At Old Dominion University, a state university of 14,500 students in Norfolk, Virginia, the concept of affirmative action has been expanded to include the curriculum. From my perspective as a Women's Studies Director who also serves on the University Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunities Committee, I would like to share the story of (1) how this came about, (2) what it means, and (3) what questions and problems it raises in terms of my work as Director of Women's Studies.
The President of ODU strongly supports affirmative action in hiring. Because we have an energetic Coordinator of International Programs, the President likewise recognizes that material concerning people of color inside and outside the United States should be integrated into the curriculum. In September 1979, however, when this story begins, he did not realize that the integration of women into the university and into society called for a transformation of the traditional curriculum. Because his talk at the first meeting of the President's Advisory Committee on Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity revealed this gap in his awareness, I suggested to the Affirmative Action Director, Maggi Curry (whose title is also Assistant to the President), that a special meeting with the President to clarify the goals and activities of both Women's Studies and the Women's Center would be helpful. She decided that a meeting on this subject would benefit all those in the upper administration. Therefore, she added the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President of Educational Services and Planning, the Dean of Student Affairs, and the Dean of Arts and Letters to the list of those invited to participate.