Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

August 12, 2010 - 6:58pm
There is a concept in economics called a “tournament”. It notices that one way to motivate people to do something that you want them to do is to set up a tournament by setting out a goal that many people are willing to work for, and then encourage them to behave in a way that you desire in order to achieve that goal. The tenure process comes to mind immediately when I think of such tournaments, for the tenure process gives us a goal to work for, and in the process we align our behavior with that desired by the university.
August 12, 2010 - 4:31am
I am writing this column from the annual conference that I attend every year with fellow academics — the University Film & Video Association (UFVA). This year we’re meeting in Burlington, Vermont. Like many schools, my university travel budget is fairly low this year. So this trip is also my vacation.
August 9, 2010 - 8:24pm
This summer for the first time my family joined a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture). We signed up to receive a weekly supply of vegetables from a local farm family, paying in advance to minimize their risk and ensure that we’d get an ample supply of fresh vegetables every week.It was a little bit of a leap of faith. Friends have done it in the past, but this was our first time, and we weren’t quite sure what we’d get. We weren’t sure we’d like it, or that we’d be able to use it all up before the next week. We weren’t sure it would be worth the price.
August 8, 2010 - 3:38pm
In a recent New York Times article David Leonhardt makes a point that we on this site have been discussing for years: as the gender gap closes in terms of equal pay for equal work, mothers continue to be underemployed and struggling. The market favors those who can put in long, uninterrupted hours, weeks, and years building their careers, and those people tend to be men — whether or not they are parents—and single or childless women.
August 5, 2010 - 7:36pm
There is a concept in mathematics that shows up in calculus and geometry, the concept of a "neighborhood." Like its real life counterpart, it is a designation of all points within a certain distance from a particular point. That distance is often represented with a Greek letter, such as “epsilon” or “delta," and these play important roles in the definition of the concept of a limit, which is the cornerstone of calculus. I thought of these concepts recently as I realized how lucky I am to live in the (geographic) neighborhood in which our house is located.
August 5, 2010 - 7:53am
This week I rewarded my productivity by reading a totally engrossing, satisfying novel: Jean Hanff Korelitz’s Admission. Korelitz's deftly-written novel, which portrays a Princeton admissions officer, isn’t a parody of the ridiculous ways that desperate students (and their parents) try to win acceptance into Ivy League colleges (hint: baked goods will be eaten but will not help a student get in), but a moving novel that centers on the double meaning of the title. As one character explains, “Admission.
August 4, 2010 - 8:27am
This summer I thought I’d teach my daughter to read. I’m not sure why I had in mind that we’d just sit down everyday for reading lessons. This approach didn’t work with my son, but some of my daughter’s friends have learned to read this way, so I thought we’d try. After the first couple of short lessons I realized it wasn’t going to work. We both got frustrated, and my daughter told me it was boring. She was eager to get to the good parts in the stories without having to work hard. I don’t blame her. I can’t stick with a book either if it’s too much work and little reward.
August 1, 2010 - 3:10pm
My 40th (yikes!) high school reunion is coming up, and my inbox has been clogged with correspondence about it — the official invitation, and group emails asking help in tracking down elusive classmates or compiling a representative slide show. Then there are the messages from friends, discussing whether or not to go, and why.
July 29, 2010 - 8:50pm
Patterns are central to math and statistics. If we add two of something to two more of that something, we get four of it. We say that something is “statistically significant” if we see patterns in the data that would not be expected to show up randomly. And we can write patterns, such as the famed “Fibonacci Sequence” by looking at the previous values and defining the newest value in terms of the previous ones.
July 28, 2010 - 8:19pm
Now that my children are almost college-age, I have to face some cold, hard facts of personal accounting. I have not been saving for my teens’ college tuition plan. On my college professor’s salary I cannot afford to send my kids to the same kind of private institution that I attended as an undergrad. Nor do I want them to wind up with $80,000 in student loan debt by the age of 21. (I can’t even do the math for the additional costs of a graduate education for them.)


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