Oakland’s Mills College recently inaugurated a new president, its first in 20 years. Alecia DeCoudreaux, a former pharmaceutical executive, joins us to discuss her vision for the oldest women’s college in the west. We’ll also explore the role of single-sex education.

Mills College’s New President 3 October,2011forum

Alecia DeCoudreaux, president of Mills College, former senior executive at Eli Lilly and Company and chair of the board of trustees of Wellesley College

  • patricia

    My children attended Oakland Public schools during primary and secondary school. I found many great teacher and on-campus administrators who worked hard! When I had to go to the off-site administration I was struck with the scene I saw there. Fancy offices that were being redecorated, staff that were unhelpful and down-rite rude at the same time the schools had bathrooms that were not working and the kids had no erasers and lacked pencils and paper often.

    • Guest

      This post is misplaced. It seems to refer to the previous broadcast, not this one.

  • Renata Tervalon

    I am a Mills Alumna and there is nothing like an all female educational institution.  I was able to explore ideas without the sexism that is rampant in most institutions of higher learning. I was a student when the college entertained the idea of going co-ed and fought against it. A women’s college is more important that we can know in a world where women are routinely treated as second class citizens.  I strongly recommend Mills for any young woman interested in an excellent educational experience.  I hold a MA in Interdisciplinary Computer Science with and emphasis on Geology and Education from Mills.  Renata Tervalon

  • I am a Wellesley alumna.  While we think ours is a society that enshrines equality, it was just sixty or years ago that women were not allowed entrance to college & graduate school.  Women of color (in particular) are not sufficiently represented in positions of power either in corporate or academic America, so I believe it continues to be important to continue same sex educational opportunities.

    Avantika Rao, Wellesley ’98

  • Krehak

    When Alecia De Coudreaux was asked about Mills’ reputation as having a large number of lesbians, her response was a very canned, PC, rote speech about “welcoming all diversity.” She very gingerly referred to “gay women” once, and avoided the word lesbian altogether. Mills has long been known as being a college of choice for lesbians. Too bad the new president is SO queasy about this fact.

    • Kathryn

      Maybe she is afraid to say lesbian because she knows that there is much more identities within the mills student body besides this one label of lesbian. I would be queasy to say ‘lesbian’ when the majority of our ‘gay’ student body identifies as queer or without a binary based label like ‘lesbian’. President DeCoudreaux was spot on in emphasizing our diversity. That is, I am a Mills Alum, I am currently continuing at Mills for my Masters in Education with a credential in single subject mathematics, and I am apart of the diverse student body.

  • Gina Onorato

    I am currently a freshman student at Mills, and I am fully intending on transferring after this year.  This school has not kept up with the times.  It does not see itself as part of the so-called “real world”.  How can anyone get a real education in a college that cloisters itself?  What I’m learning, while interesting, does not seem worthwhile because I’m learning is such a sheltered environment.   

    • KS

      You’ve been at college for a month. Perhaps you should take more time before making such broad, gross generalizations, and such large life-changing decisions like transferring after only experiencing a month at an extremely diverse college that delivers an exceptional education in many fields of study.

    • sn

      I perceive your frustration and can sympathize as I remember having similar thoughts in my first year about the “cloister” effect. However there were positive aspects to counter that, one of which was realizing that there are people in life who isolate themselves and there are others who recognize a bigger picture. It’s nice to be able to explore this dichotomy in an environment with a low student-teacher ratio. While the situation may not be exactly as you had anticipated, consider this to be a new and educational phase in your life. Finally, as with any major shift in life, It’s important to give yourself some time to adjust. You may indeed feel differently in a few months. In the end, I appreciated the wisdom I gained.

  • sn

    As a Mills alumna, I am extraordinarily pleased with the selection of the new president. She is very well spoken, intelligent, and is a good listener. I am really encouraged that, after twenty years, we can refresh the college and its direction with a new leader.

  • utera

    It was comical to hear her describe her students as diverse.  When you exclude 50% of the population from your institution, it is discriminatory by default.  Women are frankly already doing fine at regular non discriminatory institutions.  Women earn the majority of degrees these days after all.  If a white only university had good results one wouldn’t defend it, why defend this. It is a relic and the inability to change with the times is not really excusable.

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