25 May 2012

Why Women Leave Academia

Interesting article just posted:


They were discussing why so many female PhD candidates don't want a career in academia. Loads to talk about on this one.

I had a fabulous academic career, actually. I loved (and hated) the three universities where I taught. The students were always the reason for staying, but the faculty was always the reason for leaving.

I put off having children until 35 (second one at 39) so I could advance my career, travel, and research. But once I hit my stride and started getting promoted (Associate Prof, Associate Dean, offers of Deanship at other institutions), I was not able to spend any time with my husband and children. I would get looks from other Deans and Associate Deans who planted their butts in their expensive executive chairs by 8:30 am on the dot and didn't leave the premises until 5:00 pm. When I "strolled" in at 9:00 am because I wanted to drop my children off at school myself, I was glared at, gossiped about, and ultimately made to stay late to pay back the missing time. (isn't it funny how some horrible emergency cropped up nearly everyday at 5:15?)

Academic administrators need to get real: men and woman are leaving because once you play that ballgame long enough, you will likely be promoted. It's all very heady for a while (more money, trips, new "friends") but once you realize that you now rarely get to have lunch with the real friends from your home department, that you rarely teach students anymore, and that your life is now completely devoted to you job, most people aren't satisfied. Life is much more than sitting at a desk all day pushing papers around. I got into academia because I wanted to make a difference through teaching.

I bet I can count on one hand how many administrators really teach any more. How many administrators know any students' names (except for those budding political science majors hoping for a political career so they get involved with student government hoping to meet the college president and receive a great recommendation for grad school)?

In many universities, academia is broken. Education is also broken in many of our elementary, middle, and high schools around the US. I wanted to make a difference so I joined a team of four other women and we created our own school: Atala.

Spread Your Wings!

01 May 2012

What a fantastic couple of weeks this has been! Just when I was down in the dumps about finding a permanent home, we have begun to build the school in other ways. We have been interviewing all week for three Middle School positions: a full-time teaching assistant, a math/science teacher, and an English/history teacher. We had a lot of resumes sent our way via word-of-mouth and newspaper ads. And so far we have made two offers and had two acceptances. I am so very happy that all our Atala kids are going to have the best!

We now have 67 children registered and already 54 have re-enrolled for next year. I'm guessing we'll be around 80 for the 2012-13 academic year.

Atala is undergoing accreditation this year and next (two different groups) and if successful, we will be able to offer more services to additional families. (accreditation brings with it a lot of bonuses in the elementary/second education field)

My own two children are doing great: Liam won the Atala Chess Club tournament this year and Livya tied for third. (I have to brag occasionally). I'm so proud of everyone in the Chess Club (I'm the coach). We became an official US Chess Federation affiliate and will begin competing next year!

Next week I'm traveling with the Upper Elementary/Middle School class and taking everyone to Clearwater to see Winter the dolphin from the "Dolphin's Tale" as well as Tarpon Springs (a Greek sponge-diving community), Sarasota's Ringling Estate, Science Museum, and then ending with a search for shark's teeth at Venice Beach. Can't wait! What a great end to a fabulous second year!

Spread Your Wings!