The Educational Odyssey of a Woman College President
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
240 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 x 0.70 in, 17 b&w illus.
- Published: August 2018
In her autobiography, The Educational Odyssey of a Woman College President, Creighton situates her tenure at Mount Holyoke within a life and career that have traversed breathtaking changes in higher education and social life. Having held multiple roles in academia spanning undergraduate, professor, and president, Creighton served at small colleges and large public universities and experienced the dramatic changes facing women across the academy. From her girlhood in Wisconsin to the presidency of a storied women’s college, she bears witness to the forces that have reshaped higher education for women and continues to advocate for the liberal arts and sciences.
"This piquant 'educational odyssey' took Joanne Creighton from childhood in semi-rural Wisconsin to the upper echelon of American higher education. Honed by an eye for telling detail and flavored by a feeling for narrative layering that she absorbed from her favorite authors (Faulkner; Oates; Drabble), Creighton's incisive memoir brilliantly explores the blend of principle and pragmatism through which she led sometimes unruly campuses to realize their noblest possibilities as sites of spirited inquiry, joyful discovery, and consequential transformation, both personal and cultural. At a time when liberal arts education stands in need of effective advocacy, Creighton offers us an eloquent portrait of its beautiful and enduring power."—Kim Benston, president, Haverford College
"Few administrators could work in such a diverse set of educational institutions as effectively and with such pleasure, and even fewer could recount their experiences with such highly readable, jargon free grace."—Mary Patterson McPherson, president emeritus of Bryn Mawr College and former vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
"This memoir is an interesting example of how presidents can bring with them experience gained through their academic work as scholars and teachers in fulfilling their roles as administrators and leaders. The book also reminds us of why colleges deserve presidents who not only understand institutions of higher education, but also love and honor them."—Judith Shapiro, president of the Teagle Foundation and president emerita of Barnard College
"Colleges thrive with skilled, clear-headed, and insightful leadership – people who can both articulate a vision and help a college move towards it. Creighton’s memoir tells how she developed those qualities, as she moved from her rural Wisconsin beginnings through the faculty ranks as an English professor, and then into academic administration. Her account of difficult conflicts with faculty and student groups, and how they were ultimately resolved, reveal who she is: respectful, open-minded, fearless, and persistent. All this is carefully located within the tumultuous contexts of profound transformations in women’s lives and roles and the very shape of higher education in the US. Eloquently written, articulate and finely wrought, we see an exceptionally effective college president in action."—Penny Gill, professor emeritus of politics, Mount Holyoke College