A history of the conferences of deans of women

by 1967- Gerda, Janice Joyce

Abstract (Summary)
iii Michael D. Coomes, Advisor As women entered higher education, positions were created to address their specific needs. In the 1890s, the position of dean of women proliferated, and in 1903 groups began to meet regularly in professional associations they called conferences of deans of women. This study examines how and why early deans of women formed these professional groups, how those groups can be characterized, and who comprised the conferences. It also explores the degree of continuity between the conferences and a later organization, the National Association of Deans of Women (NADW). Using evidence from archival sources, the known meetings are listed and described chronologically. Seven different conferences are identified: those intended for deans of women (a) Of the Middle West, (b) In State Universities, (c) With the Religious Education Association, (d) In Private Institutions, (e) With the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, (f) With the Southern Association of College Women, and (g) With the National Education Association (also known as the NADW). Each of the conferences is analyzed using seven organizational variables: membership, organizational structure, public relations, fiscal policies, services and publications, ethical standards, and affiliations. Individual profiles of each of 130 attendees are provided, and as a group they can be described as professional women who were both administrators and scholars, highly-educated in a variety of disciplines, predominantly unmarried, and active in social and political causes of the era. The primary conclusions are: There was little continuity between the conferences and the NADW; the nature of the professional groups and the profiles of the deans of women suggest that the profession underwent a change around 1920; and the careers and lives of the early deans of women were filled with important accomplishments, and are worthy of study. A deeper understanding of the early deans of women and their professional activities can inform research on the history of student affairs and the roles of women in higher education. Finally, the stories of iv these remarkable women can provide inspiration and illumination for those who continue the work with students in higher education. v Near the end of a long life, Thomas Jefferson readied himself for the call of mortality. “The wish to stay here is thus gradually extinguished; but not so easily that of returning once in a while to see how things have gone on” (Mayo, 1942, p. 320). He wondered if, in the hereafter, he might be allowed a view of what was passing in his absence. I believe that wish was granted, in some way. If the 130 deans of women whom I have come to know had similar feelings, perhaps they too have been afforded such an opportunity. Perhaps they have been nearby as I have read their words, perhaps they have lingered as I gazed at their images, and perhaps they have been with me as I strolled the campuses of the colleges and universities in which they invested so much of their time here on earth. This dissertation is dedicated to them. I hope they are pleased.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:national association of deans women u s united states


Date of Publication:

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.