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#1 of 409 Old 03-07-2006, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there. I just got my first tenure-track job and have a 7 month old. It is daunting to say the least and I am overwhelmed by the whole tenure process. Are there other mamas out there who want to share in my anxiety?
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#2 of 409 Old 03-08-2006, 12:25 PM
 
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Hi Rachel! Congratulations on the tenure track job! What field are you in? When do you start?

I'm a geophysicist in my second year in a tt position. My son was born 3 months ago, so I'm on "leave" (=no teaching, frantic attempt to get my lab going) this quarter. I start teaching again the end of this month. The tenure process has me freaked out. I already have funding, but I'm struggling to get my papers out the door. I have an extra year for the tenure process, so my 4-year review is delayed until '09 and my manditory tenure review is delayed until 2111. It seems so far off, but I submit my 4 year dossier in the fall of '08, so I've got two years to get a sh$t load of work done.
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#3 of 409 Old 03-08-2006, 12:34 PM
 
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Oh yeah. Step 1: Secure on campus daycare.

Even if you don't have a contract signed, see about getting on the waiting list. University daycares tend to be excellent and have monsterous waiting lists. Enlist the help of a dean to get you in if possible.

Learn from my mistakes.

I'm taking E with me to work until it gets to the point that I can't get work done. I have sitters who watch him while I'm in the lab playing with lasers and chemicals. After that, I have my fingers crossed for the on campus daycare, otherwise we'll be looking for a nanny or home-based care. We're happy with my daughter's care situation, but that center just isn't great for those tiny babies.
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#4 of 409 Old 03-08-2006, 05:36 PM
 
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Well I'm in my fifth year of a 6 year process. So by this time next year I will either have tenure (in which case I will become a complete slacker and will never do anything else that does not interest me professionally ) or I will be denied tenure and will have a year to get out. This is my first tenure track job. I wasn't that freaked out about it until about the last year or so as the "up or out" part of the process came closer.

My DD was just over a year when I got here and my DS was born in 2003. I had the option to stop the tenure clock for that year when I took maternity leave (I took 10 weeks and worked PT for another 6 before coming back full time). However everyone told me I was doing great and there was no need to stop the tenure clock. So I didn't and now I REALLY wish I had. I think I would have had a little bit more breathing room then.
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#5 of 409 Old 03-09-2006, 12:50 PM
 
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KM ~ I got the same advice from my chair. He said that as it was, I was on track to go up early. The advice I got from other moms was to get as much wiggle room as possible.
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#6 of 409 Old 03-13-2006, 03:26 PM
 
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KM, Geofizz, and any others: Can we talk more about stopping the tenure clock?

interesting that this is so strongly advised, and in fact is one of the main recommendations that comes out of the academic-women-in-science studies. Also interesting that few pre-tenure women choose to take the option, at least that's my impression.

Wiggle room. what does this mean exactly, and how flexible is it? For example, if you elect to stop the clock, but then find that at year 6 you are in fact on track for tenure, can you change your mind? Is this something that must be negotiated up-front or is it the kind of thing where you can wait and see how it goes?

And speaking of negotiation - what kinds of considerations are important for a new prof. momma to-be? i.e., reasonable teaching responsibilities, service, etc. within the first __(?) months, say including the last bit of pregnancy? maybe that's a separate thread, but I'm woefully ignorant and would be interested in hearing!
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#7 of 409 Old 03-13-2006, 04:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj_gobigirl
KM, Geofizz, and any others: Can we talk more about stopping the tenure clock?

interesting that this is so strongly advised, and in fact is one of the main recommendations that comes out of the academic-women-in-science studies. Also interesting that few pre-tenure women choose to take the option, at least that's my impression.

Wiggle room. what does this mean exactly, and how flexible is it? For example, if you elect to stop the clock, but then find that at year 6 you are in fact on track for tenure, can you change your mind? Is this something that must be negotiated up-front or is it the kind of thing where you can wait and see how it goes?
You definitely need to check the contract. Don't know if this is typical, but here, yes you could go up "early" for tenure, except that you have to notify them of your intent a full year before you do it. So you'd have to feel confident at year 5 that you would get a positive review.

As I said, I regret not having stopped the tenure clock, and would advise others to seriously consider it. If I don't get tenure next year In guess I'll regret it even more. Don't know that I would have had any backlash for doing it-- I suspect not a lot. But at the time, everyone told me there was no need as I was making good preogress and all my reviews have been positive. Here we get reviewed at 2, 4, and 6.

