Recent titles on academia and parenting, part 2

Each week, Symposium Magazine invites an author to guest-blog. This week’s featured piece is Being ‘Different’ in a High-Achieving World by Allison Stevens. She reviewed “Raising Henry,” an account by Columbia professor Rachel Adams on raising a child with Down syndrome.In her book, Adams explores some of the challenges she encountered as a parent in an academic setting. A number of professors have explored similar themes in other recent books. This post continues yesterday’s discussion of titles for readers who are interested in reading more about this topic.

In 2012, Rutgers University Press published Academic Motherhood: How Faculty Manage Work and Family, by Kelly Ward and Lisa Wolf-Wendel. The authors examine how mothers navigated their professional lives at different career stages in academia, based on a study of more than 100 women who are professors and mothers.

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, they emphasized their key finding: “Tenure-track women faculty with children are making it work. In contrast to the prevailing belief that tenure-track women ought not to have children (or to delay children until after tenure) we interviewed women who didn’t wait and who are living happy, productive lives as both professors and mothers. The position offers flexibility and autonomy along with its unending workload and there are strategies that women can use to help them succeed in their multiple roles.”

Another book of interest is Professor Mommy, published in 2011 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers: “A guide for women who want to combine the life of the mind with the joys of motherhood.” It addresses questions such as “when to have children and how many to have, what kinds of academic institutions are the most family friendly, how true or not true are the beliefs that many people hold about academic life.” It was written by Rachel Connelly, a professor of economics and the mother of four children, and Kristen Ghodsee, an associate professor of gender and women’s studies who was a single mother during the tenure process. Both work at Bowdoin College in Maine.

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