Tending the Student Body

Tending the Student Body: Youth, Health, and the Modern University

CATHERINE GIDNEY
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt130jwjd
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  • Book Info
    Tending the Student Body
    Book Description:

    Tending the Student Bodyexamines the development of health programs at Canadian universities and the transformation of their goals over the first half of the twentieth century from fostering moral character to promoting individualism, self-realization, and mental health.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6942-0
    Subjects: Education, Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    In November 1931, Dr Edna Guest presented her report on the health of women residents to the dean of women at Victoria College, University of Toronto. As usual, her report provided a summary of student health, grading students in such categories as “feet,” “thyroids,” “spine,” “eyes,” “tonsils,” “menstruation,” and in an attempt to assess their level of rest, “holidays.” While Guest found many of the women to be in relatively poor health on entering university, she happily recorded that with supervision and instruction, their health was much improved by their senior year. As well as providing medical care for the...

  6. 1 Institutional Development of Student Health Programs
    (pp. 15-34)

    In the nineteenth century, college and university administrators paid some attention to the health of their students and the safety of their buildings. College authorities often needed to convince parents that their children and young adults would return from their course of study unharmed. This was particularly true at residential institutions which, if not legally, at least morally, assumed responsibility for the care of students. Small and cash-strapped, most colleges and universities depended on student tuition for financial viability. As a result, promotional pamphlets and college calendars often emphasized the healthy environment or location of the institution. Some administrators created...

  7. 2 Ailments and Epidemics
    (pp. 35-51)

    University administrators supported the creation of health services at least in part to deal with the huge range of ailments that affected students on a yearly basis. A list of women’s medical absences from class, kept by the warden at McGill’s Royal Victoria College in the mid-1930s, is particularly illustrative of the variety and consistency of disease that appeared in residential institutions. Women most commonly absented themselves because of colds, influenza, and illness resulting from menstruation. Yet they also contracted diseases such as German measles, rheumatic fever, mumps, and chickenpox. They developed ear and eye trouble, infected teeth, blocked sinuses,...

  8. 3 Physical Culture and Character Formation
    (pp. 52-76)

    Despite the very real threat posed by disease, evidence suggests that at least in some institutions students seem to have been in remarkably good health. At the University of Toronto, where continuous statistical reports on the overall health of male and female students exist for most of the period from the 1920s to the 1950s, along with more sporadic reports thereafter, medical examiners generally found over 90 per cent of male students and 80 per cent of female students to be in sound physical shape (see Appendix).¹ The few statistics available at other universities suggest a similar trend. Why, then,...

  9. 4 Health in Home and Body
    (pp. 77-100)

    The nineteenth century was a period of great enthusiasm for science. First applied to industrial development, the scientific method was soon used to attempt to understand various social issues and problems. Physicians, scientists, and intellectuals, for example, turned their attention towards gaining insight into creating the conditions for improved individual and national development. They did so in myriad ways: the creation of a public health movement; the application of statistical analysis as an approach to understanding the human body; the adaption of evolutionary theory to social and cultural development; and investigations into the nature and forms of human sexuality, among...

  10. 5 Female Students’ Health and the Creation of New Occupational Opportunities for Women
    (pp. 101-123)

    As university administrators established residences, created programs in physical training, introduced medical examinations, and set up infirmaries, they found that they needed individuals to oversee these new areas. As a result, positions opened up that in particular provided enticing work opportunities for women. Historians have documented the employment of academic women.¹ But there was another group of emerging professionals on campus – members of the non-academic staff, such as deans of women, doctors, nurses, physical-training instructors, and dieticians.² Together they comprised a small, but significant, presence on the university campus. This chapter focuses on women’s professional work at Victoria College, University...

  11. 6 Changing Contexts and Programs, 1930s to 1960s
    (pp. 124-142)

    Female health professionals’ ability to carve out new careers and spaces for themselves, depended, like that of male physicians and physical educators, upon their general adherence to new assumptions about the importance of health to moral, spiritual, and intellectual development. In addition, female professionals relied on notions about their particular insight into the special and separate needs of female students. Yet even as such beliefs gained ground, significant change was occurring within the university that would affect the nature of the institution and challenge the ideas of many educators about the purpose and aims of education. This chapter examines some...

  12. 7 Shifting Health Priorities – Tuberculosis and Mental Health
    (pp. 143-163)

    Just as the infrastructure supporting student health services began to change, so too did the emphases shaping the work of those services. In the early decades of the twentieth century, health programs tended to focus on the environment, on the detection of physical defects that could be rectified through physical training, on vaccination, and on issues of moral concern such as sex education or control of venereal disease. Beginning in the 1930s, but more so in the 1940s, health experts turned to new concerns – ones that increasingly relied on specialized medical detection and treatment by health experts rather than by...

  13. 8 From Character to Personality: Changing Visions of Citizenship, 1940s to 1960s
    (pp. 164-182)

    In the late nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century, educators envisioned the role of the university as contributing to the final stages of a young person’s moral, physical, spiritual, and intellectual formation. No matter the individual distinction that a student might attain in his or her studies or extra-curricular activities, it was the achievement of character that educators perceived as reflecting the true quality of one’s alma mater. A nebulous concept to be sure – at its core rested the notion of individual contribution and sacrifice to the greater social whole.

    The language and ideals of character...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 183-192)

    In November 1931, Dr Edna Guest was optimistic about both the contribution a centre of health education could make to the lives of Victoria College’s female students and her own role in supervising the living quarters and physical and moral health of these women. While Guest’s call for the creation of a mandatory health course within the academic curriculum did not materialize at Victoria or elsewhere, her hope for an “educational health centre” was realized on many campuses. By the 1960s, most institutions provided a health service offering medical advice and treatment as well as counselling. The end product – in...

  15. Appendix: Physical Training at the University of Toronto
    (pp. 193-194)
  16. Abbreviations
    (pp. 195-196)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 197-262)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 263-286)
  19. Index
    (pp. 287-294)