Balancing Work and Family in Higher Education: Best Practices and Barriers

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Citation of Original Publication

Wyatt-Nichol, H., Cardona, M., & Drake, K. (2012). Balancing work and family in higher education: Best practices and barriers. Academic motherhood in a post-second wave context, 108-126.



Many women have been attracted to the teaching profession over the years. Teaching in higher education environment may, on face, have great appeal as an opportunity in which faculty enjoy a high degree of autonomy in their work and scheduling flexibility. Those outside the falsity (e.g., students, citizens, even university administrators that have never worked in a tenure-track position) may perceive faculty positions to be an ideal career path for those who seek to balance work and family. It is not always evident that the research and service demands of faculty positions coupled with teaching impose a work week requiring well beyond a 40 hours. Indeed, writing is often reserved for evenings or weekends at home. As a result, the advantages of autonomy and flexibility that appear inherent in the position have the potential to turn into disadvantages as the boundaries between work and home blur, increasing the likelihood of work-family conflict. Compared to faculty members who are either single or married with a sat-at-home wife, women with young children are more likely to experience obstacles to maintaining productive time for research and publication.