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.
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.
"A timely, practical book that reveals one of the academy's best kept secrets. The life of a professor is a rich and satisfying life even for mothers!"
— Mary Ann Mason
"Ward and Wolf-Wendel offer the unique contribution of a longitudinal study, following women through different stages of their academic careers. Their findings are both illuminating and uplifting."