Institutional Ethnography as a Method to Understand the Career and Parental Leave Experiences of STEM Faculty Members


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Institutional Ethnography as a Method to Understand the Career and Parental Leave Experiences of STEM Faculty Members

  1. 1. Institutional  Ethnography  as  a   Method  to  Understand  the   Career  and  Parental  Leave   Experiences  of  STEM  Faculty   Members     June  2011   118th  ASEE  Annual  Conference  &  Exposition   Vancouver,  BC,  Canada     Mercado  Santiago,  M.,  Pawley,  A.  L.,  Hoegh,  J.,  &  Banerjee,  D.   Purdue  University 1  
  2. 2. Plan   1.  Introduction   2.  Institutional  Ethnography  Research   Methodology   3.  Giddens’  Theory  of  Structuration   4.  Methods   5.  Demographics     6.  Preliminary  Themes   7.  Preliminary  Recommendations 2  
  3. 3. Introduction  *     Women  and  ethnic  minorities  remain   underrepresented  in  STEM  faculty   positions  both  compared  to  the   population  of  faculty  members  within   United  States  and  to  the  general  US   population.     There  is  a  need  to  understand  how   policies  structure  institutions  that   result  in  women  and  people  of  color’s   underrepresentation  in  academia.     *.  Gibbons,  M.T.  (2010).  Engineering  by  the  numbers.  Retrieved  from        h;p://   *.  NaEonal  Science  FoundaEon.  (2009).  Women,  Minori3es,  and  Persons  with  Disabili3es  in  Science  and                  Engineering.  Arlington,  VA:  NaEonal  Science  FoundaEon. 3  
  4. 4. Introduction   Goal  of  the  study:     ◦  Identify  the  disconnects  between   peoples’  experiences  of  the  parental   leave  policy  and  the  structures  of  the   policy.   Why  our  goal  is  important?   ◦  To  improve  our  policy  and   procedures   ◦  Demonstrate  how  this  research  method   can  help  university  administrators   improve  the  labor  context  of  STEM   faculty  members. 4  
  5. 5. Introduction   Research  Question   How  does  the  parental  leave  policy   and  procedures  shape  STEM  faculty   members’  experiences  in  ways  that   affect  their  personal  and  career  life? 5  
  6. 6. Institutional  Ethnography  Research  Methodology*    Starts  from  the  experiences  of   people  in  the  institution’s  processes    Lived  experiences  of  employees  help   researchers  identify:     how  social  relations  structure  the   bigger  institutional  system       how  policy  structures  affect   employees’  career  and  life  experiences     *.  Smith,  D.  E.  (2005).  Ins3tu3onal  ethnography:  A  sociology  for  people.  Lanham,  MD:  AltaMira  Press.     *.   Campbell,   M,   &   Gregor,   F.   (2004).   Mapping   social       rela3ons:   A   primer   in   doing   ins3tu3onal   ethnography.    Walnut  Creek,  CA:  AltaMira  Press. 6  
  7. 7. Eligible  faculty   member     Department  head   Parental  Leave  Policy  and  procedures     (and  other  policies  and  procedures)   Internal/   Childcare   Teaching   Service  (e.g.,   External   facilities   load   committees)   deadlines   Work-­family   policies  of   Research   Sick  leave   Advisees   external   lab   policy   grants  Business  ofDice     (Others:    administrative(s)   senior  faculty  members,  mentors,   Central  administration   staff  members,  childcare   personnel   administrators,  etc)  
  8. 8. Structuration  Theory*    Social  systems  exist  only  because  of   the  repeated  enactment  of   structures  (rules  and  procedures)   through  social  practices.e    Social  structures  are  also  dual:  they   not  just  shape  people’s  experiences,   but  also  people’s  actions  reconstruct   or  shape  structures.e     *.  Sewell,  W.  H.  (1992).  A  theory  of  structure:  Duality,  agency,  and  transformaEon.  The  American              Journal  of  Sociology,  98(1),  1-­‐29. 8  
  9. 9. Structuration  Theory   •  In  this  study,  the  parental  leave   policy  is  our  main  social  system,   situated  along  with  the  other   structures  that  work  together  with  it   (such  as  FMLA,  sick  leave,  unpaid   leave,  etc.).     Actors    (  rules  and     Parental   Actors  procedures  )   aE o n  >   Leave   <  structur Policy   (and  other     <  structuraEon  >   policies)   Actors   (  social  system  ) 9  
