Spelman Professor Alison Bernstein P'09 elected vice chair of trustees

The Bates College Board of Trustees has elected Alison R. Bernstein, Ph.D., of New York City and Atlanta as vice chair, Bates President Elaine Tuttle Hansen and the trustees have announced.

Bernstein succeeds Victoria A. Wicks ’79, who joined the Board of Trustees in 1996 and will remain a member of the board.

Dr. Bernstein has been a member of the Bates board since 2007.

This fall she joined the Spelman College faculty as appointee to the Cosby Endowed Chair of the Humanities and Comparative Women’s Studies. She came to Spelman after serving the Ford Foundation in various leadership positions since 1982: first as a program officer, later as director of the Education and Culture Program (1992-96), and then as vice president for the Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom Program, one of the three program divisions of the Ford Foundation.

In her vice presidential capacity she was responsible for the direction, conduct and evaluation of the foundation’s work in the United States and internationally in the fields of education and scholarship, arts and culture, media, religion and sexuality.

A noted academic and former associate dean of the faculty at Princeton University, she has also taught at Princeton, Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois, Springfield), and Staten Island Community College (now the College of Staten Island, City University of New York).

Bernstein is the author of three books: American Indians and World War II: Toward a New Era in Indian Affairs (University of Oklahoma Press, 1991); with Virginia B. Smith, The Impersonal Campus (Jossey-Bass Inc., 1979); and with Jacklyn Cock, Melting Pots and Rainbow Nations: Conversations on Difference in the U.S. and South Africa (University of Illinois Press, 2002).

She has also published in The Chronicle of Higher Education and several professional journals on issues related to students, transfers from community colleges to four-year institutions, access to higher education for women and minorities, diversity on campus and the impact of women’s studies, and she has served as executive editor of Change magazine.

Besides serving on the Bates board, she serves on the boards of the Samuel Rubin Foundation and Project Pericles. She is also a former trustee of Vassar College and a former member of the Presidential Advisory Board on Tribal Colleges and Universities, and the Board of Advisors to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

Bernstein received her bachelor’s degree in history from Vassar College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in history from Columbia University.

A native New Yorker, she is the mother of twin daughters, Emma and Julia, who attended Bates and Oberlin College, respectively. Emma graduated with the Bates class of 2009.

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