Foundation of Faculty of Arts, 1708
The regenting system had been in operation since the opening of the university in 1583. Each 'regent' took the same class through all four years of their degree course, teaching all subjects himself, then recommenced the cycle with an new first-year (or ‘Bajan’) class. In an effort to remodel Edinburgh University along European lines, Principal William Carstares (1649-1715) persuaded the Town Council of Edinburgh (16 June 1708) to abolish regenting in favour of a professorial system that assigned each of the subjects on the Master of Arts curriculum to a single teacher. The newly created chairs were offered to the existing regents. Thus Laurence Dundas (1662-1734) became Professor of Humanity, William Scott "primus" (1672-1735), Professor of Greek, Colin Drummond (c1685-1753), Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, Robert Stewart (1675–1758), Professor of Natural Philosophy, and William Law (d. 1729), Professor of Moral Philosophy.
Other Key Events of Carstares's Principalship
- Seizure of College Records by Town Council, 1704
- Foundation of Faculty of Law, 1707
- End of Regenting System, 1708