Friday, June 06, 2008

nCRW Morning Session (Post 3)

Presentation by American Council on Education

Gloria Thomas: Gloria Thomas piggy backs on the morning plenary’s discussion of work/life policy and focuses on the institutional level of the university. She explains that she will talk about where/when women PhDs are lost in the academic system. She notes the mismatch between women’s lives and the structure of higher ed. careers. Take-away points:
• PhD recipients – men are more likely to move up the ladder to full professors whereas women remain down in the lower ranks. But this is not a problem of pipeline, as McTighe Musil proved. Family status seems to be the big issue in this disparity. Why is it that women have to sacrifice their family status to have an academic career? (Compare to female lawyers and doctors who also struggle with these issues – but who generally make more money and can outsource domestic work.) (Boo to family life being such a detriment to women’s careers whereas men face very little, if any, burden. But, luckily, men are taking on this issue as they become more involved in families and assert their right to participate more fully in their families. Balance issues are relevant to both men and women!) WE NEED TO CHANGE THESE INSTITUIONS!
• There are a lot of leaks in the academic-track pipeline (marriage, babies, and chromosomal status are the big holes).
• Solutions to break the baby barrier and other pipeline problems? We need active service-modified duties or partial relief from duties, tenure clock stops, paid leaves for parents, disability policies for serious injury/illness, memos of understanding for expectations of faculty members on leave, and benefits for same-sex partners.
• Exemplar institutions: Duke University, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Lehigh University, and University of Florida.

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