For years, the conventional wisdom (with research to back it up) was that having children pre-tenure was a good way for a woman to derail or at least sidetrack a career in academe. Of course, with biological clocks running up against tenure clocks, that conventional wisdom was ignored by many. But many female academics have continued to feel that they face huge disadvantages from having children early in their careers.
Students at the George Mason University School of Law received a double whammy last week: First, Dean Daniel D. Polsby sent an e-mail informing them of a "special town hall meeting" scheduled for Monday where they could meet a candidate for a tenure-track job -- a 22-year-old candidate who had once posted online class notes containing a racial epithet while a law student at Harvard in 2002. Then the next day, Polsby canceled the meeting, writing that the controversial would-be professor "is no longer a candidate."
In the last week, both Stanford and Yale Universities have announced significant expansions of the help that they provide to new parents -- with Stanford unveiling a plan for junior faculty members and Yale one for graduate students.