. Tyler served as a consultant to the Institute on educational policy, curriculum design, and future planning starting around 1930 until 1970. The collection contains meeting reports, research notes, correspondence, publications, and a few other miscellaneous items.


    This collection is currently unprocessed. Materials are grouped by type and are loosely arranged in chronological order.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession number: 05:03

    Materials were given to the RIT Archive Collections in 2004 by the Office of Academic Affairs.

    Processing Information

    Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in February 2011.

    Ralph W. Tyler Institute Self-study materials
    RIT Archives
    Lara Nicosia
    24 February 2011
    Description rules
    Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    Language of description
    Script of description
    Code for undetermined script
    Language of description note

    Repository Details

    Part of the RIT Archives Repository

    Rochester NY 14623 USA