Light on the Hill, Volume II

Miller, Russell


IN ORDER TO PROTECT AND PROMOTE the ever-broadening interests and involvement of women, a Women's Center was opened at Tufts in March 1972 for all female faculty, administration, staff, and students. It was intended to serve as a focal point for matters dealing with such perceived needs among women as information about health, legal assistance, and career opportunities and guidance; opportunity to develop such practical skills as auto mechanics, once thought to be confined to a man's world; and consciousness raising


to reinforce feminine identity. Progress in enhancing career possibilities for professional women in particular was made in 1976, when the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation made a $30,000 grant to Tufts extending over two years.

Two of the major goals set by Antonia Chayes as early as 1966 were the creation of a day-care center and development of a program in continuing education for mature women. Both had been accomplished within a few months after her departure in the summer of 1970. The trustee Educational Policy Committee approved the establishment of a day-care center that fall, with two provisos: It had to make an educational contribution, and it had to be self-supporting. Both stipulations were met.

The day-care center was opened in February 1971 with twenty students. It provided much-needed all-day facilities for working families and also furnished much more than "baby-sitting," for a curriculum under the supervision of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study was devised, as anticipated by Chayes. It provided both educational content and an opportunity for student teachers to gain practical experience. The center was overseen by an advisory board chaired at first by Dean Simmons. Physical facilities were provided in a concrete block building near Cousens Gymnasium which had been built in the early 1950s originally to house a naval research program. The structure was renovated by the university for day-care purposes at a cost of almost $10,000. The center eventually developed its own budget, administered by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and had become a valuable permanent fixture among Tufts' expanding facilities.

The Continuing Education program was approved by the trustees and faculty early in 1969 and came into existence in the fall of 1970 with an enrollment of ten women. Two years later the enrollment had increased to forty-two. An enlargement of the Jackson College student body was authorized by the trustees to make room for the new students. The program was intended not only to provide greater flexibility in the education of older women but to respond both educationally and financially to the needs of worthy low-income women who had been involved in community projects in the Greater Boston area. Four of the ten women in the original group had previous college experience, and their ages ranged from twenty-nine to fifty. All were or had been married and all of them had children, ranging in number from one to twelve.

All were candidates for a regular bachelor's degree and were expected to meet Jackson degree requirements. Academically, most of them had difficulties their first year, shared in some degree by all


adults who entered or returned to college after an extended period outside an academic environment. The development of adequate writing skills was a special need. Finances were also a problem for most such students and at first only scholarship (tuition) aid was available. As a consequence, many had to hold part-time jobs while taking a full course load. Another problem was isolation from each other as well as from the rest of the student body, for each pursued a different set of courses, depending on their interests. During the academic year 1970-71, Continuing Education students were enrolled in twelve different departments as well as in the Experimental College. This difficulty was remedied at least in part a few weeks after the program began, and a seminar led by Judith Laskaris and Bobbi Knable made the academic and social adjustments much easier.

The Continuing Education program was replete with success stories, including that of a mother and daughter team who both received their AB degrees in 1973. The daughter had been enrolled in the Upward Bound program conducted by Tufts in the 1960s.

Although designed originally as an undergraduate program, routes to both the combined bachelor's/master's program and graduate programs were as open to Continuing Education students as to regular students, and several took advantage of the opportunities thus offered. A master's program in Urban Social and Environmental Policy begun in the fall of 1973 attracted several Continuing Education students. At least one student not only completed the undergraduate education which had been interrupted at another institution but went on at Tufts to earn a PhD.

