Administrative History

The office of Commissioner of Education was created in 1904 by the so-called Unification Act (Chapter 40) which established the State Education Department and replaced the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Secretary to the Board of Regents with the Commissioner.

Since 1913 the Commissioner has also carried the title of President of the University of the State of New York, conferred by the Regents. A 1938 constitutional amendment clarified the relative roles of the commissioner and the Regents, placing the Regents at the head of the Department and naming the Commissioner as the Department's chief administrative officer who serves at the Regents' pleasure.

At its regularly scheduled meetings the Board of Regents considers and votes on all matters of educational policy and administration brought before them. The frequency and order of business at Regents meetings as well as the Regents' committee structure are specified in the Rules of the Board of Regents. Since 1905 the Commissioner has been required by the Rules to attend meetings of the Board of Regents and submit matters for their consideration.