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Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Records

Identifier: M086


The Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) was started in 1972 at Brown University to promote women in higher education administration, including providing assistance to women in career mapping, guidance, publishing, conference participation and other services. HERS originally operated as a referral and placement service for women in higher education, but since 2005 has provided professional development opportunities for professional academic women and serves as a network of support for women. HERS has three offices: HERS, Mid-America (located at the University of Denver since 1983); HERS, New England (at Wellesley College since 1976) and HERS, West (at the University of Utah). Beginning in 1976 HERS and Bryn Mawr College have co-sponsored a Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration. Cynthia Secor has been director of the HERS Network since 1975 and is the founding Director of the Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration and HERS, Mid-America.


  • 1969-2014


Biographical / Historical

In the early 1970s a small group of senior-level women from New England campuses met to discuss the lack of career opportunities for academic women. They discussed mutual interests, calling themselves ''Committee for the Concerns of Women in New England College and Universities'' (the Concerns Committee). This Committee drafted a proposal to create a referral service for women with appropriate qualifications for faculty and administrative jobs. In 1972 they received a modest grant from the Ford Foundation to create Project HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) at Brown University, which offered referral and placement services, career counseling workshops, and administrative training seminars. The Project had a dual mission – to improve the opportunities and status of academic professional women and to aid colleges and universities in compliance with the requirements of Title IX (of the Education Amendments of 1972) that mandated an end to discrimination based on gender in employment.

In 1976 Project HERS moved from Brown University to Wellesley College, again with support from the Ford Foundation. HERS, New England responded to the needs of women in the job market; they sponsored career counseling workshops and started the Management Institute for Women in Higher Education at Wellesley College. The Management Institute, originally supported by the Fund for the Improvement for Post-Secondary Education, is a series of five weekend seminars focused on teaching administrative skills.

Project HERS was so successful that the Ford Foundation granted further funding to establish HERS, Mid-Atlantic at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 as a separate administrative unit. It was conceived of as a sister organization that would move beyond the referral function to offer an increasing range of services. In 1975, Director Cynthia Secor proposed a residential program co-sponsored with Bryn Mawr College to offer appropriate administrative training for women seeking advancement in higher education. The Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration started in 1976 and was initially funded by a three-year grant from the William H. Donner Foundation. By 1978, the Institute was self supporting and continues to enroll participants, over 2,100 by 2005.

HERS, West was started at the University of Utah in 1979 for professional women in intermountain states, again with funding from the Ford Foundation.

In 1983, HERS, Mid-Atlantic relocated from the University of Pennsylvania to the University of Denver and was renamed HERS, Mid-America.

In addition to the Summer Institute and Management Institute, HERS has developed new programs. In the 1990s HERS and the National Associate of Collegiate Women and Athletic Administrators (NACWAA) teamed up to cosponsor the Institute for Administrative Advancement (IAA). The IAA offers week long seminars for women coaches and athletic administrators, including intensive training in athletic administration. The HERS-South Africa Seminar also started in the late 1990s. It was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and allowed over seventy South African women to travel to the United States and participate in trainings for women in higher education administration. The HERS-South Africa office is located in Cape Town and it continues to offer workshops as well as a week-long HERS-South Africa Academy.

HERS, Mid-America is housed at the University of Denver in the University’s Merle C. Chambers Center for Women building.

All of the offices in the HERS network are involved in other activities to promote women, particularly women in higher education administration. These include working with women on career mapping and guidance; collaboration with other organizations, colleges and universities; attending and presenting in conferences; publishing; and service on various education related boards and commissions.


240.25 Linear Feet (272 containers)

Scope and Contents

The Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) records reflect the development of a successful women's organization. The collection contains papers generated by the HERS office from the three last decades of the twentieth century, including correspondence, memorandums, notes, reports, meeting minutes, financial statements, directories, resumes, newsletters, curriculum notebooks, conference announcements, conference evaluations, grant applications, journal articles, newspaper clippings, course catalogs, position announcements, mailing list cards, journals, published materials, ephemera and research materials. The materials date from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s.


The records are arranged in eight series:; 1. Institutes, 1976-1995.; 2. Conferences 1967-1994.; 3. Research, 1974-1993.; 4. Colleges and Universities.; 5. Cynthia Secor’s papers, Pre-HERS, 1967-1974.; 6.Foundations / Organizations.; 7. HERS Office papers.; 8. Publications.;

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Cynthia Secor, January 20, 2003


Further accruals are expected.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

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