The Continuing Education program at Tufts was in no sense an isolated phenomenon confined to one institution. It became a working part of an elaborate network covering the entire Greater Boston area. The Tufts program was originally financed by a one-year $40,000 grant from the John Hay Whitney Foundation through the initiative of Dean Simmons. Part of the money was used to finance a one-year study group (1971-72) co-chaired by Suzanne Lipsky, the director, and the Dean of Jackson. Part of the funds were used to create the Tufts-based Boston Study Group on Continuing Education for Urban Women. This in turn gave rise to the Women's Inner-City Educational Resource Service (WINNERS), a federally financed and community-based center serving the needs of Boston women seeking educational and career advancement. Among the institutions involved were the Model Cities program in Boston, Northeastern University, the University of Massachusetts (Boston), Middlesex Community College, and Simmons College. A second unofficial organization grew out of the study group and was known as the


Council on Higher Education for Urban Women. Its planning committee included representatives from seven educational institutions. Its purpose was to serve as a clearing house, information agency, and coordinating unit for the multitude of programs which had sprung up almost overnight. It was Tufts that was in the forefront of an exciting and largely successful movement to make significant contributions to the community at large as well as to broaden educational opportunity for all.

Antonia Chayes, before her resignation from the deanship of Jackson, had put Bernice Miller in charge of coordinating the plans for the Continuing Education program. She left Tufts after only a few months and was replaced by Laskaris, who remained until 1974 as an Associate Dean of Jackson and Director of Continuing Education. Knable, who had joined the faculty of the English Department and had been placed in charge of the course in remedial English intended primarily for minority students, was Assistant Dean of Jackson and Director of Continuing Education between 1974 and 1977. She later became the Tufts Dean of Students. Another personnel change in the program took place in 1977 when Marian Conner, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Instruction, was placed in charge of Continuing Education.

The program was not only administered by Jackson College when it began but was limited originally to women students. During the second year of the program (1971-72) faculty involvement increased with the creation of an ad hoc Committee for Continuing Education to serve as a consultative body and as a channel through which curricular matters could be considered. The program was opened to men in 1976 in compliance with federal law, and was no longer known as the "Jackson Program for Continuing Education." A change in the program designation was also made subsequently. It became known as "Resumed Education for Adult Learners" (REAL) to distinguish it from a newly revived and expanded continuing education program which had been started as part-time evening courses many years earlier, under the Division (later College) of Special Studies. The original continuing education program had almost died out in the 1970s and was reborn and expanded in the 1980s as a program still identified as "continuing education." The resulting confusion in terminology had presumably been cleared up by 1983, when Bonnie Newman was appointed Director of Continuing Education in the College of Special Studies as well as Director of the Tufts Summer School. Unlike the Continuing Education program of the 1980s, which included seminars, institutes, and other special programs under a variety of sponsoring organizations,


and were offered part-time and mostly but not exclusively as non-credit courses, REAL was limited to students twenty-five years of age and over who were full-time students working for undergraduate degrees. There were seventy enrolled in 1983, and REAL continued to contribute significantly to the burgeoning field of adult education and to the expanding field of community service in which Tufts had a leading role.

  • Light on the Hill, the second volume of the history of Tufts University, was published in 1986, covering the years from 1952 to 1986. This doucument was created from the 1986 edition of Light on the Hill, Volume II.
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 Title Page
1. Setting the Stage for the Second Century
2. Long-Range Planning
3. Bricks and Mortar 1952-1967
4. The End of Theological Education at Tufts
5. Ever-Widening Curricula for Liberal Arts and Engineering
6. Jackson College: A Search for Identity
7. Defining the Role of the College of Special Studies
8. The Arts and Sciences Faculty I
9. The Arts and Sciences Faculty II
10. The Central Library
11. The Changing Character of the Student Body
12. Fraternities and Sororities at Tufts: A Cyclical History
13. A Beehive of Activity: From Trustees to Students
14. From Wessell to Hallowell
15. The Hallowell Administration: Years of Trial and Tribulation
16. The Hallowell Administration: Continued Trial and Tribulation
17. Educational Ventures, Successful and Otherwise
18. The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
19. Medical and Dental Education I
20. Medical and Dental Education II
21. Taking Stock of the University in the 1960s and 1970s
22. The Mayer Administration: A Preliminary View
23. The Mayer Administration: Consolidation and Expansion