June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Women in Engineering
22.888.1 - 22.888.20
Institutional Ethnography as a Method to Understand the Career and Parental Leave Experiences of STEM Faculty and Staff MembersThe majority of academic institutions have parental leave policies to help their faculty and staffmembers manage their career and personal life when a child is welcomed as a new member ofthe family. The experiences of these professionals, when they have taken parental leave or arefamiliar with its procedures, can be used to improve policies on behalf of the whole institution.The methodological tool of institutional ethnography is one important method to investigate howpolicy impacts the lived experiences of faculty and staff in an academic institution. This researchmethod helps institutional leaders and researchers identify and analyze important key issues inthe daily lives of faculty and staff members who have directly or indirectly experienced variousinstitution's policies. In particular, science, technology, and engineering colleges situated withinuniversities can use this research method to better help their faculty and staff members excel inthe overall work of the institution projects, thereby supporting the work of their institution andthe success of their STEM students.In this paper, we will focus in Purdue University's parental leave policy and our initial findingsof our institutional ethnographic study focused on our policy analysis and its implications for thecareer and daily lives of STEM staff and faculty members, with a particular focus on engineeringfaculty members. This work serves as a case study where we investigate the impact of aparticular policy that impacts the work-life balance of faculty members – its contribution is bothin describing the specific case of a parental leave policy and in illustrating the contribution ofinstitutional ethnography as a method to study STEM faculty work. This work is grounded byour paper presented at the ASEE 2010 conference titled “Institutional Ethnography: A ResearchMethod to Investigate the Work-Life Experiences of Women Faculty Members in STEMDisciplines” -- we will continue the discussion of institutional ethnography and the discourseanalysis of policy texts, but in this case focused on the parental leave policy, and incorporatingmore connection with our interview data.Our data comes from 12 interviews of STEM faculty and staff members in the time period of2009-2010. The interviews covered the topics of STEM faculty and staff members' experiencesin using and comprehending the parental leave policy, its procedures, and the effect of itsimplementation in their personal and career lives. Initial common themes identified in ouranalysis phase will be discussed. Suggestions of possible alternatives, drawing from sociologicaltheories, will be argued to give examples of ways in which the institution can improve itsparental leave policy, procedures, and dissemination. In addition, this paper can aid other STEM-focused institutions in using institutional ethnography as a method to investigate the livedexperiences of faculty members in their institutions.
Santiago, M. M., & Pawley, A. L., & Hoegh, J., & Banerjee, D. (2011, June), Institutional Ethnography as a Method to Understand the Career and Parental Leave Experiences of STEM Faculty Members Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18192
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: © 2011 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