Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

November 19, 2009 - 9:10pm
My first week of graduate school found me in a microeconomics class with a teacher reviewing the assumptions behind what is commonly called the “Adam Smith hypothesis”. Referring to the founder of the discipline of economics, it is a hypothesis that free markets work well, and that work so well that under them no one can be made better off without someone else being made worse off. This can actually be proven using calculus, using a proof that makes us math geeks smile, but it is dependent on several assumptions that may or may not be true in all situations.
November 18, 2009 - 9:58pm
At this point in the semester, my students – who once seemed an amorphous blob of Kaylas, Kyras, and Karas — have emerged as distinct, complicated, and often intriguing personalities. As always, the courses I’ve carefully planned on paper fail to take into account the living, breathing people who comprise them. And while I challenge myself to design courses that engage and inspire every type of student, it is of course the students themselves who define the course’s identity.
November 16, 2009 - 10:17pm
A couple of posts in the last week about gender balance have caught my eye. Both came from Susan O'Doherty, whose Career Coach pieces have spurred all kinds of interesting comments on the blog as well as new ideas for me.
November 15, 2009 - 5:38pm
The undergraduate institution I attended went co-ed the year I matriculated. It had previously been an all-women’s college, the sister school to a nearby men’s university that began admitting women the same year.
November 12, 2009 - 10:50pm
Several weeks ago, I asked my readers to share their maternity leave stories with me, as I work to propose a reasonable maternity leave for Ursuline college. This week I want to summarize what I learned, thanks to my readers who were generous with their time in responding to my request. I am especially excited about the responses I received, because I think that they move us in the direction of seeing these “blogs” as on-line discussions, with the weekly entries being the start of the discussion, but, by all means, not the end of them.
November 11, 2009 - 8:34am
Last week my daughter and I read the classic Bridge to Terabithia. I wouldn’t have re-read this on my own (too sad, for one thing!), but a little group of my fifth grade daughter’s friends organized the SS-MD-BC: Second-Sunday-of-the-month Mother-Daughter Book-Club, and we had our first meeting last weekend.
November 9, 2009 - 9:36pm
How did it get to be November already? It was 70F here today, so it doesn't really feel like November, but my calendar's pretty clear that not only is it November, it has been for over a week now. Which means, of course, that Thanksgiving is almost here, and the end of the semester is close on its heels.
November 8, 2009 - 8:17pm
Scott has a fascinating article in this week’s Inside Higher Ed News, about a proposed inquiry by the US Commission on Civil Rights into the admissions policies of private liberal arts colleges. The concern is that, in an effort to correct gender imbalances, these colleges favor applications by men. Such an inquiry sounds reasonable, but the proposed solution seems insane:
November 5, 2009 - 9:39pm
Last week was a difficult one in my family, as all of us got hit with a bug that is going around. I suspect that my daughter brought it home from school, and she was the first to be hit, followed closely by me. My husband eventually got it, but only on the weekend, when it conveniently would not conflict with any “billable hours” in his practice. I managed to re-arrange my teaching so I could grab a few hours of rest, and was doubly lucky because I multitasked by taking care of my daughter at the same time.
November 5, 2009 - 8:44am
Maybe it’s because it was just Halloween, but, for some reason, zombies seem to have surrounded me recently. My fourteen year-old daughter Katie wanted to go see Zombieland weekend before last. I voted for Amelia, thinking that would provide her with a more positive role model — “She just got into a plane and decided to fly it!” But a need for good humor, Katie’s desire for sleep, and her brother’s educational crisis won out over both choices.

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