  10. 10. Methods    Semi-­‐structured  interviews   conducted  between  2009  and  2010.    Recruitment  mostly  through   snowball  sampling  and  grassroots    Broad  themes  were  identiaied  airst   and  then  we  compiled  those  that   were  equivalent  (using  NViVo).    Still  collecting  data.  25  cases  so  far. 10  
  11. 11. Demographics   Num.   Area   Position   Category   Gender   A1   Engineering   Assistant  professor   Administrator   Female   A2   Non-­‐STEM   Full  professor   Administrator   Female   A3   Non-­‐STEM   Staff   User   Female   A4   University-­‐Wide   Staff   Administrator   Male   *2  Admins.  in   Both   A5   University-­‐Wide   Staff   one  interview   Female   A6   Engineering   Assistant  professor   User   Female   A7   Engineering   Assistant  professor   Eligible   Male   A8   Science   Full  professor   Administrator   Male   A9   Science   Assistant  professor   User   Female   A10   Non-­‐STEM   Associate  professor   User   Female   A11   Science   Associate  professor   User   Male   A12   Non-­‐STEM   Assistant  professor   User   Female   Eng = 3; Non-STEM = 4; Science = 3; University-Wide admins = 3 (A5 had 2 admins) 11  
  12. 12. Themes   Childcare   Access  to  information  about  parental  leave   Faculty  members  continue  their  work  even  on   leave   Additional  themes     The  need  to  improve  adoption  beneaits     The  way  that  the  policy  is  written     Adjusting  pregnancy  timing  to  better  manage  teaching  load 12  
  13. 13. Childcare   A9  /  Science  /  Assistant  Professor  /  Female  /  User   Interviewer:   So   tell   me   a   little   about   your-­‐-­‐   how   you   arranged   for   childcare  [?]     Participant:    Oh  yeah.  So  I  signed  up-­‐-­‐  here’s  something  that  is  a  big   problem  at  Institute  1.  On  campus  childcare  is-­-­‐  I  think  I  made  an   analogy   that   it’s   like   unicorns   and   rainbows.   [Laughs]   It’s   like   it   doesn’t-­‐-­‐   it   supposedly   exists,   but   there   are   something   like   24   spots  total  for  how  many  people  on  this  campus? 13  
  14. 14. Childcare   A7  /Engineering/  Assistant  Professor  /Male/Eligible   Interviewer:   Have   you   utilized   any   of   Institute   1s-­‐-­‐   or   have   you   found  any  of  Institute  1s  services  to  help  aind  childcare?     Participant:   We   are   certainly   aware   of   all   the   different   Institute   1   options  for  childcare.  Most  of  the  ones  we’ve  looked  at,  because  we   just  need  part  time  care,  are  prohibitively  expensive.  So  we’re  sort   of   exploring   alternatives.   Because   we   really   only   need   care   maybe  a  few  half  days  a  week. 14  
  15. 15. Themes   Childcare   Access  to  information  about  parental  leave   Faculty  member  continue  their  work  even  on   leave   Additional  themes     The  need  to  improve  adoption  beneaits     The  way  that  the  policy  is  written     Adjusting  pregnancy  timing  to  better  manage  teaching  load 15  
  16. 16. Access  to  information  about   parental  leave   A9  /  Science  /  Assistant  Professor  /  Female  /  User   Participant:   My   experience   with   the   Dept   ADMIN   website   in   general   is   that   it’s   not   very   useful.   [Laughs]   But   it   tends   to   send   you   around   in   circles   and   not   give   you   the   information   you   need   and   just,   you   end   up   having   to   call   somebody   over   there   or   go   over   there  anyway. 16  
  17. 17. Access  to  information  about   parental  leave   A6  /  Engineering  /  Assistant  Professor  /  Female  /   User   Interviewer:  A  quick  question.  You  had  referred  to  the  handbook.  Is   that  a  written  document  that  you  have,  like  a  book  or  is  it  an  online   [?]...     Participant:  So  I  have  mine.  The  written  one  sometimes  I’ll  aind  that   I’m   doing   web   searches   and   I’ll   think   I   aind   things   that   are   either   excerpts   from   this   or   at   least   very,   very   similar   online,   too.   But   I   generally   Dind   the   Institute   1   website   a   little   bit   difDicult   to   navigate  in  Dinding  information.  So  if  I’m  trying  to  aind  information   from  the  Institute  1  website,  I  will  do  a  [Web  search].  I  will  go  to  [Web   portal];   I   will   type   in   Institute   1,   and   then   whatever   I’m   looking   for.   And  sometimes  I  aind  it  and  sometimes  I  don’t.  [Laughs]  so  then  I’ll   look  at  things  like  this  handbook  or  just  talk  to  people. 17  
