After 1842 the Superintendent of Common Schools was a member of the Board of Regents, as was the Superintendent of Public Instruction after 1854.

In 1899 the annual University convocation requested Governor Theodore Roosevelt to name a special commission to study unification.

The commission's report proposed that a new department of education succeed the Department of Public Instruction and include the University, and that the Regents be appointed for fixed terms by the Governor with consent of the Senate.

In 1854 the Legislature created a Department of Public Instruction, headed by a Superintendent elected jointly by the Senate and Assembly for a three-year renewable term.

The new Department had a small staff which carried on the work of advising local school authorities, allocating state aid, and preparing reports to the Legislature.

The rapid development of public high schools after the 1850s caused administrative confusion.

The high schools were operated by union free or city school districts, which the law made subject to visitation and inspection by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.However, the academic programs of all secondary schools were under general supervision of the Regents.Unification of elementary, secondary, and higher education under one administration was considered and rejected by the constitutional conventions of 18, and proposed in legislative bills from time to time.A joint legislative committee in 1904 recommended that elementary and secondary education be entrusted to a three-member commission, consisting of one Regent and two other members appointed by each of the two major parties in the Legislature.Governor Benjamin Odell and a Republican legislative caucus drew up their own, very different unification bill.--JF     Board of Regents and the Development of the University.