ERIC Number: EJ718750
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: N/A
Bias Against Caregiving
Drago, Robert; Colbeck, Carol; Stauffer, Kai Dawn; Pirretti, Amy; Burkum, Kurt; Fazioli, Jennifer; Lazarro, Gabriela; Habasevich, Tara
Academe, v91 n5 p22-25 Sep-Oct 2005
Faculty members rarely take advantage of family-friendly workplace policies. What are they so afraid of? Few eligible faculty members take formal leaves for childbearing or caregiving. The Faculty and Families Project at the author's university, for example, found that between 1992 and 1999, only four of 257 tenure-track faculty parents at Pennsylvania State University took any formal family leave. Perhaps faculty parents were unaware of leave policies, or maybe department heads discouraged them from taking leave. However, it is suspected that biases against caregiving in the academy caused them to avoid taking time off. As a result of such biases, faculty members suffer career penalties for using policies designed to help them balance work and family commitments. To escape these penalties, faculty members rarely use the policies, engaging in what is labeled "bias avoidance" strategies. Because the biases are often hidden, faculty who even inquire about relevant policies risk damaging their academic reputation. Many choose to avoid doing so, fearing that if they so much as ask about the rules, they will not be considered serious players in the academic game. In 2002, a study of the extent and nature of bias avoidance in the academy, and how it might be alleviated, was launched with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The research included a national survey administered to 4,188 faculty members in English and chemistry at 507 colleges and universities in the United States. Case studies of eleven institutions were also prepared, and the experiences of thirteen faculty parents in English and chemistry for three days each were documented. This article evaluates the findings in relation to bias avoidance, payoff to avoiding bias, age at tenure, formal policies, cultures of inclusion, and bias resistance.
Descriptors: Leaves of Absence, College Faculty, Caregivers, Higher Education, Gender Bias, Employed Parents, Gender Differences, Tenure, Women Faculty, Institutional Characteristics, Resistance (Psychology)
American Association of University Professors, 1012 Fourteenth Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005-3465. Tel: 202-737-5900; Fax: 202-737-5526; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania