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ERIC Number: ED521998
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 227
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-5375-9
The Founding of the New Jersey College for Women: The Struggle for Women's Access during the Progressive Era (1870-1930)
Shay, Patricia Dougher
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Boston
This study examined the founding of the New Jersey College for Women as an exemplary case that illustrates important social and political issues regarding women's access and acceptance to higher education during the Progressive Era. The New Jersey College for Women was founded as a public women's college that was affiliated with the state's all-male, public land-grant institution (Rutgers). This research explored how the founding of the New Jersey College for Women accommodated public pressures for gender equality, yet retained a separate, privileged higher education system reserved for men only. The study sought to address three primary questions. How did the founding of the New Jersey College for Women illustrate both expanding access for women, as well as resistance to coeducation? What were the experiences of the women students in the new college? And what types of careers and life choices did the women students make following graduation? These questions were addressed through the use of two conceptual frameworks: organizational saga and institution building. Key findings pertained to women's agency and the strategy of separatism, which allowed women to gain voice within their own institution. The path to coeducation was blocked by the patriarchal structure of New Jersey higher education. Therefore, the most expedient path to gain access to a four-year college education was through the creation of a new, separate institution for women. The New Jersey College for Women operated as a separate institution with its own budget, leadership, curriculum, and degree offerings. On the other hand, the affiliation with Rutgers, to a certain extent, opened an existing all-male institution to women. Through the New Jersey College for Women, women students were able to gain access to Rutgers faculty and some of the intellectual resources of that campus. Separate, however, was not equal. The new college struggled to obtain resources, and remained subject to patriarchal leaders at Rutgers who could have intervened at any time in the functioning of the college. Therefore, this case represents a delicate balance between opening an existing, all-male institution, and pursuing a strategy of a separate women's college. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey