UC Davis recognizes the necessity of supporting faculty in honoring their often-competing commitments to both family and career. To recruit and retain the best faculty, the campus established a Work Life program and has a national reputation for supporting work-life balance among faculty.
The Chronicle of Higher EducationJuly 22, 2013David J. Leonard
Many recent studies analyzing the challenges facing academic mothers seem to blame their stalled careers on the failure of academic fathers to be equal partners.
I’ve seen that easy explanation offered again and again in studies and articles: Men are slacking off at parenting, leaving women overburdened by family obligations and struggling to meet their career demands in academe.
In some families, the incompetent or lax father, or one still attached to 1950s gender roles, may indeed be part of the problem.
Family accommodation is fundamental to an equitable and productive academic environment. The University of California has established policies and programs to assist faculty and other academic appointees in balancing the demands of work and family.
The White House and NSF have pledged to improve the progress of women in the STEM disciplines. A significant component of this is addressing the historic lack of support for life changes associated with family formation. To address these challenges the National Science Foundation’s Career-Life Balance Initiative, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and NSF Director Dr. Subra Suresh in September 2012, will build on the best of family-friendly practices among individual NSF programs to expand them to activities NSF-wide.
The UC Davis Office of the Vice Provost – Academic Affairs and Human Resources websites provide information on a wide array of programs aimed at promoting work-life balance for UC Davis faculty, students, and staff:
The National Science Foundation began supporting ADVANCE initiatives in 2001, and has awarded over $130M in funding for a variety of programs. The most significant efforts seek to create permanent institutional transformation.
Professional disciplinary groups allow members to meet, engage, and share knowledge. This effort is particularly important to foster supportive, collaborative networks among scientists from under-represented groups.
We have compiled multiple publicly available databases of the published research related to NSF ADVANCE program efforts to increase diversity in STEM education and the STEM labor force. These include the literature on implicit bias, mentorship and other topics.
Balance is real challenge facing many faculty, particularly women with children. The perception (and reality) of the inflexibility and rigor of an academic career is one cause for the lack of diversity in STEM disciplines.