Post #3: Course Catalogs

My goal for this week’s work in Special Collections was to start copying down some of the information we will be putting on our website, and in the process to analyze the information about courses in order to infer something about the classroom experience. In deciding what majors to include on our website, we tried to include a variety of options so that users could choose a major that might genuinely have interested them, were they a student at Mary Washington in the 1960s, and we settled on English, Chemistry, Education and Home Economics.

One of the things I was most interested in discovering was what percentage of professors were female. My theory was that a women’s college would have as many women teaching as possible, or that there would be many female professors. What I found, in the end, was that this varied by department along pretty much the lines you would imagine. The Chemistry department has only one female professor, and she is only listed as teaching one class.

I also expected Education to fall under the category of “women’s subjects” and was surprised to find that this does not appear to be the case. Actually, I expected Education to be an entire major; we chose to highlight that department in light of the fact that Mary Washington was a Normal School. Instead, Education is not it’s own major, although it was possible to get teaching certification as well as to student teach. Even within the few classes offered specifically as Education classes, only one of the professors is a woman and, again, she only teaches one class. The other female professor to teach an Education class is actually a member of the Home Economics department, and teaches “Principles of Teaching Home Economics.”

There are significantly more women involved in the English Department, but only because it was a larger department. There are still more thant three times as many men as women. Only in the Home Economics department are all the professors female.

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