Higher Education Webcasts

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

May 12, 2010 - 11:48am
In surfing around the web I came upon this old thread, started in January last year on the Chronicle's “Balancing work and life” forum, and then picked up again in June. A young tenure-track faculty member at a research-intensive university with two under-two year olds started the thread with the post: “I’m thinking of leaving academia” (for the reasons that she has become overwhelmed with balancing the job and family.
May 10, 2010 - 9:44pm
Our campus has a May term, an early summer school term that starts up soon after graduation and offers students the opportunity to pick up one class rather intensively over the course of the next four or six weeks. I've never taught it; every May I just feel grateful to have made it to graduation unscathed, and I usually take a few weeks to decompress before I return to my research projects and to planning my fall semester courses.
May 9, 2010 - 4:25pm
My son's mid-semester report came last week. The news was that he's doing fine in everything but humanities and art. "What is going on with humanities?" I demanded. He explained, and his teacher later confirmed, that he had been unable to hand in his major project before the reports were issued because of a transmission issue I don't understand, but it's been straightened out now and his semester grade is likely to be high. "So I guess you'll forgive the art as long as I'm okay in the serious subjects," he said.
May 6, 2010 - 9:27pm
The idea of a tangent line is central to many aspects of mathematics. In geometry, we study when a line rests on another figure at just one point, the point of tangency. In calculus, the slope of the line tangent to a curve at a point becomes the “derivative” of that curve at that point. One can even think of tangencies in more than one dimension. Imagine an (x,y) plane drawn on a table with a three dimensional object resting on it. One can therefore find a point of tangency in the x direction, and also one in the y direction.
May 6, 2010 - 8:17am
I attended an inspiring conversation with filmmaker Mira Nair recently at Columbia College Chicago. Nair spoke about how she arranges her production schedule around her son’s vacation calendar. "Monsoon Wedding" was not scheduled for a 30-day summer shoot to align with the rainy season as much as with son Zohran’s vacation from school.
May 3, 2010 - 10:39pm
It feels like it's been a while since I wrote anything about being a parent in this space. It's been a busy semester at work, and I've had a lot on my mind related to teaching and advising, I suppose. It's also the case that I'm in that delightful stage of parenting that doesn't require hands-on attention every second to keep the kids alive. My daughter sends me a facebook message periodically — or, more often, just plays another round in one of our ongoing word games online — so I know she's all right.
May 2, 2010 - 9:10pm
“Henry Adams’s” most recent “Academic Bait-and-Switch” column in The Chronicle, in which he discusses all of his misguided reasons for going to graduate school in English, prodded me to reflect on my own experience as an undergraduate drama and English major who aspired to become a college professor.
April 29, 2010 - 7:38pm
I remember my comprehensive exams in graduate school as the low point of that experience. Classes were fun, and I did relatively well, and writing my dissertation was actually a joy most of the time. But in the one week dedicated to my comprehensive exams that turned into months as I ended up re-taking some of them, I was expected to know everything from my years there and to prove it on paper to what seemed like merciless graders. I don’t know if I had felt so vulnerable at any point in my life up until then, and have only felt so vulnerable a few times since then.
April 29, 2010 - 8:24am
As I have mentioned before, my husband quit his job in January, making me the official “breadwinner” and reversing the traditional gender roles in our household. Although I welcomed the challenge of living on less and providing our daughter with a less conventional model of marriage, the transition has been more frustrating and, well … humbling than I had imagined.
April 27, 2010 - 10:03pm
How many five minute intervals have passed me by completely unproductively in my life… I hate to think. (Heck, I’ve had half-hour and hour and day-long intervals be unproductive, too, but that’s another story.) In some ways, five minutes is like a penny – you don’t notice it’s gone, you don’t stop to pick it up, you don’t worry about it. But someone recently suggested to me a five-minute activity that has been completely rewarding every single time I’ve done it. We call it “Special 5”. This is time that I give to my 11-year-old daughter, for just the two of us.