The Grace Hooten Moore Memorial Fountain in front of Pearce Auditorium in long exposure.

The Women’s College announces plans for new signature programs

Dec 13, 2018
Kristen Bowman

For 140 years, The Women’s College of Brenau University has supported, educated and prepared young women to become the professional thought leaders of their generations. On Thursday, Dec. 13, the university announced plans to strengthen The Women’s College, reinforcing its prominence in the education and development of outstanding women for the next 140 years.

“Since 1878, The Women’s College of Brenau University has provided a transformative experience that empowers women to thrive personally and professionally,” said Debra Dobkins, dean of The Women’s College. “Now we are entering an especially exciting time, as we look forward to the launch of three distinguishing signature programs. These programs will equip Brenau women to tackle the challenges of their times and prepare them to lead confidently and successfully.”

The new programs underpinning this revisioning of The Women’s College were developed by a committee of trustees, administrators, faculty members, alumnae and staff appointed by Brenau President Ed Schrader. After two years of strategic planning, the committee developed programming that will redefine and reconceptualize The Women’s College student experience through two key undergraduate programs: GOLD and The Ideal Collective.

GOLD will be an integrated, cocurricular program for all Women’s College students focusing on gender awareness, personal and professional development, service, leadership skills, global perspective, and the advancement of women. Each letter represents one year of a Women’s College student’s experience, which will focus on:

  • Gender: a year committed to women’s empowerment
  • Ownership: a year focused on personal responsibility
  • Leadership: a year dedicated to preparing tomorrow’s leaders
  • Diversity: a year concentrating on global citizenship

The program will launch in fall 2019 by implementing the first G year with a focus on celebrating women.

The Ideal Collective, meanwhile, will be an immersive, living-learning community grounded in the principles of the Brenau Ideal — penned by early Brenau President H.J. Pearce — and focused on transformative leadership through collaborative, project-based service learning. This exclusive two-year program will be open to juniors and seniors only by competitive application.

“Part of The Women’s College experience is being surrounded by women who are trying to better themselves,” said Amanda Lammers, vice president of student services. “It makes you better. With these programs, our students are going to be better prepared to go out into the world and be agents of change. I think any program that is focused on a specific population is extremely beneficial. These programs will benefit our students by helping them find the ways they can tangibly take their knowledge and skills into the world.”

The newly reimagined Women’s College will incorporate academic enhancements as well, including gender-focused training for faculty, individual career planning, portfolio development and mentoring for each student, along with speakers, capstone courses, seminars and more.

The flagship program of the redesign, however, will be an Executive Women’s MBA, the inaugural graduate program incorporated completely within The Women’s College and reflecting its focus. The first cohort of this graduate program is scheduled to begin in January 2020 and will be directed by Juli Clay, assistant vice president for executive graduate studies.

The all-female executive program is specifically designed to empower and promote uniquely talented women who are currently successful in the workplace but looking to advance to the CEO suite. It will be provided through a flexible platform combining online experiences with extended weekend residencies at the most significant financial and commercial centers in the world.

“A new generation of women is looking for innovative educational experiences that include service to others, global experiences and leadership,” said Anna Jacobs, Brenau trustee, Women’s College alumna and member of the planning committee. “I am gratified to see that The Women’s College is refining her approach through GOLD, the Ideal Collective and the Executive Women’s MBA to elevate Brenau through the next 140 years.”

Schrader said the Board of Trustees’ support and vision for a vital and inspiring Women’s College is central to the accomplishment of the university’s mission. Brenau will continue to invest in The Women’s College, he said, because its outcomes are clear.

“Here at Brenau University, we understand the value of women’s college graduates,” he said. “Women’s college graduates have higher earning potential, greater leadership skills and greater self-esteem than female graduates from coeducational institutions. Through the addition of these carefully curated new programs, we are going to continue our legacy of providing this integral support and education for women.”

Throughout these changes, three distinct points of matriculation remain: The Women’s College, the Undergraduate School and The Sidney O. Smith Jr. Graduate School. The Undergraduate School and Graduate School are coeducational, while The Women’s College remains the university’s single-gender cocurricular component.

“These measured steps from the university to ensure the sustainability of The Women’s College are a sign of confidence,” said Brooke Statham, Women’s College alumna, president of the Alumni Association and a member of the planning committee. “It shows confidence in the students who currently attend, confidence in the alumni, and confidence in the faculty and staff. I am so pleased that the university has chosen to invest in The Women’s College’s future, and I believe that we are all going to be impressed with what lies ahead. Only the best will do for our Brenau family, and we have a plan that will keep our traditions strong and allow us to grow and thrive.”