  18. 18. Themes   Childcare   Access  to  information  about  parental  leave   Faculty  members  continue  their  work  even  on   leave   Additional  themes     The  need  to  improve  adoption  beneaits     The  way  that  the  policy  is  written     Adjusting  pregnancy  timing  to  better  manage  teaching  load 18  
  19. 19. Faculty  members  continue  their   work  on  leave   A6  /  Engineering  /  Assistant  Professor  /  Female  /   User   Participant:   When   you   think   about   the   different   pieces,   there’s   the   research,  the  teaching  and  there’s  the  service.  And  so,  again,  with  the   kind  of  service  category,  I  wasn’t  attending  the  faculty  meetings  until   about  [month].  Wasn’t  attending  committee  meetings,  gave  occasional   input   to   people   about   that,   though.   And   then   the   other   piece   of   service  is  kind  of  external  to  the  Institute  1  community.  So  reviewing   conference  papers,  reviewing  journal  papers.  I  was  doing  that  stuff.  I   had  people  contact  me  and  say,  “Can  you  review  this  paper  please?”  I   said,   “oh.   OK.”   And   so   the   only   other   way   it   would   be   different   from  a  normal  semester  where  I  wasn’t  teaching  was  just  that  I   was  at  home  more.  Doing  the  work  at  home. 19  
  20. 20. Faculty  members  continue  their   work  on  leave   A7  /  Engineering  /  Assistant  Professor  /  Male  /   Eligible   Participant:   I   was   concerned   about   Dinding   people   to   Dill   in.   I   mean,   I   had   made   the   decision   at   the   beginning   of   the   semester   I   could   have   requested   from   the   department   to   not   have   a   teaching   commitment   this   semester.   I   made   the   decision   in   discussion   with   my   wife   that   I   would   teach   this   semester.   One   of   the   reasons   was   because   I   was   somewhat   drawn   to   the   teaching   assignment.   It’s   also  a  sequence  course. 20  
  21. 21. Faculty  members  continue  their   work  on  leave   A7  /  Engineering  /  Assistant  Professor  /  Male  /   Eligible   Interviewer:   So   how   did   you   manage   your   other   work   outside   of   teaching  during  that  time?     Participant:  What  I  tried  to  do  really  was  for  the  various  research   projects   I   was   working   on,   I   really   tried   to   get   them   all   sort   of-­-­‐   a   good   way   to   describe   it…   I   tried   to   get   the   house   in   order   as   we   were   getting   closer   and   closer   to   the   baby.   To   the   due   date.   So   for   instance,  making  sure  that  all  my  research  assistants  had  a  list  of   tasks   to   work   on   while   I   was   gone   or   while   I   wasn’t   in   as   communication   as   much.   [….]   I   had   colleagues   who   were   waiting   on   things   from   me…I   tried   to   get   all   that   in   order.   So   I   didn’t   have   it   hanging  over  my  head  after  our  [child]  was  born. 21  
  22. 22. Themes   Childcare   Access  to  information  about  parental  leave   Faculty  member  continue  their  work  even  on   leave   Additional  themes     The  need  to  improve  adoption  beneaits     The  way  that  the  policy  is  written     Adjusting  pregnancy  timing  to  better  manage  teaching  load 22  
  23. 23. The  Need  to  Improve  Adoption   Beneaits   A5  /  University-­Wide  /  Two  administrators  in  one   interview  /  Both  female   Participant  1:  I  think  the  one  thing  that  we  do  hear  from  time  to  time   in   relationship   to   this   is   that   we   do   not   have   paid   adoption   beneDits.   We   don’t   have   any.   So   that   does   come   up   from   time   to   time.   Not  necessarily  in  relationship  to  this  paid  parental,  but  in  the  area  of   parental  leave  and  needs  for  family.     Interviewer:  What  would  be-­‐-­‐  I  guess  what  are  adoption  beneaits?     Participant   1:   You   can   offer   beneaits   for   the   [fees]   that   somebody   would  pay.  There’s  travel  and  fees  and  that  kind  of  thing.  And  there   are   programs   and   there   are,   you   know,   a   lot   of   employers   that   offer   some   tax   beneDits   for   some   level   of   adoption   beneDits   that   you  would  provide. 23  
