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/*NOTE:*/ Review the instructions at <javascript:openWideTip(' id=APA ');> and make any necessary corrections before using. Pay special attention to personal names, capitalization, and dates. Always consult your library resources for the exact formatting and punctuation guidelines. -----------------------------------------------------------------------References Stockdell-Giesler, A., & Ingalls, R. (2007, July). Faculty Mothers. /Academe/, /93/(4), 38-40. Retrieved October 13, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database. <!--Additional Information: Persistent link to this record: e=ehost-live End of citation--> -----------------------------------------------------------------------*Faculty Mothers * It's time to rewrite the rhetoric of motherhood in higher education, and we can use AAUP recommendations to help Although more women than men now enroll in and graduate from U.S. colleges and universities, the ethos of the scholar in the modern university, remains that of a solitary male thinker who, upon producing enough intellectual work on a strict schedule, is rewarded with a lifetime position. This conception is based on classical ideals of philosophical inquiry: the Socratic method, dialectical reasoning, and an appreciation for the life of the mind. Unfortunately, the standard for motherhood clashes with this model. Women faculty members routinely have difficulty with the "up-or-out" tenure clock. Because the childbearing years coincide with the pretenure years, many women find that they must choose between producing children and earning tenure. Others feel they must hide the fact that they are

mothers while simultaneously maintaining an ethos of feminine nurturance within the classroom. This essay is an effort to rewrite the rhetoric of what it means to be a scholar and a mother. As teachers and scholars, we nurture ideas and minds in our classrooms and scholarship. The metaphors of birthing find parenting are ever present in both of these areas of faculty work. Indeed, at the private liberal arts institution where we teach--the University of Tampa--we often find ourselves mothering in loco parentis. One of us (Stockdell-Giesler), a mother of young children, is still untenured ten years and two jobs after graduating. The other (Ingalls) is trying to navigate a probationary, period while planning to start a family. Yet the only acknowledgment of our identities as mothers on campus is a quotation in the faculty handbook of legal language from the Family and Medical Leave Act. The failure of our administration to recognize this aspect of our identity is a real problem regardless of the individual and departmental support we receive in other areas. This issue extends well beyond our institution. Although the AAUP and other groups have urged colleges and universities to strike a work-life balance, academic culture is slow to change. As Remembering the "Life" in Academic Life: Finding a Balance between Work and Personal Responsibilities in the Academy, a 2004 report of the American Political Science Association, reminds us: "What is particularly disturbing--though not, perhaps, surprising--is that many programs designed to address these tensions [of work and family balance] fire significantly underutilized by faculty, members, even when they exist." Similarly, in "Bias against Caregiving," published in the September--October 2005 issue of Academe, Penn State researchers Robert Drago and Carol Colbeck, writing with several graduate student colleagues, report that "faculty members suffer career penalties for using policies designed to help them balance work and family commitments." In a system that nurtures young minds, deeply embedded beliefs persist that mothering detracts from excellence as a faculty member. The research by Drago and his colleagues shows that "bias avoidance" affects men far less than women, who often sacrifice personal fulfillment to succeed in academia. The statistics certainly do not bode well for women faculty members who spend years carefully planning lives and academic careers, trying to "have it all." They may watch their male peers succeed beyond graduate school, while they find themselves radically changing their life plans in order to manage their careers. Even when an institution offers flexibility, its price often seems much too high. Workplaces that honor family life and respect a diversity of schedules, family structures, and personal commitments outside work can go far to reduce gender inequities. Our Proposal The southeastern United States has many small- to medium-size liberal arts colleges and universities. Although numerous elite universities and large state institutions (such as Yale University, the University of Michigan, and the entire state university system in California) have proactively established family-friendly policies, many schools in the Southeast lag behind in policy formation. It is not enough to claim a family-friendly atmosphere; an institution's formal written and legal documents should support all such claims. And it is unfair to grant "leave" on a case-by-case basis behind closed doors. When policies are

not formally extended as entitlements, faculty mothers may refuse them, fearing that they will be perceived as less hardworking than their colleagues for having "indulged" in "time off." When we set out to prepare a proposal on family-friendly policies, we considered the financial and cultural limitations of our institution and the pace at which change on campus typically evolves. We also surveyed institutions comparable to ours (in terms of size and region) as well as different types of universities (such as the University of California system). We found that many institutions offer short-term disability insurance, which, under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, provides at least partial pay for maternity, leave. As the AAUP's 2001 Statement of Principles on Family Responsibilities and Academic Work notes, "if professors are entitled to paid disability leaves under institutional benefit programs, then women professors are entitled to paid pregnancy leaves." Some schools not only offer paid maternity leave but also have policies clearly written into their faculty handbooks specifying other forms of assistance: on-site day care or assistance in locating it, discounts on private-school tuition, the option to stop the tenure clock, and domestic partner benefits. Unfortunately, however, our institution offers none of those benefits. As professors of composition and rhetoric, we are trained to envision a piece of writing in stages, to imagine what it will become, but also to honor its present state. The notion of the "draft," the nebulous middle space of a text that links approaches to a product over time, is the grounding principle for us in our endeavor to rewrite the rhetoric of family life at our institution. Such rhetoric is, after all, codified in the school's cultural history; to revise it means to attend to audience and purpose as we shape the language we use to make our arguments in the presence of others and in our writing. It also means having the patience to understand that a "draft" may be far from the intended product; it may not even be what we really want. Thus we imagine a series of "drafts," steps toward what we hope will become a significantly larger rhetorical shift. Ours is a story of understanding the invaluable process involved in rewriting a cultural text and in negotiating our audiences. Our task--which continues--demands special rhetorical skill. As untenured faculty members who are taking on the role of activists, we must communicate the need for change and, once it occurs, ensure that it is written into the permanent texts that define our institution's ethos. First Steps The AAUP suggests that faculty groups interested in reforming their institutional family leave policies review AAUP recommendations and other literature on work-family balance, compare their university or college to others, understand relevant institutional documents and committees, and conduct a campus workshop. We've accomplished almost all of these recommendations. When we presented our proposal to our local AAUP chapter and our Faculty Committee, we saw heads nodding vigorously and received praise for our initiative. In fact, in fall 2006, the faculty voted unanimously to support our proposal for paid family leave and domestic partner benefits. But we've also discovered a contested space between what the AAUP recommends and what we accomplish for faculty parents on our campus. This space is complex and somewhat volatile. Piggybacking on the good name of the AAUP is not enough.

