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ERIC Number: EJ943362
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Pages: 27
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
Sweeping out Home Economics: Curriculum Reform at Connecticut College for Women, 1952-1962
Marthers, Paul Philip
History of Education Quarterly, v51 n3 p362-388 Aug 2011
At the moment of its founding in 1911, Connecticut College for Women exhibited a curricular tension between an emphasis on the liberal arts, which mirrored the elite men's and women's colleges of the day, and vocational aspects, which made it a different type of women's college, one designed to prepare women for the kind of lives they would lead in twentieth-century America. Connecticut was a women's college that simultaneously embraced the established brand of education practiced by its prestigious Seven Sister neighbors and forged its own path by integrating elements of home economics, municipal housekeeping, and professional/clerical training into its academic program. For forty years Connecticut College for Women achieved a balance between those two opposing poles of its curriculum. By the early 1950s, the curricular landscape was changing in the nation and on the Connecticut College campus. Post-World War II industrial expansion ushered in a new emphasis on science education on American college campuses. The Truman Commission had declared in 1947 that higher education was in the national interest and had predicted a boom in college enrollment by 1960. Nationally there was a shift from endeavoring to educate a well-rounded generalist to a technically adept specialist. The major local change was in Connecticut College's leadership. The College's president was no longer Katharine Blunt, whose academic training in chemistry, first at Vassar and then at the University of Chicago, had manifested itself in applications to food science. In historical accounts of Connecticut College for Women, the president who followed the long Katherine Blunt era, Rosemary Park, is frequently lauded for reestablishing the primacy of the liberal arts in the curriculum. Park and faculty leaders in the 1950s steered the Connecticut curriculum away from the vocational areas that had been offered as major options and minor electives from the College's opening semester in September 1915. The Connecticut College that emerged from the Rosemary Park era was an institution that had pruned some of the curricular offerings that had been central at its founding. In removing the home economics program, Connecticut College let go of the field where its longest-serving president, Katharine Blunt, had achieved prominence. Also gone by the end of Park's tenure were other programs that had expressed Connecticut College's difference at its birth, such as secretarial courses. (Contains 204 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut