In this Book

Challenged by Coeducation
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Challenged by Coeducation details the responses of women's colleges to the most recent wave of Women's colleges originated in the mid-nineteenth century as a response to women's exclusion from higher education. Women's academic successes and their persistent struggles to enter men's colleges resulted in coeducation rapidly becoming the norm, however. Still, many prestigious institutions remained single-sex, notably most of the Ivy League and all of the Seven Sisters colleges.

In the mid-twentieth century colleges' concerns about finances and enrollments, as well as ideological pressures to integrate formerly separate social groups, led men's colleges, and some women's colleges, to become coeducational. The admission of women to practically all men's colleges created a serious challenge for women's colleges. Most people no longer believed women's colleges were necessary since women had virtually unlimited access to higher education. Even though research spawned by the women's movement indicated the benefits to women of a "room of their own," few young women remained interested in applying to women's colleges.

Challenged by Coeducation details the responses of women's colleges to this latest wave of coeducation. Case studies written expressly for this volume include many types of women's colleges-Catholic and secular; Seven Sisters and less prestigious; private and state; liberal arts and more applied; northern, southern, and western; urban and rural; independent and coordinated with a coeducational institution. They demonstrate the principal ways women's colleges have adapted to the new coeducational era: some have been taken over or closed, but most have changed by admitting men and thereby becoming coeducational, or by offering new programs to different populations. Some women's colleges, mostly those that are in cities, connected to other colleges, and prestigious with a high endowment, still enjoy success.

Despite their dramatic drop in numbers, from 250 to fewer than 60 today, women's colleges are still important, editors Miller-Bernal and Poulson argue. With their commitment to enhancing women's lives, women's colleges and formerly women's colleges can serve as models of egalitarian coeducation.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Table of Contents
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. I. The Place of Women's Colleges in Higher Education
  1. 1. Introduction: Changes in the Status and Functions of Women's Colleges over Time
  2. pp. 1-20
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  1. II. Case Studies of Women's Colleges That Have Become Coeducational or Have Closed
  2. pp. 21-23
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  1. 2. Vassar College: A Seven Sisters College Chooses Coeducation
  2. pp. 25-47
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  1. 3. Coeducation at Wheaton College: From Conscious Coeducation to Distinctive Coeducation?
  2. pp. 48-75
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  1. 4. A Catholic Women's College Absorbed by a University: The Case of Mundelein College
  2. pp. 76-107
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  1. 5. Texas Woman's University: Threats to Institutional Autonomy and Conflict over the Admission of Men
  2. pp. 108-144
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  1. 6. Wells College: The Transition to Coeducation Begins
  2. pp. 145-172
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  1. III. Case Studies of Women's Colleges That Have Remained Single Sex
  2. pp. 173-174
  1. 7. Revitalizing the Mission of a Women's College: Mills College in Oakland, California
  2. pp. 175-207
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  1. 8. Simmons College: Meeting the Needs of Women Workers
  2. pp. 208-233
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  1. 9. Spelman College: A Place All Their Own
  2. pp. 234-256
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  1. 10. "Trust and Dare": Adaptations and Innovation at the College of Notre Dame
  2. pp. 257-285
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  1. IV. Case Studies of Affiliated Women's Colleges
  2. pp. 287-288
  1. 11. Rekindling a Legacy: Barnard College Remains a Women's College
  2. pp. 289-327
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  1. 12. Cambridge University's Two Oldest Women's Colleges, Girton and Newnham
  2. pp. 328-371
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  1. V. Conclusions
  2. pp. 374-374
  1. 13. The State of Women's Colleges Today
  2. pp. 375-388
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  1. Appendix 1: Statement of Six Past Presidents of Formerly Women's Colleges, 2000
  2. pp. 389-393
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  1. Appendix 2: List of Women's Colleges in Spring 2005 and Some Summary Characteristics
  2. pp. 394-396
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 397-399
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 401-418
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