Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to investigate the educational conditions existing for women students during the initial years of coeducation at an institution. The choice of the University of Virginia as a case study was based on its significance as a southern, state university which claims, in addition, national visibility.;A questionnaire was administered to a small sample of first-female students who attended Virginia between the years 1970-1974. The questionnaire, developed from an original set of interview questions prepared by Virginia's Student Affairs office in a 1971 study, asked the sample to respond, retrospectively, to conditions existing at Virginia while they were undergraduate students.;The research was based on the premise that female students attending coeducational institutions confront institutional barriers which interfere with the quality of undergraduate life. This study examined if institutional barriers (which may be either strengthened or created during a transition to coeducation) affected the quality of undergraduate life for Virginia's first class of women.;It was concluded that while Virginia was able to meet some of the needs of its initial class of female undergraduates, overall it fell short of adequately serving these women students. More specifically, the women faced barriers in the areas of academic programming and instruction; social and student services; and career and personal counseling. In addition, it was revealed that the women in the sample felt, as undergraduates, socially isolated and (while not overtly) perceived discrimination towards women students.;The obstacles faced by the first-female class may have been alleviated if the University of Virginia had (1) initially moved towards a more equalized male-female student ratio; and (2) initially established more adequate services for its undergraduate women.



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