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Academic Motherhood: How Faculty Manage Work and Familyby Kelly Ward
Synopses & Reviews
Every year, American universities publish glowing reports stating their commitment to diversity, often showing statistics of female hires as proof of success. Yet, although women make up increasing numbers of graduate students, graduate degree recipients, and even new hires, academic life remains overwhelming a man's world. The reality that the statistics fail to highlight is that the presence of women, specifically those with children, in the ranks of tenured faculty has not increased in a generation. Further, those women who do achieve tenure track placement tend to report slow advancement, income disparity, and lack of job satisfaction compared to their male colleagues.
Amid these disadvantages, what is a Mama, PhD to do? This literary anthology brings together a selection of deeply felt personal narratives by smart, interesting women who explore the continued inequality of the sexes in higher education and suggest changes that could make universities more family-friendly workplaces.
The contributors hail from a wide array of disciplines and bring with them a variety of perspectives, including those of single and adoptive parents. They address topics that range from the level of policy to practical day-to-day concerns, including caring for a child with special needs, breastfeeding on campus, negotiating viable maternity and family leave policies, job-sharing and telecommuting options, and fitting into desk/chair combinations while eight months pregnant.
Candid, provocative, and sometimes with a wry sense of humor, the thirty-five essays in this anthology speak to and offer support for any woman attempting to combine work and family, as well as anyone who is interested in improving the university's ability to live up to its reputation to be among the most progressive of American institutions.
Academic Motherhood tells the story of one hundred women who are both professors and mothers and how they navigated their professional lives at different career stages. It is based on a longitudinal study that asks how women faculty on the tenure track manage work and family in their early careers when their children are under the age of five, and again in mid-career when their children are older. Policy recommendations that support faculty with children and mechanisms for problem-solving at personal, departmental, institutional, and national levels are provided.
It is not easy raising a family and balancing work and personal commitments in academia, regardless of gender. The diverse contributors in Papa, PhD seek to expand their children's horizons, giving them the gifts of better topic sentences and a cosmopolitan sensibility. They consider the implications of gender theory and queer theory-even Marxist theory-and make relevant theoretical connections between their work and the less abstract, more pragmatic, world of fathering. What resonates is the astonishing range of forms that fatherhood can take as these dads challenge traditional norms by actively questioning the status quo.
The new generation of scholars differs in many ways from its predecessor of just a few decades ago. Academia once consisted largely of men in traditional single-earner families. Today, men and women fill the doctoral student ranks in nearly equal numbers and most will experience both the benefits and challenges of living in dual-income households. This generation also has new expectations and values, notably the desire for flexibility and balance between careers and other life goals. However, changes to the structure and culture of academia have not kept pace with young scholarsandrsquo; desires for work-family balance.
Do Babies Matter? is the first comprehensive examination of the relationship between family formation and the academic careers of men and women. The book begins with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, moves on to early and mid-career years, and ends with retirement. Individual chapters examine graduate school, how recent PhD recipients get into the academic game, the tenure process, and life after tenure. The authors explore the family sacrifices women often have to make to get ahead in academia and consider how gender and family interact to affect promotion to full professor, salaries, and retirement. Concrete strategies are suggested for transforming the university into a family-friendly environment at every career stage.
The book draws on over a decade of research using unprecedented data resources, including the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, a nationally representative panel survey of PhDs in America, and multiple surveys of faculty and graduate students at the ten-campus University of California system..
Academic Motherhood tells the story of over one hundred women who are both professors and mothers and examines how they navigated their professional lives at different career stages. Kelly Ward and Lisa Wolf-Wendel base their findings on a longitudinal study that asks how women faculty on the tenure track manage work and family in their early careers (pre-tenure) when their children are young (under the age of five), and then again in mid-career (post-tenure) when their children are older. The women studied work in a range of institutional settings—research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges—and in a variety of disciplines, including the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.
Much of the existing literature on balancing work and family presents a pessimistic view and offers cautionary tales of what to avoid and how to avoid it. In contrast, the goal of Academic Motherhood is to help tenure track faculty and the institutions at which they are employed “make it work.” Writing for administrators, prospective and current faculty as well as scholars, Ward and Wolf-Wendel bring an element of hope and optimism to the topic of work and family in academe. They provide insight and policy recommendations that support faculty with children and offer mechanisms for problem-solving at personal, departmental, institutional, and national levels.
About the Author
KELLY WARD is chair of the department of educational leadership and counseling psychology at Washington State University. She is the author of Faculty Service Roles and the Scholarship of Engagement and the co-author of Developing New Faculty as Teachers and Scholars.
LISA WOLF-WENDEL is a professor in the department of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Kansas. She is the co-author of several books, including The Two-Body Problem: Dual Career Couple Hiring Policies in Higher Education and Taking Women Seriously: Lessons and Legacies for Educating the Majority.
Table of Contents
1. Motherhood and an Academic Career: A Negotiable Road
2. Origins of the Study
3. Understanding the Existing Narratives and Counternarratives
4. Managing Work and Family in the Early Career
5. Mid-Career Perspectives on Work and Family
6. The Role of Disciplinary and Departmental Contexts
7. Institutional Type Differences
8. Social Capital and Dual Careers
9. Leaving the Tenure Track
10. Policy Perspectives
11. Conclusions, Recommendations, and Parting Thoughts
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