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Studio D • Friday evening, 5:15–7:15

Work and Family Interest Group Meeting

Claire Eng (Belmont University), Chair

(Talks will be 10 minutes long, with 10 minutes for Q&A.)

5:15 p.m. Introduction of the incoming WorkFam chair, Yonatan Malin
5:25 p.m. Clare Eng (Belmont University), Results of the 2016-17 WorkFam Leave Survey
5:45 p.m. Rachel Short (Shenandoah University), Research Grants that Do not Require Relocation
5:55 p.m. Jenine Brown (Peabody Conservatory), “Super-Commuting: One Solution to the Two-Career Problem”
6:15 p.m. Elizabeth Smith (Normal, IL), “Choosing Adjunct Life”
6:35 p.m. Chantal Lemire (Western University), “On Compassionate Grounds: Eldercare Policies and Practices in Academic Institutions”
6:55 p.m. Future projects and directions for WorkFam


“Super-Commuting: One Solution to the Two-Career Problem”

Jenine Brown (Peabody Conservatory)

According to the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, more than a third of academics are partnered with another academic ( Indeed, my partner has an academic music career in Michigan, and I teach in the theory department at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. Because the dual hire (both full-time, tenure-track) was not an option for us, I have spent the last two academic years flying from DTW to BWI on Monday and from BWI to DTW on Thursday. My children were based in Michigan with my partner throughout. This presentation aims to share the costs of “super-commuting” so that those considering such an arrangement can make a more informed decision. Costs discussed will itemize air fare, lodging, and transportation that I incurred. I also consider the more intangible costs: how this may have affected how I was perceived at my institution, and the emotional burdens on my children/partner while I was away at work. I will also describe the benefits that I encountered. Finally, prior to the presentation, I will survey similar couples that have taken on a similar “super-commuting” arrangement, and I will share summarized findings.

“Choosing Adjunct Life”

Elizabeth Smith (Normal, IL)

A subset of adjuncts are academics who make a choice to be an adjunct. Typically, this choice is motivated by a family-related need; raising a family, spousal employment, caring for extended family members. Many positions now exist as "permanent adjuncts" with budget crises offering little hope for change to this now academic norm. This presentation not only offers adjuncts (and potential adjuncts) direction for self-advocacy, but also outlines how administrators and faculty can strengthen their departments through their interactions and support of adjuncts.

“On Compassionate Grounds: Eldercare Policies and Practices in Academic Institutions”

Chantal Lemire (Western University)

By 2050, nearly 22% of the global population will be over the age of sixty (United Nations, 2013). Despite some government programs designed to assist aging individuals, most elderly people rely on spouses and family members for help with basic day-to-day needs (Bauer & Sousa-Poza, 2015; Smith, 1993). Approximately 30% of Canadians and nearly 20% of Americans provide some form of eldercare, such as assistance with transportation, meal preparation, and managing household duties or finances (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013; Turcotte, 2013). On average, informal eldercare providers spend 4 to 20 hours per week on eldercare duties (Calvano, 2013; Turcotte, 2013).

In comparison with other work environments, academic institutions fall behind with respect to the availability of eldercare services and support (Raabe, 1997). While childcare is more streamlined into the work arrangements of universities, eldercare seems to be discounted as significant work for those in academia (Mann et al., 2011; Cummins, 2005), even though eldercare providers require similar forms of workplace accommodation (Smith, 1993; Gautun &Hagen, 2010) and face similar workplace penalties to those experienced by parents (Kim et al., 2011; Koerin et al., 2008). Through my own experiences, together with the stories of individuals who struggle to take time off teaching and research duties to care for elderly family members, I hope to shed light on a substantial and growing cohort of caregivers whose needs and experiences are not currently reflected in academic discourses or organizational policies. Given the growing population of eldercare providers, the implications of care provision may be critical for many––perhaps especially for those in the early and formative stages of their career, such as while completing doctoral work and while working to obtain tenure.