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Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Program on Women

 Organization

On November 18, 1971, the Northwestern University Faculty Senate resolved, on the recommendation of its Committee on Educational Policy, to establish an “interdisciplinary Program on Women.”

The resolution outlined the goals of the Program on Women as to “guide the expansion of the educational curriculum to include interdisciplinary courses at the undergraduate level and specialized seminars at the graduate level which will focus on the causes, concomitants and consequences of present alterations in sex roles and sex stereotypes and explore the implications of these changes for personal, social, and institutional adjustment”, to encourage faculty work in these areas, and to encourage an increase in the number of qualified women on campus by various forms of outreach and advocacy?.

The all-university Committee on the Program on Women was subsequently formed under then Vice President and Dean of Faculties Raymond W. Mack in April, 1973. The committee functioned chiefly as search committee for the director of the Program, and provided in addition a series of recommendations concerning the Program itself and more general issues concerning the status of women at Northwestern University. Their report was issued in August, 1974 and coincided with the announcement of the appointment of the Program on Women's first director, sociologist Arlene Kaplan Daniels. Daniels' appointment was to the College of Arts and Sciences as Professor in the Department of Sociology, with her service to the Program on Women designed to occupy half of her time.

The Program on Women was intended by the administration to function with little or no financial support from the University. Initial funding was confined to salaries for some personnel, housing, and funds for office supplies. It was assumed that the Program on Women would receive sufficient funding from outside sources to become quickly self-sustaining.

Funding difficulties plagued the Program on Women from its inception. After administration of the Program on Women was transferred from the College of Arts and Sciences to the Vice President for Research and Dean of Science (David Mintzer) early in 1977, chronic funding troubles and conflict over the mission of the Program grew more pronounced; these problems lead to Daniels' resignation in 1979. She was replaced by the Program's Assistant Director, Bari Watkins, who served as director between 1979 and 1983. She was in turn succeeded by Susan Hirsch, who served as Acting Director from 1983 through 1986, during a protracted and divisive national search for a new director.

The Program on Women sponsored research in women's studies at Northwestern University, and coordinated the Women's Studies Curriculum, which offered an undergraduate certificate for Women's Studies beginning in the winter of 1980. The Program on Women sponsored numerous campus events, sought to encourage returning women students, and maintained a reference collection on scholarship and resources pertinent to women. Among the publications sponsored by the Program on Women are: “It's Never Too Late to Go to College,” “Pathfinder: A Back-to-School Guide for Adults,” Women and Health Care, by Sheryl K. Ruzek, and The Health of Women at Work, by Vilma R. Hunt.

The Program on Women was housed first at 61S Emerson Street (1974-79) and subsequently at 1902 Sheridan Road (1979-80) and 617 Noyes Street (1980- ).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Program On Women Records

 Collection
Identifier: 8/2/10
Abstract In November 1971, Northwestern University established an "interdisciplinary Program on Women." The goals of the Program on Women have been to "guide the expansion of the educational curriculum to include interdisciplinary courses at the undergraduate level and specialized seminars at the graduate level which will focus on the causes, concomitants and consequences of present alterations in sex roles and sex stereotypes and explore the implications of these changes for personal, social, and...
Dates: 1970-1986