I'll be intertested to hear what others have to say on this.
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#8 of 409 Old 03-13-2006, 05:12 PM
 
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I might yet become a prof. I'm an ABD in geology. Looking for a job.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#9 of 409 Old 03-13-2006, 11:35 PM
 
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glad to have this going. i'm tenure track, but at a community college much less stress. although i feel very lucky to have a job with great flexibility and understanding colleagues, i'm interested in hearing more from academic moms.
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#10 of 409 Old 03-14-2006, 01:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj_gobigirl
And speaking of negotiation - what kinds of considerations are important for a new prof. momma to-be? i.e., reasonable teaching responsibilities, service, etc. within the first __(?) months, say including the last bit of pregnancy? maybe that's a separate thread, but I'm woefully ignorant and would be interested in hearing!
Oh and another thing you might want to consider is your start date and review cycle. Here the review period is Sept to Sept. I started in July, and didn't get reviewed that first year as I had only been here a few months. But then when I did get reviewed the following year it was my SECOND year review, even though I had only been here 15 mos. And that means in the 6 year cycle I have even less time up front. If I had fully understood that I would have waited and started in September. Live and learn. But others may learn from this mistake, I hope.
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#11 of 409 Old 03-14-2006, 01:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KalamazooMom
Oh and another thing you might want to consider is your start date and review cycle.
good point - I made the same mistake but in the opposite sense... started in January but the tenure clock didn't start to until the following fall. The productivity during the first 8 months was sort of like a bonus, but on the other hand I was working hard and would have been happy to start getting credit for the 'time'!
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#12 of 409 Old 03-14-2006, 03:21 PM
 
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I made the same mistake. My tenure probationary period is chopped by 3 months, not as bad as KM's, but still "I wish someone would have told me..."

Quote:
And speaking of negotiation - what kinds of considerations are important for a new prof. momma to-be? i.e., reasonable teaching responsibilities, service, etc. within the first __(?) months, say including the last bit of pregnancy? maybe that's a separate thread, but I'm woefully ignorant and would be interested in hearing!
A lot of these things are hard to negotiate and put into a contract. Teaching assignments are generally done on a yearly schedule, and there's a general attitude of "you'll do the teaching that needs to be done." I tried and failed to get a guarentee for on-campus daycare into my contract. I suggest trying, though. Depending on your field, you might also ask for additional money in start up to pay grad students. As a parent (possibly delaying tenure) it might take you longer to get funding going.

From the point of view of being a parent, teaching classes that meet for longer, less frequently is a big plus. It gives you more uninturrupted hours for your own work. Also, as a pipe dream, work to move those "required" time commitments like faculty meetings and dept seminars to the 9-5 block. It's really hard, though. I have to get up and leave before the end of faculty meetings. Even though I do this with the chair's understanding, it just doesn't look good.
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#13 of 409 Old 03-15-2006, 01:26 AM
 
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RachelW: I forgot to say, I sympathize with anxiety about a career that can be very demanding... but am also excited for you - congratulations on the job! Thanks for starting this thread
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#14 of 409 Old 03-16-2006, 06:22 PM
 
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Hi everyone! Thanks for starting this thread!

I am in year one on the TT, at a new university. I already had 3 years at another institute (also TT), and was there when I had my son in late 2003.

Re. stopping the tenure clock: This was a new option at my previous job, and I was the first person to apply for it. We did have the ability to go up early if our progress was good. I think the flexiblity is worth it, and I definitely had a hard time getting my labwork going, plus teaching during that first year back. I was also offered time towards tenure at my current position (going up at 4 vs. 6 years), and I declined because of my child (and hoping for another, we're currently TTC). Several faculty did not understand this AT all, but that's OK. Perhaps I should not have been so open.

Here are a few other things that have come up for me:
-recruiting for other positions. There is a huge expectation at both my jobs that people will be available for entertaining candidates. I tried a couple of dinners when I had no chance to meet during the day, and these were disasters for my husband! So- now I'm the first to sign up for B-fast or lunch so that I can still fulfill my obligations.

-course scheduling: I second the longer classes, fewer days option. I have had schedules where I was teaching EVERY day, and this about killed me with prep at night. I also think getting help for the grading (if this is an option) can be great for the easy to grade papers. We can apply for student assistance for this here. I am at a high teaching load but still significant research expectations institute (non-research I) and I've been absolutely buried with papers at times.

-timing of the birth of the next baby. This can't always be planed obviously , but we are on the quarter system here, and I really want to have the next baby in March/April so that I have both Spring quarter and Summer quarter off. I am on a 9 mo. contract, so this works. We'll see though, as much control as I'd like to have- life often has other plans!

Congrats on the jobs everyone- I am getting tired of hoop-jumping, and hope that this is the last of it!

