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The Family Track: Keeping Your Faculties while You Mentor, Nurture, Teach, and Serve Paperback – April 1, 1998
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About the Author
George is a professor of English.
Top Customer Reviews
Graduate students thinking about making careers as professors should read this book carefully, especially if they have or would like to have children. Each author in the edited volume describes her valiant attempt to have a family life and an academic job at the same time. It's not a pretty picture. The narratives are personal and powerful. Several are horror stories about the inhumane treatment of new professors who are also new mothers.
Although this book is most relevant as a cautionary tale for women entering academia, it is also a "must read" for anyone interested in the history of feminism. The memoirs of some of the senior female academics, pioneers in their fields, reveal awesome courage. This is the printed mentor that I've seen other books purport to be.
My one concern is that the book's bleak honesty may discourage some graduate students, or create the impression that it is better to wait until after tenure to start a family. I'm a clinical psychologist whose specialty is counseling doctoral students and junior faculty, and I don't condone waiting until after the tenure review to begin living. The average path from grad student to tenured associate prof now takes more than 17 years (gulp). Putting essential goals on hold for that long shrivels the ovaries. If you want both the baby and the job, go for it!
I had a slightly better experience, with lots of support from both colleagues and family so I'm more optimistic about my chances for tenure. Either way, it is important that we understand how it was for women even 10 years ago before they could stop the tenure clock to have children. No wonder so few women are full professors now. It's sad. The main lesson I took from this is that w/o a good support network and a husband/partner who significantly helps out, tenure is unlikely. Also, it's unlikely if anyone gets sick or has any disability. It is sad that this is the reality, but important that we know this.