UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Canadian universities : a functional analysis Humphries, Donna Irene Nisbet


This thesis identifies a university's typical administrative structure for the purpose of establishing a framework which working university archivists can use to acquire control of university records. The organizational structure of Canadian universities is examined with respect to their functions, juridical persons, and their relative competences. This study may be defined as a "functional analysis." The intertwined concepts of function, competence, and juridical persons serve as foundations for this thesis. A function is defined as the whole of the activities, considered abstractly, necessary to accomplish one purpose. A competence is the authority to carry out a determined sphere of activities within one function. Such authority, however, has to be delegated or assigned to a given office or individual, and that office or individual is termed a juridical person. Therefore, a link is forged between a function and a competence through a juridical person, because it is a juridical person who carries out certain duties and responsibilities within a specified function. Since juridical persons create records in the course of executing their competence, a functional analysis establishes the provenance of the records and places the records of an administrative body in the context of their creation. A functional analysis also reveals and explains the relationships and bonds between the records, record series, and record groups that comprise an administration's archival residue. These objectives -- understanding the organizational structure of the administrative body, identifying its functions, determining the provenance of its records, and placing records in the context of the activities that generate them — help archivists and records managers acquire a fundamental level of intellectual control over the administrative body's records. Without this knowledge, archivists and records managers cannot proceed with any of their own practices. By studying the history and development of universities from the Middles Ages to the twentieth century, this thesis identifies four functions which are common to all universities: Sustaining Itself, Teaching, Research, and Service to the Community. A number of juridical persons, either in the form of administrative bodies or individuals who comprise the administrative structure of the university, are then examined, and the functions with which with they are entrusted are ascertained by studying their competences. As a result of this analysis, the typical organizational structure of a university is revealed, the functional provenance of records created by universities (as a whole) are identified, and its records are placed in the context of the activities that generate them.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.