Supporting parents

April 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

I submitted this story to “What is it like…?”, but it’s had such a positive effect on me and my institution that I think it’s worth mentioning again.

At the end of my first semester as a tenure-track faculty member, I discovered that I was pregnant.  I was petrified, and deeply anxious about the effect that this would have on my career (among other things!).  My dean (female) and department chair (male) were entirely supportive; my dean even said to me, “Tell us what you need, and we’ll do our best to make it happen.”  I nearly wept for joy!  Since then, I’m happy to report that my dean & department have been consistently supportive of my needs as a working mom (e.g., scheduling my classes &meetings at times when childcare is easily available).

One obvious suggestion (for my institution as well as others) is to make on-campus childcare available to faculty, staff, and students.  Not only is it convenient for affiliates, & sends the right message that the institution is committed to supporting female faculty (&families in general), but it also allows employees & students to be more flexible with respect to work & class obligations.  (And if the institution has a school of education, it can use the childcare facility as a practicum for its education students.)  I’m sure there are legal issues to surmount, but some institutions have managed to do it.

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§ One Response to Supporting parents

  • Tee says:

    Very glad to hear these positive stories. I was getting a little disheartened (understatement) after reading “What is it like…”. I’m a fourth year (female) philosophy student, trying to figure out what I’m going to do as a graduate degree, so these stories are helpful to me. Thanks!

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