Intentions are not always malign; sometimes, a school can do only so much for its employees. The loudest argument on campus against our agenda is a financial one. Still, as the institution's funding, student population, physical size, and reputation grow, its pockets deepen. Committed to improving the university's regional, state, and national reputation, our administrators promise to hire new faculty, develop new programs, continue to expand the campus, and maintain a high-quality Web site. Although we take pride in these goals as markers of our growth, we want to see the connection between work and family on the list of our university's priorities. Fear of the Teacher-Scholar-Parent In "Hiding the Baby," published in 2005 in Parenting and Professing: Balancing Family Work with an Academic Career, English professor Gale Walden narrates the visceral discomforts of being on the job market with a partner and a child and trying to reveal "absolutely nothing about [her] personal life." Walden describes one campus visit, during which a "private talk" with the search committee chair exposed the insecurities of the committee about hiring a new mother: "We are worried you won't be as productive as before," the chair said, adding that "I'd be more comfortable if the baby was three." Despite the obvious legal implications of such "private" concerns being publicly communicated, the comments uncover one of the driving forces behind the unfortunate lack of paid parental leave in the academy: fear. Some institutions demonstrate fear of the teacher-scholar-parent by making policy on a case-by-case basis or by not having any policies at all. When we consider the financial and cultural consequences of offering paid parental leave to mothers and fathers, we can understand administrative fears: if we offer paid maternity leave to one mother, won't all of the women want it? If we offer it to mothers, won't they ultimately decide to cut back on their workloads or leave the profession, as some women have done in the past? And even more complex questions follow: for example, what happens when women who have children take advantage of paid leave and then return to their professional academic duties? In "Choosing Motherhood as a Female Chemist," also published in Parenting and Professing, chemistry professor Donna J. Nelson describes her meticulous plans for childbirth and continued postdoctoral research. Against the advice of her research adviser, who suggested that she review the benefits offered to mothers to be, she "didn't want to take off very long because [she] enjoyed [her] research so much." Day care began when Nelson's child was two weeks old. Her commitment to work, however, invited criticism from colleagues and her tenure committee. Nelson describes how one colleague told her she was "a bad mother." Such prescriptive stereotyping seems ironic, especially given the stereotypical assumptions that women will abandon professional life for parenting. The Pregnant Body The very physicality of maternity--perhaps its most fundamental aspect --affects the construction of perceptions about teacher-scholars who are mothers. In Teaching to Transgress, activist and professor bell hooks explains, "We are invited to teach information as though it does not

emerge from bodies." Indeed, the parental body is almost invisible in our faculty handbook and in its discourse about benefits. The "profession" at our institution takes pains to make space for bodies in offices and for students in desks and dorms, but it honors the ethereal nature of mind over the earthen nature of parenthood. Many mothers who are also academics understand intuitively what hooks means: what we do professionally is produced by our bodies, and there is no separating mind from body. They understand the larger sociocultural impact of what they do both in and outside the classroom, and they recognize that their intellectual work product is corporeal. We can imagine this manifestation of the physical in the minds of those who create policy: the super-present body of the pregnant professor distracts her from her rigorous scholarly duties, takes away from her position of authority, represents a threat that this multiplication will continue. Will there be no end to her needs as a faculty member with a child? Yet her situation could just as easily be seen as a joyous manifestation of her body's grounding in life, the present, her work, and her place in the world. Furthermore, when we put pregnancy and childbirth into the context of the typical faculty career, a semester-long maternity leave is a mere blip on the screen of a commitment to an institution that often spans decades. If the tenure clock is extended by a year, it's an opportunity for both the faculty member and the institution. But the rhetoric of the probationary process creates positions of patron and supplicant--the hiring institution extends a generous offer of employment with specific, strict expectations for performance. And, all too often, a pregnancy is perceived as a threat to a supplicant's ability, to meet those expectations. In years when jobs are few, the institution is in a position to construct such an ethos. But our research into the policies of other institutions and the personal stories of faculty nationwide bring us more hope than pessimism. It's true that the culture of our institution breeds fear about paid leave and the staying of the tenure clock for faculty parents. The language of our minimal family leave policy suggests that we are not child friendly, which may leave us a bit stuck in terms of hiring younger faculty who hope for institutional support when they become parents. Further, the financial constraints of our budget--and the priorities we've established for the near future --do not leave much room to accommodate faculty who have or want children. However, we have taken on the task of this activism because we are dually invested in two labors: that of caring for our children and that of our professional work. Our goal is to stay entangled in the delicate balance between our work as teachers and scholars and our work as parents. We believe that the success of such a negotiation is possible. We want to bring revision to the way faculty" mothers are "read" so that hiding and resentment among faculty parents can be replaced by the institution's honestly abiding by the creed that it communicates to students' parents: we are a family here at this institution, and we are going to take care of yours as we would our own. ~~~~~~~~ By Anne Stockdell-Giesler and Rebecca Ingalls

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