This is my last editorial in this the last of six issues of WILLA that I have edited. Fran Holman Johnson and I were the founding editors of WILLA, the Journal, which came out for the first time in 1992. Anything that lasts six years these days has an excellent chance of continuing. The Women's Assembly of the National Council of the Teachers of English and its journal will continue because of the dedicated women who avidly believe that girls and women have not only the right to an equal education but to put that education into practice in all places and at all times, especially in a democracy. It has been my happiness that, in 1982, I was able to join the Women's Committee of the NCTE and later to help found the Women's Assembly. It is rewarding enough to work to improve women's and girl's education, to add to the store of knowledge about and by women as well as to publish pedagogical methods, theories, and practice, and, yes, to publish poetry, still the divinest of words.
What a joy it has been to work with such wonderful, accomplished women in such reasonable and humorous sessions all over this country, from the founding session in Nags Head, North Carolina, to the last summer session in Vermillion, South Dakota. Few people in other organizations will give up long summer weekends to go to opposite ends of the earth to come up with some more work to do, yet, surely anybody will, once they recognize the discrimination against them and then set out to right it.
Because the women in this organization have believed in their dream of equal education for themselves and for girls and women, they have been productive. One area of that productivity is the printing of the index of WILLA 's first six issues in this issue. Some essays are archival in that they are about the women in NCTE history, e.g., the book review of Missing Chapters, which contains essays on women who were NCTE presidents, Jeanne Gerlach's essay on "Remembering the Women," and Aileen Pace Nilsen's essay "On the Twentieth Anniversary of the Founding of NCTE's Women's Committee." Interviews with living NCTE past presidents Ruth K. J. Cline and Janie Hydrick help fill in more of women's participation in NCTE. To revisit our past enables us to build on it as we honor those who led the way. The interview with Casey Miller (now deceased) and Kate Swift, authors of Women and Words, shows how two women dared to disturb the lexicographical universe when they pointed out the sexism in our language and offered remedies for changing it. Deanne Bogdan's essay --"When Is a Singing School (Not) a Chorus? The Emancipatory Agenda in Feminist Pedagogy and Literature Education" -- is must reading for anyone who plans to teach; Lynn Butler-Kisber's "Psychological Safety of Women on Campus: A Collaborative Approach" illustrates the practical side of WILLA. Essays on women in literature include an essay on Mary Moody Emerson and the influence she had on her nephew Ralph; among other authors discussed are Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Elizabeth Bishop, Hawthorne's women, Kate Chopin, George Eliot, Gloria Naylor.
There will be many more issues of WILLA under the aegis of the new editor -- Lee Williams at Slippery Rock University. Here's to our profession of reading and writing and speaking which informs and improves the lives of girls and women and thereby the world, and, mostly, here's to the teachers on whose shoulders rest so much of the responsibility for holding our world together.
© 1997 The Women in Literature and Life Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English (ISSN #1065-9080). Permission is given to copy any article provided credit is given and the copies are not intended for resale.
Reference Citation: Gillikin, Jo. (1997). "From the Editors Desk ." WILLA, Volume VI, p. 3.