June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.1260.1 - 10.1260.7
The Balancing Act for New Educators
Donna J. Evanecky, JoDell Steuver, Michele Summers
Purdue University College of Technology Kokomo/Columbus-SE Indiana/Lafayette
Tenure-track positions in the field of Engineering Technology give new faculty many advantages including benefits, status, prestige, a say in governance, job security, legitimacy and academic freedom. These positions make hard demands on personal relationships and family as the new faculty member is asked to embrace his new passion—academe. Some have suggested that given the monastic roots of academia, a marriage analogy is not so far fetched.
Teaching, research and service, the trinity of promotion and tenure, leave many assistant professors exhausted and glassy-eyed. Many new faculty members are pushed to make hard choices. Do they do what they need to do to keep the job or do they mow the grass, makes home repairs, cook a meal, toss in a load of laundry, or watch the kids play ball? Chronic conflict and stressors can trap new faculty early in their careers, causing serious health problems in the following years.
Academia may not be the healthiest of working environments. The pace of change and uncertainty in the global environment multiplies the imbalances between professional and personal lives. “Unfortunately, the balance of nature decrees that a super-abundance of dreams is paid for by a growing potential for nightmares.” Those who are successful in this environment have mastered the art of flexibility.
This paper delineates research and practical suggestions from a woman’s point of view, for surviving the first five years of a tenure-track teaching career in Engineering Technology. A first academic job does not have to be the worst five years of one’s life. It is often a craggy path that can cause anxiety for even an experienced climber, but it can also be an exhilarating rush. Most college professors say they derive great satisfaction as they see their students cross the stage at graduation. There is sheer ecstasy in having survived the rigor of the journey to tenure.
”I acknowledge that the balance I have achieved between work and family roles comes at a cost, and every day I must weigh whether I live with that cost happily or guiltily, or whether some other lifestyle entails trade-offs I might accept more readily. It is always my choice: to change what I cannot tolerate, or tolerate what I cannot, or will not, change.” ~ Melinda M. Marshall 1
“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”
Steuver, J., & Summers, M., & Evanecky, D. (2005, June), The Balancing Act For New Educators Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14898
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