A Model for Women's Colleges
In a letter to the editor of USA Today, President James F. Conneely, Ph.D. highlights the critical role of women's colleges in preparing leaders.
While a recent USA TODAY article focuses on the declining number of all-women colleges, the more interesting story is the innovative strategies the remaining women's colleges have pursued to sustain their unique identities and roles in educating women as leaders ("Women's colleges struggle to keep identity and enrollment").
I am fresh to the task of leading a women's college, having assumed the presidency this past July of Notre Dame of Maryland University, which maintains as our institutional foundation a full-time, women-only undergraduate college. The path we have chosen constitutes a model for other institutions that seek to preserve their cherished single-gender status.
While we have developed new graduate and professional programs for women and men, we recognize that our women's college possesses our institutional DNA and, therefore, must be preserved and nourished. Some might see risk in our status as the last single-sex college in Maryland. Rather, we see a bright future, having preserved a form of education that continues to produce women leaders at disproportionately high levels, while allowing ourselves the flexibility to build upon our women's college with complementary programs that are in high demand and open to all.
James F. Conneely, president, Notre Dame of Maryland University;
Published September 10, 2012