Faculty News

Madeleine Grumet receives Willystine Goodsell award

Madeleine Grumet was awarded the 2008 Willystine Goodsell Award March 25, 2008 in New York City for her outstanding scholarship, activism and community building on behalf of women, girls and education. The award is presented annually by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) to a person who has made a significant contribution to women and education.

A professor of education and communication studies, Grumet served as dean of the School of Education of the UNC-Chapel Hill from 1998 to 2003, a position she previously held at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

Grumet’s eight nominators highlighted her profound influence as a scholar, teacher, colleague and friend.  She is recognized as “the most important feminist intellectual in education,” wrote Charlotte Harris, chair of the Willystine Goodsell Award Committee, and as “having advanced the cause of women and girls immeasurably.”

In a letter nominating Grumet, Diane Wood, associate professor of education at the University of Southern Maine, wrote, “In a wide range of ways, she has encouraged teachers to be aware their profession is gendered, to recognize ways they have been subordinated and silenced, and to speak up and speak out about policies that do not support the growth and development of children. …

“At the University of North Carolina, in an attempt to improve working conditions for junior faculty in the School of Education, Madeleine worked to obtain positions for junior faculty members on promotion and tenure committees and to involve them in faculty governance processes. Over this time, she also worked with a family foundation to develop a program that sought and supported female applicants to the university’s principal certification programs in Educational Leadership. 

“In addition, and probably most significant, she exercised leadership to develop a master's degree for experienced teachers that honored both their knowledge and interests as well as the complexities and demands of their working lives. This program is extended to cohorts of teachers who come to study together around a particular subject area, their common interest facilitating their collaboration both in action research and activism for school change.  Cohorts meet in their communities and portions of coursework are online. In February, 2002 these efforts were recognized by AACTE, which granted Madeleine and her colleagues the Best Practice Award for Women's Leadership Development and Gender Equity.”

Grumet’s scholarly work focuses on understanding how society influences what goes on in schools. In her book titled Bitter Milk: Women and Teaching, she addressed the influence of gender on knowledge and teaching. Drawing her scholarship from literature and philosophy, she has analyzed trends in curriculum theory and advanced the integration of the arts in the curriculum of the academic disciplines.

The Willystine Goodsell award was presented at the Goodsell address and reception at the AERA Annual Meeting in New York. Founded in 1916, AERA is a 25,000-member international professional organization whose primary goal, as stated on its Web site, is “to advance educational research and its practical application.” The selection committee for the award was comprised of members of Research on Women in Education, a special Interest Group of AERA.  

Willystine Goodsell, for whom the award is named, was a 19th-century activist teacher and faculty member at Teachers College, Columbia University. Goodsell dedicated her life to advancing opportunities and equal education for women.

As the 2008 award recipient, Grumet will deliver the Willystine Goodsell address at the 2009 AERA Annual Meeting.