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 it, thus beginning a relationship with Wheaton from her perspectives both as scholar and as specialist in women’s issues. A 1975 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 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 as 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. She comes to us most recently from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio (she is a Cleveland native), where she served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Both at John Carroll and here at Wheaton, now in her second year, she is a professor in both the Education and the History departments.
President Ronald Crutcher, in announcing her appointment, stressed her achievements not only in service to higher education but as a scholar of education. Eisenmann therefore brings to Wheaton College at a crucial point in its history a profound knowledge of the College's place in the history of education, and of coeducation, in America. Last September, in a celebration of Wheaton's 175th anniversary, it was Eisenmann who was chosen to deliver the Founder's Day speech on the history of Wheaton. Eisenmann’s scholarship, with its interest in the social context of higher education, examines three areas of educational history in particular: 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.
Wheaton College will draw heavily on her professional expertise as it grows in and adapts to the changing world of modern higher education. Herself a first-generation college student, Eisenmann is past president of both the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the History of Education Society. She has also served 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 Harvard Educational Review, and was associate editor of the History of Education Quarterly. Currently, she is an Associate Editor for Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, and sits on the corresponding editorial board of the Journal of Educational Administration and History (U.K.). And as a former women's college, Wheaton is glad to have as its chief academic officer a former member of the Board of Directors of Saint Joseph Academy, the only all-girls’ high school in the city of Cleveland. In fact, Eisenmann gave the commencement address at SJA in June 2010, encouraging the graduates to embrace both their privilege and their responsibility as educated women in today’s world.