Candace
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#15 of 409 Old 12-10-2006, 02:22 AM
 
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Really old thread, that probably only applies to a few of us, BUT I thought I'd revive it and see what happens. I received my PhD last Dec and am currently finishing year 1 of a 2 year postdoc. I just put in a grant to NIH that (if funded will support me for the next 3 years. However, recognizing what the curent funding situation is like, I am also exploring academic positions. I am not a mama yet, but I am actively TTC and hope to be a mom (or at least pg) by this time next year. I guess I am interested in 1). finding support and sharing with other academics; 2). hearing what your experiences were like interviewing and starting your job (either with young babes, pregnant, or TTC); 3). knowing how you handled childcare etc.; 4). learning more about balancing the mommy track with tenure track; 5). anything else you want to share. Thanks!
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#16 of 409 Old 12-10-2006, 02:27 AM
 
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Hi Emily!

Do you have PI status on that grant proposal?
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#17 of 409 Old 12-10-2006, 03:06 AM
 
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Not a professor, but do any of you read Bitch, PhD? It's one of my favorite blogs.

www.bitchphd.com
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#18 of 409 Old 12-10-2006, 02:30 PM
 
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GeoFizz - I DO have PI status. It is actually an F32 (postdoc NRSA). I had an F31 as a predoc and LOVED the freedom it provided (all research all the time, no teaching! Yay!).

zinemama - I will have to check out bitchphd. Thanks for the recommendation
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#19 of 409 Old 12-10-2006, 10:51 PM
 
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Not a professor, but do any of you read Bitch, PhD? It's one of my favorite blogs.

www.bitchphd.com
I like that one too. Also, I like Gingajoy:

gingajoy.blogspot.com
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#20 of 409 Old 12-11-2006, 04:04 PM
 
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Not a professor, but do any of you read Bitch, PhD? It's one of my favorite blogs.

www.bitchphd.com
That link isn't working for me--it's not taking me to a blog. Is the Web address slightly different? I'm really interested to read it.

Glad to see this thread revived. Like roryandme, I currently teach at a community college. I am tenured (we like to call DS the "tenure baby") and so there's less stress on that front, but due to DH's academic career, we may or may not need to move and I might be on the TT again at some point. (sigh) I'm interested to read about how you prof mamas do it all...

There's me, DH, and the little guy (8/05). Expecting another little one 10/10! Hoping for a .
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#21 of 409 Old 12-27-2006, 09:42 PM
 
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I'm bumping up this thread and happy to join. I'm in my first year of a tt job at a big university and have a 1 yr old ds. Very lucky that my husband is a grad-student-on-hold/sahd so I have a lot to be grateful for, but even so, all-night nursing still does not combine well with all-night lecture writing.
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#22 of 409 Old 12-27-2006, 11:33 PM
 
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http://bitchphd.blogspot.com/ is the link.

I've lately been enjoying: http://science-professor.blogspot.com/
The woman who writes that blog is in my field. There are a few clues as to her identity, and my latest time waster is guessing who she is. Great, but scary stuff.

Anyone read "Every other Thursday"? I'm in the middle of it now. Kinda like LLL for professors.

I'm interested to hear how people organize their time to manage to work on both the urgent things (lectures, students walking in the office, etc) with the long-term things like paper writing and reading journal articles.
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#23 of 409 Old 12-28-2006, 05:04 PM
 
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I'm interested to hear how people organize their time to manage to work on both the urgent things (lectures, students walking in the office, etc) with the long-term things like paper writing and reading journal articles.
I can tell you that this is a REAL struggle for me. It is very, very hard for me to let stuff go as a teacher so I tend to WAY over prep and put in a ton of time grading and meeting with students. Ideally, I would dedicate 2 days per week (say T, R) to teaching and teaching-related stuff and then dedicate 2 other days (say M,W) to research stuff only (so no office hours, no answering emails from students, no "drop bys", no prepping, etc.). The last day would be "catch-up" and meeting day. Things like reading articles and staying current with the lliterture happens on an as needed basis (i.e. writing a paper, thinking about a new idea) OR as an hour of reading time in the evening (reading a book for fun? I think I remember being able to do that once upon a time). However, in reality whatever is on fire gets tended to first. Sad but true.
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#24 of 409 Old 12-29-2006, 12:49 PM
 
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I am finishing up my PhD in chemistry (Bioorganic studying using biological systems for nanotechnology) and am pregnant with my first! I should be able to finish before DD is born : . Eventually I will be seeking an academic TT position. This thread has been REALLY helpful to me, Thanks!

