Monday, December 7, 2009

Maybe I'll Return to Blogging

I took a 6 month hiatus from blogging because I just can't keep up. One day I foolishly counted the number of hours that I work or do child care Monday-Thursday and...drum roll please......I work 50 hours in those 4 days. No wonder I don't have time to blog or even exercise.

So, what I want to know how other bloggers keep up? How do so many others have full-time jobs, multiple children, exercise, and still find time to blog? Please tell me the secret!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mack Monday: First Steps

Innovative Approach to Stopping the Tenure Clock

Insidehighered reported on a new and innovative legislation to stop the clock on research grants. For academics who regularly apply for and receive grants, temporary care-giving responsibilities (i.e., birth or adoption of a child; ill family member) may interfere with the project's progress.

Now one of the senior members of the House Science Committee has introduced legislation to apply that idea -- and a few others -- to the way federal research agencies interact with universities. The bill would require federal grant agencies to specify ways that the duration of grants could be extended for researchers who have care-giving responsibilities. The hope of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Democrat, is that the clout of federal agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and the public focus on certain policies that her legislation envisions could advance the careers of more women in academic science.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Family-Friendly Resources

Time to update resources on family-friendly issues in the workforce! Here are a few resources that I have come across in the last few months.

Sloan Work Family Research Network

The Alfred P. Sloan Work and Family Research Network is the premier online destination for information about work and family. The Network serves a global community interested in work and family research by providing resources and building knowledge. Current, credible, and comprehensive, the Network targets the information needs of academics and researchers, workplace practitioners, state public policy makers, and interested individuals. It is the place to find high-quality research and reports, easy-to-read summary sheets and briefs, and work-family topic pages—all in one location.

Center for Work and Family Research (CWFR) at Penn State

The mission of the Center for Work and Family Research (CWFR) at Penn State is to promote excellence in research and education on issues at the intersections of work, family, and community. Established in January 2002, the Center encourages interdisciplinary collaboration on a broad array of research topics and approaches to the study of work and family from the vantage points of work organizations and of employees and members of their families, broadly defined. The CWFR facilitates research on professionals as well as low-income workers, women and men, and parents as well as nonparents.

Currently, one substantive, research thread focuses on implications of parents' work situations for family dynamics in dual-earner families with school-age children and adolescents. Another examines faculty members who are juggling family responsibilities and work, a study that combines a national survey with an ethnographic study involving "shadowing" faculty throughout the workday. Soon the CWFR will include a focus on the work circumstances of rural families with young children, as part of a new program project focused on children growing up in rural communities in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Research and graduate education are tightly intertwined. The CWFR involves graduate students from across campus in the life of the Center in the hope of stimulating the next generation of researchers in this area. By pulling students together from different disciplines, the Center hopes to encourage them to be open to interdisciplinary collaboration from the very beginning of their careers.

National Clearinghouse on Academic Worklife

Developed at the University of Michigan, the NCAW is a single resource that brings together:

  • Articles
  • Research & policy reports
  • Policies
  • Demographics
  • Additional websites
  • Narratives on institutional policy change

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mack Monday: Houston We Have Lift Off!

I posted a few weeks ago that I was concerned that Mack seemed uninterested in crawling. She is moving straight to walking via cruising on furniture. Check this out!

Education Cuts from Stimulus Bill

The latest U.S. stimulus bill has felt like the greatest and possibly last hope for economic recovery. Education, it appears, will not be a major beneficiary. CNN reports that the following are being fully eliminated from the bill:

• $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants

• $200 million for National Science Foundation

• $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind)

• $16 billion for school construction

• $3.5 billion for higher education construction

I don't know about you, but my state has eliminated cost of living increases this year and the colleges are experiencing 7-10% budget cuts from the general fund two years in a row. Without some assistance, I fear that we are going to continue to experience no wage increases, cuts in travel/professional development money, and decreases in services for faculty and staff. Ouch!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Michelle Obama's Staff

The media (and many bloggers) are criticizing Michelle Obama for her putting her family first. She has consistently noted that her primary role is that of a mother, not a policy maker. I'll admit that I was hoping for a more aggressive first lady, especially with Michelle Obama's credentials and policy agenda that places working families as a top priority, I am not willing to judge her so quickly. A recent article highlights the credentials of her staff:

Policy director Jocelyn Frye was the general counsel and director of the workplace fairness program at the National Partnership for Women and Families. Frye was involved in developing the Ledbetter legislation.

Deputy chief of staff David Medina was the political director for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign and worked for the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign. USGLC executive director Liz Schrayer called Medina “a very strategic thinker” with strong labor and minority connections.

Deputy policy director Trooper Sanders worked for former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, and the William J. Clinton Foundation. Communications director Camille Johnston, who oversaw communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers, had been Tipper Gore’s communications director.

Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary, and her team also are housed under the first lady’s staff. Rogers is a friend of the Obamas from Chicago, and also a prominent corporate executive with insurance, energy and state lottery experience.

Norris, the chief of staff, is an Iowa campaign veteran who also once worked for Gore. She and Michelle Obama bonded while riding around the state in a minivan together in the months before the January Democratic caucuses.

Maybe I am just optimistic, but I see a highly respectable, political, and well connected staff that can support a more aggressive policy agenda that places the First Lady in the center of policy change to support working families. Michelle Obama may be "First and foremost Malia and Sasha's mom" but she may have another role in the future. Let's give her a first 100 days!