Considering Coeducation at USJ

Considering Coeducation at USJ

Considering Coeducation at USJ: A Task Force Update

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.

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