MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - On Saturday, April 8, from 8:30-4 p.m., Middlebury College will host an interdisciplinary symposium to evaluate the controversies and questions surrounding women in academia. The subject has received increased attention ever since former Harvard president Lawrence Summers made controversial public remarks on the topic in 2005. The symposium, featuring a panel of women scholars in philosophy, history, education, psychology and economics, will take place in the Conference Room of the Robert A. Jones ‘59 House, located on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125).

In 2002, more American women than men received doctorates from universities in the United States. While this achievement represents a significant milestone for women in higher education, it has not produced a proportional increase in the number of women faculty - a fact noted by former president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers, in his remarks to the National Bureau of Economic Research on Jan. 14, 2005. Summers remarked on the paucity of women in tenured positions in science and engineering at top universities and research institutions and offered three possible explanations for women’s absence in the field: choice, biology and discrimination. Summers’ arguments sparked enormous controversy and raised questions regarding women as producers of knowledge in higher education. Symposium organizers hope to explore several compelling issues surrounding women’s roles in higher education, including why, despite the increase in women doctoral recipients over the past thirty years, women have failed to prosper as faculty in the male-dominated environment of higher education.

Panelists include Helen Horowitz, Sydenham Clark Parsons professor of history and American studies, Smith College; Mary Ann Dzuback, associate professor of education and history, Washington University of St. Louis; Roxanne Gudeman, adjunct professor of psychology, Macalester College; Jane Roland Martin, professor emeritus of philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Boston; Barbara Gault, vice president and director of research at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and research professor, George Washington University; Diana Strassman, a senior research fellow at Rice University and editor of Feminist Economics; and Ann Mari May, visiting associate professor of economics at Middlebury College.

The event is co-sponsored by two Middlebury College organizations - the women’s and gender studies program and the Christian A. Johnson Economics Enrichment Fund - and is free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more information or to register please contact Janine Podraza of the Middlebury College Economics Department at jpodraza@middlebury.edu or (802) 443-3198.