Dr. Margaret Nash’s Anthology Introduces New Voices on the History of Women in Higher Education


It’s been over 30 years since historian Barbara Solomon published In the Company of Educated Women: A History of Women and Higher Education, one of the few comprehensive texts that looks at the role of women in higher education. Since then, subsequent accounts of women in higher education have largely been “an ‘add-in’ to the grand narrative of higher education,” explains Margaret Nash, a Professor in the Graduate School of Education at UC Riverside.

Inspired by this, and the lack of comprehensive scholarship that she, herself, has been able draw on for the courses she teaches at UC Riverside, Nash has released Women’s Higher Education in the United States: New Historical Perspectives, a collection of new viewpoints on women’s education from the early 19th century through the 1970s.

“So much research has been done since Barbara Solomon’s book was published in 1985, and Palgrave series editors William J. Reese and John Rury thought it was time for a new volume that brought together some of the new directions the field has taken since then. I was honored to take on the project,” said Nash.

The book contains 12 different essays, including “From Haskell to Hawaii: One American Indian Woman’s Educational Journey” authored by UC Riverside Ph.D. candidate Jennifer Talerico-Brown. Nash considered many factors when choosing authors for the various chapters, including the diversity of voices and experiences – racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, as well as roles: students, faculty, and administrators.

Whereas earlier research on women in higher education tends to ask about access, such as when were women allowed to attend college, Women’s Higher Education in the United States, poses different questions. “Histories of education usually focus on, understandably, people who receive or offer that education, and most of the chapters in this book do that, too. But there also are important stories to uncover in who is left out: who does not get formal education, and why? One of the chapters focuses on antebellum African American women who protested their exclusion from education,” explains Nash.

The volume also poses questions about power relations in higher education. For any time and place, what is the nature of the power that particular women have, as students, instructors, staff, or as President? How do particular women attempt to free or constrain other women through education? What understanding of “woman” is perpetuated by colleges and universities, and how do LGBTQs negotiate that definition? What disciplinary measures are being used to police the boundaries of acceptability?

By uncovering these stories, Nash’s anthology demonstrates how an examination of the history of women’s education can transform our understanding of educational institutions and processes more generally.

Dr. Joseph Kahne Partners with Teaching Channel

Who says kids can’t be politically active? Headed by Graduate School of Education professor Joseph Kahne and Erica Hodgin, UC Riverside’s Civic Engagement Research Group recently collaborated with Teaching Channel in curating “Educating for Democracy,” a collection of videos, blogs, research articles, and other resources designed to help educators prepare youth for civic engagement.

The collection, part of Teaching Channel’s “Deep Dive” series, serves as a jumping-off point for teachers looking to influence young people’s participation in democracy. Subjects covered include how to assist students with researching social issues that interest them, how to encourage healthy and productive dialogues both inside and outside of the classroom, and how to guide budding activists to mobilize in their own communities.

Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Kahne, who holds the Ted and Jo Dutton Presidential Chair in Educational Policy and Politics at UCR, conducted extensive research on young people’s inability to discern fake from real news in digital spaces. With that in mind, “Educating for Democracy” also features videos and web links to lesson-planning materials geared toward teaching students new techniques to better determine the accuracy of information found online. Those interested in learning more can access the collection here and follow @Ed4Democracy on Twitter.

Tess Eyrich

This article is written by Tess Eyrich and was originally published in UCR Today.

Dr. Jan Blacher’s New Research Looks at Stress Levels of Mothers of Children with Autism

UCR Today recently highlighted new research from autism expert Jan Blacher, a distinguished professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside, which suggests a positive outlook can mitigate the psychological effects of parenting a child with autism:

In a study published online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Blacher and her research partner Bruce L. Baker, found that mothers of teenagers with ASD or ID reported higher levels of stress and other negative psychological symptoms than mothers of teenagers with typical development. Those levels climbed even higher when teenagers with ASD or ID also showed signs of clinical-level disruptive behavior disorders.

“It’s in the face of stress when optimism really becomes important,” Blacher said. “A mom that has a high level of optimism is going to be able to better weather stress and be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead.”

Read more about the findings in UCR Today’s full piece here.