  24. 24. The  Way  that  the  Policy  is   Written   A1  /  Engineering  /  Assistant  Professor  /  Female  /   Administrator   Participant:   Institute   2   [institution   of   comparison]   one   is   very,   like,   written   for   [eighth]   graders   and   its,   like   if   you   are   this   person   in   this   circumstance   this   is   what   you   do   to,   this   is   the   policy,   this   is   what   is   expected.   And   ours   is   written   for   people   from   another   planet   (Interviewer:   laughs),   for   people   from   another   planet. 24  
  25. 25. Adjusting  Pregnancy  to  Manage   Teaching  Load   A8  /  Science  /  Full  Professor  /  Male  /  Administrator   Participant:  So  for  example,  the  STEM  department  is  dominantly,  as  a   research  department,  I  mean,  a  very  large  component  of  what  we  do   is   research,   and   therefore,   our   teaching   loads   is   not   as   heavy   as   say   they   may   be   in   liberal   arts,   and   so,   but   even   in   Dept   STEM,   women   were   adjusting   their   pregnancies   to   try   and   give   birth   over   the   summer   when   we   dont   teach   in   the   summer.   We   just   teach   in   the   spring   and   the   fall   and   then   summer   our   salaries   are   covered   by   our  research  funds  and  so  forth. 25  
  26. 26. Summary   Childcare   Access  to  information  about  parental  leave   Faculty  member  continue  their  work  even  on   leave   Additional  themes   Policy  as  written  doesn’t  meet  faculty  members’  needs   for  leave  or  childcare     Faculty  make  accommodations  to  go  around  policy;   The  policy  remains  inadequate 26  
  27. 27. Update  post  ASEE  paper   •  Focus  on  interviewing  department   heads.   •  Race  and  ethnicity  demographics   information.   •  Working  paper  that  analyses  the   experiences  of  ten  faculty  members   who  took  the  leave  (or  who  were   eligible).     –  We  will  submit  it  this  year  to  JWMSE 27  
  28. 28. Policy-­‐Related  Recommendations   •  Research  about  the  labor  context  of   STEM  faculty  members  should   inform  policy-­related  decisions.       •  Explore  other  universities’  policies   on  modiDied  duties.     •  Faculty  members  should  seek   permission  from  their  department   heads  to  enact  their  leave   intermittently. 28  
  29. 29. Other  Recommendations   •  Mechanism  in  the  policy  should  be   included  to  ensure  that  faculty   members  can  Dind  childcare  services   on  campus  before  returning  to  work.     –  There  is  an  urgent  need  of  childcare   services  for  infants  less  than  one  year   old. 29  
  30. 30. Acknowledgements   This  research  is  based  upon  work   supported  by  the  National  Science   Foundation  under  Grant  No.  HRD   0811194.  Any  opinions,  aindings  and   conclusions  or  recommendations   expressed  in  this  material  are  those  of   the  authors  and  do  not  necessarily   realect  the  views  of  the  National  Science   Foundation. 30  
  31. 31. Thanks  for  your  attention       Questions?       ADVANCE  Research  Team   Purdue  Center  for  Faculty  Success   Hall  for  Discovery  and  Learning  Research   207  S.  Martin  Jischke  Drive,  Suite  228   West  Lafayette,  IN  47907       (765)  494-­‐9335     Presentation  prepared  and  given  by  the  Research  Assistant     Marisol  Mercado  Santiago  ( 31  
  32. 32. References   a.  Gibbons,  M.T.  (2010).  Engineering  by  the  numbers.  Retrieved  from   b.  National  Science  Foundation,  Division  of  Science  Resources  Statistics.  (2009).  Women,         Minorities,   and   Persons   with   Disabilities   in   Science   and   Engineering.   Arlington,   VA:    National  Science    Foundation.   c.  Smith,  D.  E.  (2005).  Institutional  ethnography:  A  sociology  for  people.  Lanham,  MD:  AltaMira        Press.     d.  Campbell,  M,  &  Gregor,  F.  (2004).  Mapping  social      relations:  A  primer  in  doing  institutional      ethnography.  Walnut  Creek,  CA:  AltaMira  Press.   e.  Sewell,  W.  H.  (1992).  A  theory  of  structure:  Duality,  agency,  and  transformation.  The      American  Journal  of  Sociology,  98(1),  1-­‐29.     f.  Giddens,  A.  (1986).  The  constitution  of  society:  Outline  of  the  theory  of  structuration.  Berkeley,      CA:  University  of  California  Press.   g.  Sullivan,  B.,  Hollenshead,  C.,  &  Smith,  G.  (2004).  Developing  and  implementing  work-­‐family      policies  for  faculty  [Electronic  version].  Academe,  90(6).  Retrieved  from 32