Memorandum to officers of instruction and administration from the Dean of Faculty LeRoy C. Breunig, January 12, 1971, page 8

Download: Transcript

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 View All

Show transcript

          of the books are first editions, they are not bibliographical
rareties, and students are able to consult them in the Treasure
Room of the College library. Smith and Radcliffe have both gone
farther than Barnard in the establishment of libraries and archives
which serve as centers of research.for scholars interested in women
writers and in the history, sociology, and psychology of women.
Barnard is, however, presently engaged in the effort to obtain other
private collections like that of Mrs. Overbury and to acquire those
books necessitated by the introduction of more courses about women.

The implications of programs in women's studies and of libraries

of books by and about women transcend their academic functions.

Both of them may serve purely intellectual ends, but they also have
a polemic or quasi-political nature which is not to be minimized.

It is surely beyond argument that one of the jobs of women's colleges -
of any institution which educates women, for that matter - is to
help women see clearly their situations and their abilities, and, if
necessary, to help them define or redefine their goals in light

of those situations and those abilities. Courses which consider
such questions and libraries which complement those courses provide
obvious ways in which to make women students aware of themselves

as women in academic and professional contexts. The contributions
of the office of advisers and the placement office are equally
important in this respect. Barnard's placement office is particularly
active in trying to make our students raise their sights and aim at
professions they might not have considered - while still epprising
them of actualities, of the often humiliating limitations of oppor-
tunities for advancement open to women in many fields. The office
has called upon alumnae who have achieved success in a variety of
fields to talk with students interested in pursuing similar careers;
it continues to help students professionally after their graduation.
More could, of course, be done; but not everything depends on the
colleges. While Barnard students may major in Conservation, in
British Civilization, in American Studies, they still must confront
the realities of the job market and the prejudices of professional
schools. The Biology department consistently attracts a large
number of majors; the premedical program is an active one; and
Barnard is proud to have the highest percentage among the Seven
Sister Colleges of young women who enter the medical professions.
The real numbers, however, are still depressingly low when compared
with the numbers of our alumnae in teaching below the college level,
in publishing, advertising, and so forth.

It has also been suggested - with increasing urgency - that
women's colleges, particularly those in metropolitan areas, have
responsibilities to women other than their own students and alumnae.
As in men's colleges, or coeducational institutions, programs in
Urban Studies, the use of the city as a laboratory, and the active
recruitment of disadvantaged students help to bridge the gulf that
often (not to say always) exists between an educational institution
and the community in which it is located. But it has been argued
that, just as women's colleges can help their students to redefine
their roles, so they can perform a similar function in relation to
women in the community, providing them with intellectual stimlation
and offering them the opportunity to develop or to transform the
range and scope of their academic training. If universities and