My question is this:
I will be taking ~6 months off after the PhD is completed. I then would like to seeking a post doc. Is 6 months a bit long to take off and still be competitive for a research post doc position?
Also, we will be living in Norfolk (DH is in the military) for two years and positions are very limited for my field. I am not sure what to do about that...any suggestions? AFter 2 years, DH is OUT of the NAvy...YAY! and we will be following me and my career....hopefully a TT position, at least eventually.
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#25 of 409 Old 12-29-2006, 12:55 PM
 
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I will be taking ~6 months off after the PhD is completed. I then would like to seeking a post doc. Is 6 months a bit long to take off and still be competitive for a research post doc position?
I think the best might be something like this:

Finish and defend in April. Start looking for a postdoc NOW, making it clear you intend to start in November but your dissertation is in the final stages. Sit on the paperwork for the degree until you are ready to dive back in. That way, if you are still looking after the baby comes, you can just say that all you have to do is file the paperwork, and you won't show a gap on your cv.

The way a lot of grants go, PIs need a postdoc immediately, so they can't wait until November. However, most people can wait and just file an extension on grants.
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#26 of 409 Old 12-29-2006, 03:50 PM
 
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I think the best might be something like this:

Finish and defend in April. Start looking for a postdoc NOW, making it clear you intend to start in November but your dissertation is in the final stages. Sit on the paperwork for the degree until you are ready to dive back in. That way, if you are still looking after the baby comes, you can just say that all you have to do is file the paperwork, and you won't show a gap on your cv.

The way a lot of grants go, PIs need a postdoc immediately, so they can't wait until November. However, most people can wait and just file an extension on grants.
This is excellent advice. Avoid gaps in your CV at all costs (even if you are taking some time off to be with the baby) and I really wouldn't tell anyone you are taking time off. I am not sure exactly how publications work in your field, but I am plan to conduct a bunch of experiments before I have my baby (do all of the data collection and lab stuff while I still can) and then write the studies up and submit for publication after the baby (writing and data analysis can be done from home). This way I can take a few months away from the lab, but still be productive.
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#27 of 409 Old 12-29-2006, 11:35 PM
 
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This is excellent advice. Avoid gaps in your CV at all costs (even if you are taking some time off to be with the baby) and I really wouldn't tell anyone you are taking time off. I am not sure exactly how publications work in your field, but I am plan to conduct a bunch of experiments before I have my baby (do all of the data collection and lab stuff while I still can) and then write the studies up and submit for publication after the baby (writing and data analysis can be done from home). This way I can take a few months away from the lab, but still be productive.
This is the plan so far, I will finish my labwork in April and then be writing my dissertation and some publications after DD is born and plan to graduate in August or December....thanks for lettine me know gaps in CV is not good, alot of advisors don't tell you that! (mine didn't)
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#28 of 409 Old 12-30-2006, 03:20 AM
 
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So glad to see this thread. I am in my 6th year in a tt position, and I got tenure at the end of my fourth year... I also thought I would be slacking off post-tenure, but it is quite the opposite.:

I teach at a comprehensive university with a high teaching load, but I still have expectations for research/scholarship. We have 4 children, and DH works full-time also. All I can say is our lives are a big juggling act!!

Only in summer I have time to think about research, and I have had to move into an "easier" field so I can have some publications during this intensive child-rearing period. I have to balance the drive to stay professionally active with my much stronger desire to spend time with my kids since summer is when I can really catch up with their lives.

I wish there was some way to make it possible for women in academia to take time for child-rearing and still return to their careers. This will make it a lot easier to encourage young women to go into academia...

Still I believe most of us have really interesting fulfilling jobs!!
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#29 of 409 Old 01-05-2007, 06:28 PM
 
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I wish there was some way to make it possible for women in academia to take time for child-rearing and still return to their careers. This will make it a lot easier to encourage young women to go into academia...
Yes, it seems sort of backwards. When you are working your tail off trying to get tenure is when it seems you are also in the thick of things with little kids.

*IF* I am granted tenure this Spring, I've been thinking about maybe dropping down some of my hours, so I'd be home more. Can't get too excited about that option though, since the tenure question is still looming. If I don't get tenure then I'll be out of a job and will have all kinds of time on my hands, right?
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#30 of 409 Old 01-05-2007, 07:03 PM
 
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Hello Everybody! I am brand new here, and sooooo glad to finally join.

I am also tt professor in psychology. I specialize in cognition, language and development. I am currently preparing my third year review and have one child who is one year old.

I am actually feeling quite good about the balance I have struck between work and family. Indeed,the year I took my FMLA was my most productive year in terms of pubs.

the key for me was finding QUALITY daycare.

I love being able to share stories and perspectives with other professional mamas.

Are you guys familiar with the Advance program (funded by NSF)? It has worked wonders here on campus for advancing women faculty in the sciences.

HAPPY TO MEET ALL OF YOU!
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