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Expecting The Unexpected As An Expecting Faculty Member: A Qualitative Study

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Perspectives for Women Faculty

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.709.1 - 12.709.12



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Paper Authors

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Adrienne Minerick Mississippi State University

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Mara Wasburn Purdue University

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Valarie young Ohio University

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

Expecting the Unexpected as an Expecting Faculty Member: A Qualitative Study Adrienne R. Minerick1, Mara H. Wasburn2, Valerie L. Young3 1 Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS 39672 / 2 College of Technology Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907 / 3 Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Ohio University Athens, OH 45701

Abstract Increasingly, women are having or caring for children while in tenure-track faculty positions. This paper focuses on the experiences of pregnant engineering faculty members, using qualitative data derived from a survey of women faculty who are members of the American Society for Engineering Education Women in Engineering Division and their colleagues. Although each woman’s experience as an expectant faculty member is different, some commonalities exist and are discussed in this paper. This information may 1) assist academic departments, particularly those that have historically been male-dominated, in supporting and retaining their women faculty members during and after childbearing and 2) help women be informed of successes, challenges and solutions.

Introduction Women have made great progress in academe. Yet while there are more women assistant professors than ever, relatively few of them become full professors1. As more women are entering tenure-track engineering and technology faculty positions during their childbearing years, issues surrounding faculty pregnancy have become increasingly relevant. Many universities have made significant progress updating their tenure policies to accommodate challenges encountered during maternity and parental leaves. However, the research described below indicates that women faculty seeking advancement, especially those in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), continue to face impediments that do not appear to equally impede their male counterparts. These impediments were well-documented by research in the 1970s and 1980s. Women faculty who choose to have babies early in their careers are still less likely to achieve tenure than their male counterparts2.

This paper is divided into five main sections. First is a review of the literature on women in academe, focusing particularly on those with children. Second is a summary of the demographics of the survey respondents. Third is a discussion of institutional support, which provides an overview of the variety of policies reported in the survey. The fourth section is a discussion of

American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference 2006

Minerick, A., & Wasburn, M., & young, V. (2007, June), Expecting The Unexpected As An Expecting Faculty Member: A Qualitative Study Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1680

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