Lynne Schafer Gross has been a pioneer in the use of television for formal educational purposes–from grainy broadcasts on TV stations such as KABC; through an alphabet of production and distribution technology such as VHS, DVD, and MMDS; to high-definition streaming services such as YouTube. Among her contributions, she produced college credit courses aired over TV stations, developed one of the first college-level curriculums for television, and established a contest wherein college students submitted their work for judging by industry professionals.

She was elected president of the California Telecommunications Association, which was formed to exchange information among the various colleges setting up TV curriculums, and was an active force in the Consortium for Community College Television that offered courses that students could complete through televised learning in order to obtain their degrees. Along the way, she utilized and tested some of the earliest “portable” TV equipment, oversaw a closed-circuit TV system that replaced wheeling film projectors from room to room, and used video to improve sports and artistic performance.

Because her career started in the late 1950s and encompassed the last half of the 20th century and beyond, it serves as an example of the significant changes that occurred during that period related to women (and men) in the working world. Her career involved a relatively new field—television, but much of it was within an old structure—academia. Both underwent large changes that were mirrored in other forms of employment.

For example, when Lynne first started teaching TV production in the 1960s, not only was she one of the few women doing so, but all her students were male. Women were not considered for jobs as TV anchors, disc jockeys, or camera operators because “their voices weren’t right” and the equipment was too heavy. By the time she retired in 2007, women dominated the TV screen.

Likewise, in university settings, during the early decades of Lynne’s career, she was usually “the only woman in the room.” By the turn of the century, women were being sought after to fill the beginning ranks of academia, even in stubborn fields such as the sciences.

Lynne looked at work as a privilege and undertook new tasks eagerly. While succeeding in a “man’s world” was never a significant motivation for her, others have pointed out that she showed women who knew her, and even some who didn’t, that women could hold their own in the workplace and could combine career and family.

This site is a anecdotal and pictorial look at Lynne’s career. It includes a biography and a special section on her recent musical, “See Where We Land” as well as pages on the primary aspects of her career as listed in the Menu above.