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Kudos to the Graduate School of Education for creating the position of Patricia Albjerg Graham chair of gender studies and for choosing Professor of Education Carol A. Gilligan to fill the post. Professor Gilligan's pioneering and controversial work in developmental psychology, popularized in such books as In a Different Voice, continues to challenge dominant views about the role of gender in education and about acceptable modes of articulation and thought.
That Harvard's Graduate School of Education has made a decision to pay more attention to the role of gender at such a pivotal time in the University's history is a step in the right direction for the University as a whole. The new chair brings to greater prominence the voice of Gilligan as a spokesperson for and authority in the field of gender studies. This is especially significant given that Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences is only 12 percent female. The Education School remains several decades ahead of the College in this respect.
In the field of education, recent studies indicating that females are regularly shortchanged in the classroom have had a large impact on the training of teachers. The Harvard School of Education has been in the forefront of this growing field of research, having graduated such influential scholars such as Myra and David Sadker. Gilligan's latest appointment solidifies that leadership. We hope that the controversial nature of her work will spark more discussions about gender and education at this University.
Professor Gilligan's chair is the result of donations of four alumna at a time when many are reining in their contributions to the University's capital campaign exactly because of their displeasure with the status of women here. These women have seen that the best way to get your voice heard at Harvard is to use the megaphone or a large check. Hopefully more alumnae and alumni will see this endowment as a model for how to advance the cause of female scholarship at Harvard.
Professor Gilligan's appointment is a positive and productive step in the University's journey to granting progressive fields such as gender studies and women's studies the consideration and importance that they deserve. She is certainly a pioneer researcher in her field, and Harvard is privileged to have her as a key member of the faculty. We hope that the University will continue to make such strides that demonstrate and maintain its position at the top of the educational community.
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