Degree Name

Master of Science in Education

Department or Program

Educational Administration


This paper traces the role of deans of women in institutions of higher education in the United States, spanning from the 1800s until the position’s decline in the 1960s. Deans of women played a pivotal role in advocating for college women, helping them receive access to housing, student organizations, and academic programs originally open only to their male peers. As the position because a staple on campuses across the country, deans of women created organizations, conferences, and journals with the hope of sharing their experiences with other deans, and setting professional standards. After World War II, the role of deans of women declined due to a variety of reasons, including the increase of veterans on campus and the rise of the dean of men position. While deans of women disappeared from most campuses by the late 1960s, their professional organizations and standards created a foundation for the field of Student Affairs.