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ERIC Number: EJ771056
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 0
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
Faculty Mothers
Stockdell-Giesler, Anne; Ingalls, Rebecca
Academe, v93 n4 July-Aug 2007
This essay argues that it is time to rewrite the rhetoric of motherhood in higher education, and use American Association of University Professors (AAUP ) recommendations to help. The authors observe that although the AAUP and other groups have urged colleges and universities to strike a work-life balance, academic culture is slow to change, and that in a system that nurtures young minds, deeply embedded beliefs persist that mothering detracts from excellence as a faculty member. The AAUP suggests that faculty groups interested in reforming their institutional family leave policies review AAUP recommendations and other literature on work-family balance, compare their university or college to others, understand relevant institutional documents and committees, and conduct a campus workshop. The authors have accomplished nearly all of these recommendations at the University of Tampa where they teach, and their proposals to the AAUP on family-friendly policies were met with praise. However, the authors also discovered a contested space between what the AAUP recommends and what they accomplish for faculty parents on their campus. The authors argue that, regarding parental leave, there is a fear of the teacher-scholar-parent in which, for example, search committees express concern that such teachers will not be as productive as before. When pregnancy and childbirth is placed in the context of the typical faculty career, a semester-long maternity leave is a mere blip on the screen of a commitment to an institution that often spans decades. The authors conclude that they want to bring revision to the way faculty mothers are "read" so that hiding and resentment among faculty parents can be replaced by the institution's honestly abiding by the creed that it communicates to students' parents: we are a family here at this institution, and we are going to take care of yours as we would our own.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A