Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

March 15, 2010 - 9:55pm
There are some undertakings so overwhelming that, if you knew too much about them before diving in, you might never embark on them. Having children, for example, is way too daunting if you think about the time and money spent, the income and sleep lost — you'd never do it if you drew up a detailed budget beforehand. Writing a dissertation — or a book — is a similarly unmanageable project that might cow anyone who really thought hard about how long it would take for how little reward.
March 14, 2010 - 5:16pm
I have been meaning to write about "Paula Bolick"'s witty article "Giving Birth to 2 Babies" in The Chronicle. It brought back my own experience of defending my dissertation two weeks before my son's due date (four before his actual birth).
March 11, 2010 - 6:53pm
Before finding my job at Ursuline College, I taught economics or statistics at several different colleges. I taught as part of my graduate assistantship on the way to my Ph.D., as an adjunct at several colleges in the Boston area as a graduate student, and at my first job out of grad school, and the one that brought me here to Cleveland. I was recently reminded of a lecture I tried to teach at one of those schools many years ago. As part of a class in macroeconomics, I tried to have a discussion about how the United States could help people in poorer countries.
March 10, 2010 - 9:49pm
I’m a great one for To Do lists. For me they work especially well when I’m organized enough to have items broken down into bite-sized projects that I can go along and knock off. When my lists are working well I rarely finish everything on it in one day. I rewrite my list and re-prioritize all the items that don’t get crossed off along with the new things that come up each night for the next day. I keep all the lists in sequential pages of a notebook, so I can refer back to old ones, and they become a reference of what I have done.
March 10, 2010 - 11:36am
March 8th was International Women’s Day (IWD), which seems appropriate after watching Kathryn Bigelow make Oscar history last weekend (rock on …). The IWD celebrations first started in 1910-11 and were recognized by the United Nations in 1975. Many countries around the world — China, Russia, Vietnam (not the U.S.)--celebrate IWD as a national holiday. Not surprisingly, Nicholas Kristof’s N.Y.
March 8, 2010 - 10:54pm
A colleague e-mailed me recently — would I be interested in getting together an informal group of folks, every now and then, to talk about teaching? Would I! This colleague, I should say, is a master teacher himself — winner of innumerable awards, author of a book on teaching himself. I've been wanting to reach out to him for a while to talk about some of the things I'm hoping for our first year seminar program — but he got to me first.
March 7, 2010 - 7:35pm
I sometimes feel unqualified to write this column. I work with clients who teach, but aside from the occasional speaking engagement, I have not been personally involved with academia for over 15 years. So what I have to say may be outmoded. If so, I count on you to set me straight. I have three graduate degrees from two universities: a master’s in drama therapy from New York University and both a master’s in clinical/school psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Adelphi. In all three programs, there were two cardinal rules of scholarship:
March 4, 2010 - 8:25pm
You may have seen what math folks call “Venn Diagrams”. These illustrate sets and subsets using circles that may or may not intersect. For example, a graph illustrating all college students may be shown as a large box, with a (very) small circle in it representing college students who go to Ursuline College. I found myself thinking of this way of portraying the world when I recently found myself with not just a broken leg but also a broken arm.
March 4, 2010 - 1:10pm
Last night I attended a meeting of fiery radicals intent on reforming society at the most basic level: moms at my daughter’s elementary school who want healthier school lunches. (Interestingly, no fathers attended, although there was one precocious 12-year old young man.) We met for the reason many parents are meeting around the country: we are appalled at what our children are fed at school. For example, today’s breakfast is “French toast sandwich” while the lunch is “cheesy chicken bake,” or mac ’n cheese, each served with breadsticks.
March 3, 2010 - 3:48am
The Olympics have just left town. Although we’re collectively gearing up for the Paralympics in a couple of weeks, the big crowds are gone. Classes were suspended at universities and community colleges in the region ostensibly to allow students the opportunity to volunteer at the Olympics. However, the primary reason for the two-week break in the middle of the term was transportation gridlock, cancellation of bus routes and the need to turn university parking lots into park-and-rides for Olympic events.

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