On November 1, 2016, USJ announced that the campus would revisit the possibility of becoming fully coeducational with the goal of creating an even more dynamic, engaging and academically-challenging undergraduate experience. In her message to the University community, President Rhona C. Free asked for volunteers for a Task Force on Coeducation to address both options – remaining a women’s program for traditional undergraduate students or becoming fully coeducational. In her message, she said: “The Task Force will solicit comments, suggestions, and advice from all members of the University of Saint Joseph community as it reviews evidence and develops its assessment. It will conduct its work with no preconceived conclusion or bias other than the knowledge that the University will in the future, as it has in the past, maintain a steadfast commitment to preparing students, especially women, for insightful leadership and service to others. ”
The Task Force on Coeducation that was formed following that announcement has been gathering data and weighing the pros and cons of either decision. As part of the process, twelve working groups of faculty, staff, students, and alumni have been exploring the implications of a potential change for various areas of the University: student services, faculty development, athletics, housing, etc. These groups have gathered information from a number of surveys of alumni, students, faculty, and staff; convened focus groups; conducted literature reviews to learn about experiences on other campuses; and interviewed administrators at institutions that have made a change to coeducation.
As the Task Force concludes its work, it has been discussing what additional information should be provided in its report to USJ’s Board of Trustees. It will finalize its report for the Board on March 31, 2017.
Why is USJ Considering Coeducation Now?
The University of Saint Joseph's mission states that it is committed to developing the potential of women, but it does not restrict that commitment to educating only women. Currently, males make up 3% of the undergraduate population and 18% of the graduate population. To accomplish its mission, USJ must provide undergraduate women with high quality academic, co-curricular, and residential programs that challenge each student to achieve her greatest potential.
The University of Saint Joseph, including the Gengras Center School and the School for Young Children, is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. and the State of Connecticut Board of Higher Education. The University of Saint Joseph prohibits discrimination against any persons on account of their race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, transgender status, marital status, national origin, ancestry, disability (including, but not limited to, intellectual disability, present or past history of mental disorder, learning disability, or physical disability), genetic information, homelessness, prior conviction of a crime, or any other characteristic protected by law, in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and employment practices (unless there is a bona fide occupational qualification related to employment).
Inquiries concerning the University’s non-discrimination policies may be referred to Deborah Spencer, Human Resources director /Title IX coordinator, telephone 860.231.5390 or email titleIX@usj.edu, or to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 8th Floor, Five Post Office Square, Boston MA 02109, telephone 617.289.0111, TDD 800.877.8339, fax 617.289.0150, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information.