Asee peer logo

Advice To Professor Mom

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.142.1 - 6.142.5



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Barbara L. Christe

author page

Elaine M. Cooney

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3249

Advice to “Professor Mom”

Elaine Cooney and Barbara Christe Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis


Few engineering and engineering technology faculty are women, and fewer still have children. Is it a choice: “A Wife or a Life?” (Ms Mentor’s Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia, Emily Tooth, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997). Such a view makes having a family and gaining tenure sound either impossible or easy (if your husband is helpful). Reality lies in between.

In order to recruit and retain women into engineering and engineering technology fields, female faculty must be present as successful role models. It is essential that faculty and administrators understand the issues faced by working mothers to create an environment where success is possible for all faculty members.

Two engineering technology faculty members have some practical advice for “Professor Mom.” Set your priorities and live with them. Give your best to your family first. As successful men retire, they often wish they had spent more time with their family and less time at work. As “Professor Mom” (realize mothers are exceptionally prone to guilt), it is even more important for you to be a crucial part of the life of your family. And, “Professor Mom,” give your smartest to your career. Spend your time wisely and document everything so nothing your accomplish gets forgotten. Tie your two roles together. And remember that neither time “in rank” or childhood lasts forever.

I. Introduction

This paper was prompted by a section of the book, Ms. Mentor’s Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia by Emily Tooth1. Ms. Mentor received an inquiry about balancing family responsibilities with academic career. She titled her reply “A Wife or a Life?” Her basic premise was that it was practically impossible to be an involved mother and wife with a successful tenure career. We believe women faculty can find balance between their many roles, but must be given the freedom to so.

We are 1) a single mom and 2) a working mom with the perfect husband (he cooks, he cleans, he spends his vacation days taking kids to the doctor) and we know many of stay at home moms - we are all harried and stressed. We need to dispel the myth that “if my husband did more, everything would fine . . .” There are never enough hours in the day because we love our children and want to do the best we can for them. There is always something more we either feel we should, or would just like to do for them.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Christe, B. L., & Cooney, E. M. (2001, June), Advice To Professor Mom Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8892

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015