Posts tagged ‘work-life_balance’
November is National Adoption Month. This year, organizations and state governments are focusing on the adoption of children currently in foster care.
From the perspective of an NSF ADVANCE Program, we are interested in university policy and resources for faculty. As part of their family-friendly policies and work-life support, universities offer financial assistance, webpages or pamphlets with information and links to outside organizations, and peer-mentoring groups on campus. We collected information that the Ivy Plus institutions provide their faculty, so faculty can get an idea of what to expect and administrators can better understand what peer institutions are doing: information and links are on our Dependent Care wiki.
Our new-and-improved Mentoring Guide is now available!!
Taking into consideration the results of our mentoring program evaluations and what we’ve learned this past year, we updated our Mentoring Guide to better meet the needs of the faculty we serve. Additions include:
- Explicit recommendations for setting short and long term goals, and identifying benchmarks for these aims.
- Defining what it means to be an advocate for ones mentee.
- Best practices for mentoring women faculty.
The Guide also contains a new and extensive list of faculty development resources for help in framing career goals. New topics include negotiation and how to say no; research and publishing; intellectual property and copyright; laboratory management; raising your research profile and finding collaborators; writing for publication; teaching; tenure and promotion; and work-life balance. And, of course, we continue to provide best practices for fostering a productive mentoring relationship and the role of junior faculty and mentors within the parameters of the relationship.
While preparing outreach resources for the new academic year, we came across the term, “sandwich generation.” In the context of work-life balance, this refers to the working person who is now responsible not only for caring for her or his children, but her or his parents as well. According to AssistGuide Information Services, the sandwich generation “are the nearly 10 million boomers that are now raising kids, teenagers or young adults while providing financial support for an aging parent. Usually they are between the ages of 35 and 55.”
This issue strongly effects many of our faculty, especially mid-career and senior women. We created a new wiki page, Family Caregiving, as a central resource for caregivers. Our site has links to local, state, and national resources that address the emotional, social, financial, medical, and logistical issues of elder care.
We recently received a request from some of our mid-career women faculty to find out how Brown’s childcare policies and benefits compare to our peers. We began this process by examining other Ivy League institutions.
By studying the universities’ Human Resources and Dean of Faculty websites, we were able to discern the similarities and differences between institutions. We organized childcare benefits and policies into nine categories:
- Adoption Financial Assistance
- Affiliated Childcare Centers
- Babysitting Support
- Breastfeeding Support
- Committee on the Status of Women
- Emergency/Back-Up Care
- Financial Assistance (beyond the federally mandated flexible spending accounts)
- Tenure Clock Extension
- Resources and Referral Service
Here is a potential resource for faculty. Equally Shared Parenting (ESP): new strategies for achieving work-life balance with children. Marc and Amy Vachon offer a parenting model on their website (and book) as an option for those dual career couples with children. The website outlines benefits, challenges, tips, and resources.
The Vachons define ESP as, “The purposeful practice of two parents sharing equally in the domains of child raising, housework, breadwinning, and time for self.”
This week, Naomi Cahn and June Carbone published an article in the Washington Post entitled, Five Myths about Working Mothers. The authors identified the following myths and offered compelling stats and references that dispute them:
- Mothers today spend much less time caring for children than did their parents and grandparents.
- Women’s jobs interfere with family life more than men’s.
- Mothers with college degrees are more likely than other women to opt out of the workforce.
- Women who work are less likely to have successful marriages.
- Parents don’t experience discrimination in the workplace.
Peer-mentoring groups can be an important resource for women faculty seeking to attain balance (or at least satisfaction) between their work and family lives. We have a very active mid-career peer mentoring group, which frequently addresses many of these topics.
This is our second semester hosting a networking series for administrators, faculty, and staff. We call it FONE: Faculty Outreach & Networking Events. The timing of these events turned out to be the hardest thing to get right. We want to encourage commiseration and decided to hold the events regularly at the end of the work day in order to offer drinks & snacks. Many potential participants have family commitments; to be cognizant of these possible time constraints, we decided to offer an open reception, encouraging participants to drop by when they could from 4-6 pm. We quickly heard from multiple faculty following the first invitations: do not hold events that go beyond 5 pm if you want administrators, faculty, and staff with dependents to feel included. Message received! We are always looking for ways to ensure faculty success through work-life balance. This semester we are still advertising our networking events as come-by-when-you-can, but we’re holding them from 3:30-5:00 pm in the afternoon.