Meet the Provost
Linda Eisenmann, Ed.D. in History of Education
In 1984, when Wheaton published its foundational Toward a Balanced Curriculum, Linda Eisenmann reviewed the book, thus beginning a relationship with Wheaton from her perspectives both as scholar and as specialist in women’s issues. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Connecticut College who majored in English, she had finished her second master's degree in Education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education (the first M.A. was in English from Georgetown), and was then working toward her doctorate in History of Education, which she earned in 1987. The twenty-five years that came between that review and her arrival at Wheaton in 2009 as Provost have seen Eisenmann in a number of positions of influence in the worlds of academic research and academic administration. At the University of Massachusetts Boston, she served both as Professor of Education and Director of the doctoral program in Higher Education Administration, a program fostering change agency in colleges and universities. She has previously taught at Harvard University, Wellesley College, and Bowdoin College, and has held several administrative posts in higher education, including assistant director of the Bunting Institute, a center for advanced studies at Radcliffe College. Just prior to Wheaton, she was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at John Carroll University, in Cleveland, Ohio (her home town). At John Carroll and at Wheaton, she is a professor in both the Education and the History departments.
Eisenmann’s scholarship, with its interest in the social context of higher education, examines three areas of educational history: women’s experiences, professionalization, and historiography. Within these, she has explored the history and impact of coeducation; the history of teacher training institutions; and professionalization in colleges and universities, especially the history of women faculty. One recent book, Higher Education for Women in Postwar America, 1945-1965 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), explores the impact of cultural expectations on women’s collegiate experience in the postwar era. Her two most recent publications are “’ ’Honorary Men’ and Incidental Students: Women in Post-World War II American Higher Education, 1945-1970,” in Panayotidis and Stortz, eds., Women in Higher Education, 1850-1970: International Perspectives (Routledge, 2015), and “’Making Better Colleges’: AAC’s [American Association of Colleges] Century of Change and Commitment,” in the Winter/Spring 2015 Liberal Education.
Herself a first-generation college student, Eisenmann is committed to helping students and faculty navigate the changing world of higher education. In Fall 2013, she taught a First Year Seminar entitled “Wheaton: Past, Present, and Future” in which her students learned about their college in the larger context of higher education, and then conducted oral history interviews with recently-retired Wheaton faculty. That experience followed her Founders Day address, “Wheaton in the World: Placing the College in the History of Higher Education,” for Wheaton’s 175th anniversary in 2009.
Eisenmann is past president of both the History of Education Society and the Association for the Study of Higher Education, as well as Vice President (in the division of History and Historiography) of the American Educational Research Association. She has chaired the editorial board of the Journal of Higher Education, co-chaired the editorial board of the Harvard Educational Review, was associate editor of the History of Education Quarterly, and served on the advisory board for A Measure of Equity: Women’s Progress in Higher Education for the Association of American Colleges and University (2008). Currently, she is an Associate Editor for Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. Academic year 2015-16 will be her final year as Provost; following a sabbatical, she will assume a position on the Wheaton faculty.