Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Higher Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Amy E. Wells Dolan

Second Advisor

Susan McClelland

Third Advisor

K. B. Melear

Relational Format



The purpose of this historical case study dissertation is to discover the story of Dr. Katharine Rea in her role as Dean of Women and later faculty member in the higher education and student personnel program at the University of Mississippi. As the Dean of Women in the 1960s Rea was responsible for the well-being and quality of the educational experience of the women students at UM. Rea pursued leadership opportunities for the women students through academic honor societies, and student government. Moreover, Rea served as a faculty member in the school of education for ten years teaching courses in higher education and student personnel services, including a course focused on women college students, student personnel work with women. Rea also served the university community through her leadership with the American Association of University Professors and her service on the faculty senate. In an effort to improve the racial tensions on campus the faculty senate, in which Rea served, moved to study racial tensions on campus and worked to improve the educational experience for black students in the early 1970s. Furthermore, this study examined Rea's work as a feminist through her involvement with the American Association of University Women and the League of Women voters in the state of Mississippi. Rea balanced the conservative campus and community with modern intellect and dialog. As a modern southern woman, Rea took advantage of her career opportunities to travel to new places, meet new people, and discuss new ideas.



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