Research Log #4

This week, I finished looking through the course catalogs and also attempted to contact two of the alumnae for possible interviews to further our research. The course catalog browsing went much better than the interview attempt as unfortunately neither of the women I called answered the phone nor did they have answering machines. I sent them both emails and will continue to call and try to schedule interviews.

Luckily the catalogs provided more useful information in the short term. The first catalog I looked at was from 1956-57 and it was mostly the same as the years before: same majors offered, same general courses available, same graduation requirements. The Commerce/Secretarial classes were back again, suggesting that the trial runs from the past 3 years were successful and the program was decided to be worthwhile. However they were still the same 4 classes as before, which seems to indicate that the skills from the classes weren’t continually evolving (Catalog XLIII).

The same couldn’t be said for the Home Economics department. By 1957 the department had further subdivided several existing classes; for example, the class formerly known as “Problems in Nutrition and Diet in Disease” was now being offered as “Nutrition and Dietetics” and “Diet Therapy” (Catalog XLIII). Other classes were technically removed from the catalog, but were replaced by basically the same material offered under a different name with minor adjustments. The class on industrial-scale food preparation was replaced with “Quantity Cookery” which effectively taught the same skills as the first class, but with more emphasis on the needs of an industrial kitchen and its upkeep.

There were few changes in the catalog between 1957 and 1958; all of the same courses were offered, but the Home Economics’ section layout was drastically changed. Prior to the 1957-58 catalog, the Home Economics department offered charts with yearly break-downs of what classes students should take in order to graduate in their specialty. But in 1957-58, the charts had been removed and the students were required to pick their classes with their instructor instead (Catalog XLIV).

Finally in 1958-59 the last notable changed happened. In Home Economics, “Home Management Economics” was cur from the department’s offerings while a class called “Modern Marriage” was added. Modern Marriage taught the “concepts of the development of modern family life [and] the expanding, contracting and interaction dynamics of families in changing times” (Catalog XLV). There was also a major addition of student-accessible technology in this catalog. Two foreign language labs had been installed for French and Spanish students with the latest equipment like tape recorders, record players, individual listening stations and something called Sound-scribers (XLV). This seems to indicate a shifting focus on giving students access to technology in departments other than the hard sciences and may perhaps reflect the spread of fairly-inexpensive equipment in a variety of fields.

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