Center Facilities Expanded: Evaluation & Makeover in Progress

by Beth Willinger, Director

There is always something new and exciting to report to you about our activities here at the Center. The beginning of 1997 poses no exception. First, the square footage of the space we occupy in Caroline Richardson Hall has almost doubled. Over the semest er break, we began moving and rearranging our occupancy to fill the first as well as the second floors of the building. The most striking feature of our new look is the expansion of the Nadine Vorhoff Library. The Library is now located in what had been f ormerly the Anna Many Lounge and makes possible the shelving of all our books and periodicals in one room. Susan Tucker writes more about this transformation in her piece in this issue. Other features of our expansion include establishing the Anna Many Lo unge in the space previously used for the library, and moving various chairs and tables downstairs to create a "great room." The "great room" will be used for most of our programs and we hope this first-floor location facilitates your attendance at progra ms by eliminating the treacherous climb to the second floor. In many ways, however, the greatest improvements have occurred in what had been formerly behind the scenes spaces. For example, the hallway leading to the restroom had served as an "office" for our visiting scholars. Visiting scholars now have space in the Newcomb Archives.

We see these changes as the first stage in the renovation of Caroline Richardson Hall, or possibly the first movement toward construction of a new building. Additional office space is sorely needed as are new furnishings and equipment. We remain hopeful of receiving a grant from LEQSF which would enable us to estab lish a computer room in what is currently the Conference Room. We also are hopeful of receiving funding to better furnish and upgrade the facility and to create office space on the first floor. Your help in funding items large and small, through membersh ip in Friends or other donations, would be greatly appreciated.

We are in the midst also of a different kind of passage. The celebration and conclusion of the Center's first 20 years appeared as an auspicious moment to assess the Center's mission and to suggest future directions. President Kelly appointed a committee comprised of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty to conduct an evaluation of the Center as a way to ensure the Center's "place in the front ranks of nationally recognized Centers for Research on Women." The committee is being chaired by Beth Rubin, Associa te Professor, Department of Sociology, and John Patton, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication.

The Evaluation
The overall charge to the Committee is to assess the Center in relation to its mission to promote research and teaching about women as well as in its relation to Newcomb College and the education of women. Elements for consideration include: 1) Research P rograms such as the Nadine Vorhoff Library and Newcomb Archives, the Visiting Scholars Program, Travel-to-Collections Grants, the Research Grants Program, and the Archival and Bibliographic Series; 2) the Women's Studies Program including the academic maj or and minor and Women's Studies Faculty Associates Program; 3) Educational and co-curricular programs such as faculty study and/or research groups, and programs such as the Zale Writer-in-Residence, Adele Salzer Lecture, and other lectures, presentations , or conferences; 4) effectiveness of community outreach with respect to lifelong learning through programs, the Internet, and publication of the Newsletter and other announcements; and 5) adequacy of financial resources. The review of the Center also enc ompasses an evaluation of the director with respect to the above elements regarding development of programs, expansion, interactions with constituents, and administration.

The Self-Study
As part of the larger University review of the Center's programs and mission, the Center also is conducting a self-study. Our self-study is an examination of the Center's on-going functions and future planning in relation to other such centers and librari es devoted to research and teaching about women. We want the ideas of our stakeholders, both on campus and in the community, to be included in this review. As someone who has an interest in the Center's present and future offerings, we want to hear from y ou about the ways you have used the resources of the Center, the benefit of these resources to you, how you perceive using the Center in the future, and any additional resources you feel the Center should have to facilitate your use. Please take a minute to complete the questionnaire. Your ideas are important to us as we plan for the future. We hope you will respond to the questionnaire inserted with this Newsletter or write your own letter and return it to us at the Center. If you pr efer, you may write directly to the Committee: Professor Beth Rubin, Department of Sociology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118;

We are hopeful that the outcome of the evaluation will be the allocation of additional resources for the Women's Studies Program, Vorhoff Library and Newcomb Archives, and research programs. We are interested particularly in funding for a full-time facult y position in women's studies to provide direction and offer additional courses to meet the curriculum needs of this growing program.
While we imagine the Center's future, immediately ahead of us is a full semester of programs and events. We look forward to seeing you soon, and often, in our expanded facility.

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