Roads Taken: Women in Student Affairs at Mid-Career

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The work of student affairs professionals is demanding and unpredictable. This book addresses the particular challenges that it presents to women in mid-career.

While much has been written about new graduate students, new professionals and senior administrators in student affairs, scant attention has been paid to the issues of mid-career, and particularly as they impact women.

Here are the stories of over twenty women, from widely different backgrounds, reflecting on their lives at mid-career. They describe the choices they made and share the lessons they have learned, particularly the ever-present concerns about reconciling the demands of work and responsibilities to family and partners .

The volume focuses on issues that have particular and significant meaning for women. The individual narratives are grouped into five sections, each beginning with a scholarly introduction to its topics. The sections deal with education and self development, such as the life implications of embarking on a doctorate; dual career couples and such decisions as relocation; choices about having children and responsibilities for the care of aging parents; arriving at mid-career; and alternatives to traditional, linear career progression in student affairs administration.

This volume is a particular gift to women currently in mid-career positions in student affairs, women embarking on their personal and professional journey in student affairs, the partners of such women, their colleagues, and the individuals who supervise them.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Advisors may find it difficult to imagine how their careers might progress unless they venture into the more traditional realms of student affairs. Howevere, if an advisor identifies with one of the themes presented, she may find the book insightful. I would strongly recommend this book to women in their twenties who are in the early stages of a student affairs career. The essays illustrating varied career paths, diverse struggles faced, and numerous choices made are easy-to-read and informational. The combination of factual summaries and personal insights allow a woman to imagine her future in the field of student affairs."

"Roads Taken accomplishes a couple of important things. First it opens up a topic that matters. The first-person accounts that characterize the book constitute a helpful starting place in thinking seriously and comprehensively about mid-career issues for women in student affairs. Second, it does a competent job of 'setting the table' for others who will address the topic of mid-career in a more systematic and scholarly way."

"This book has two clear audiences, female administrators approaching or at mid-career and those who supervise them…The authors are candid and share the sacrifices they have mode for their families and their careers, including long distance relationships, lateral and backwards steps in their careers, and changes in work schedules and responsibilities to accommodate children…While Roads Taken: Women in Student Affairs at Mid-Career obviously is written for women in student affairs, many of the chapters in this book would be useful to any woman in higher education administration and looking to climb the proverbial career ladder. Select chapters, focusing on the move to faculty positions, also may be of interest to female faculty members."

"I urge the reader to enjoy the stories, learn from the lessons, gain insight from the perspectives shared, and become better colleagues and supervisors of women at mid-career. Women in student affairs who are already at mid-career will also profit from this volume, for it illustrates that you are not alone as you face the complexities of your personal and professional life. And for those of you reading this volume who are just beginning your personal path in student affairs, I know you will find that the candor and honesty of these authors will be helpful to you as you develop your pathway through your personal and professional life. Learn from those who have gone before as the authors of this volume have done." --from the Foreword by Margaret J. Barr

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579220778
  • Publisher: Stylus Publishing, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kristen A. Renn is Assistant Professor of Higher, Adult, & Lifelong Education and Coordinator, Student Affairs Administration Program, Michigan State University.

Carole Hughes Hughes is Associate Dean for Student Development at Boston College.

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Table of Contents


Margaret J. Barr
Lisa Berman-Hills
Barbara Fienman
Rebecca Gutierrez
Sheila Shaw Horton
Mary F. Howard-
Carole Hughes
Susan R. Jones
Jean Joyce-Brady
Melissa McDaniels
Sarah Marshall
Gail P. Olyha
Anna M. Ortiz
Gage E. Paine
Kristen A. Renn
Suzanne Rice
Martha H. Ruel
Marcie Schorr
Susan B. Twombly
Lisa E.Wolf-Wendel
Julie M.Wong
Terry Zacker

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2004

    Signs of progress

    Perhaps it is a measure of good progress that such a book as this could be written today. The authors present studies of over twenty women, who have made careers for themselves in the occupation of student affairs. Moreover, the women have been in this field long enough, to be now considered in the middle of their careers. The women's experiences are varied. And several had to make sacrifices or difficult choices involving career and family. But the assemblage of this number of women is not revolutionary now. The presence of women in student affairs is not considered unusual. Plus they did not have to endure outright explicit discrimination based on their gender or race. (Which is not to say that no discrimination was experienced.) So implicitly, you could regard this book as positive, without making light of the issues raised by the editors.

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