Academic Motherhood: How Faculty Manage Work and Family

Academic Motherhood: How Faculty Manage Work and Family


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813553856
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 08/28/2012
Pages: 276
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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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