Friday, November 12, 2010

Academic Parents : Survey

Below is a link to a survey from a sociologist who is researching the experiences of tenured/tenure-track faculty who have children born or adopted in the past 4 years. If you fit this category, you may not have 20-25 minutes to do the survey, especially if it cuts into your blog reading/writing time, but perhaps you will have sympathy for an academic trying to acquire as much data as possible.

Has anyone has done a survey that follows parents of young children further in their careers to see how being a parent affects one's career at various stages? I am being just a bit self-absorbed here, as the parent of a child about ten years older than the target of this survey, but although being a parent is in some ways less intense as the child gets older and more self-sufficient, except when she loses her cell phone for the 4th time in a year, there are other time-consuming parenting activities.

A recent topic of conversation among some of my colleagues with offspring who have recently started driving is how the stress of having their teenagers drive balances with the relief of no longer having to shuttle them to soccer practice, horse riding lessons, or even to and from school. In fact, as I write, I am waiting for my daughter near the site of one of her favorite Activities, an event that requires 4.5 hours, including driving. I can get some work done while she's Activating (and also read about how cats, unlike dogs, have an "instinctive ability to calculate the balance between opposing gravitational and inertial forces"), but it's still a lot of time, with even more devoted to transportation to/from Activities over the next three days. I am definitely both dreading and looking forward to her being able to drive in the not-too-distant future.

Anyway, for you academic parents who don't need to worry about driving offspring for 11-15 more years:

Faculty Parent Survey

Hello,
I am currently conducting research on parenting in academia. I wish to survey mothers and fathers who had, or adopted, a child recently (2006 - present), AND were in a tenured or tenure-track faculty position at the time.

If you meet these criteria and would be interested in giving your perspective on issues about combining parenthood and professorship, I invite you to take an online survey that should take approximately 20-25 minutes to complete.


The
link to the survey is: http://bit.ly/prof-parent-survey>http://bit.ly/prof-parent-survey

Sincerely,

Laurie Petty

Sociology Department

University of Kansas

lpetty@ku.edu

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Apparently only for US Academics :-(

Anonymous said...

My daughter no longer needs to be driven anywhere. She'll soon be eleven, and she has a monthly pass for the bus.

cherishthescientist.net said...

I told my boy that he could take the driver's permit test anytime he wants to. He would rather ride the bus than study for the test, however, so I'm safe for now.

Anonymous said...

That's all you are going to say about the cats in Science?

I have been following your blog for a while, and I always sort of skip the cat stuff. But when I read the news story, I immediately wondered what you'd be saying about it...

Helen Huntingdon said...

Just the other day I heard one prof say his worries vanished once the kids were shown competent at driving and he began to experience his new free time. He's an "embrace the positive" kind of guy in general.

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

As the parent of a 14-year-old, my experience is quite different from FSP's.

One, my son does not have a cell phone (neither do I). He can get one when he wants one, and pay for it with his own money. He (like me) sees little advantage to having a phone with him at all times, since using a phone is a pain, not a pleasure.

Two, I don't drive my son anywhere. In fact, I don't drive anywhere, never having bothered to get a driver's license. If my son wants to go somewhere, he can bicycle, walk, or take the bus, the same as me or his mother. We do accompany him to some things (like doctor's appointments), but not to others (like D&D games or school).

Three, he is unlikely to want a driver's license until he is an independent adult (and maybe not even then), since there is no car in our household. If the school provides free driver's ed (I don't think they do any more, which is part of the reason driving has gotten so bad around here), we will urge him to take it, in case he decides later to become a driver, but that is about all the support for becoming a driver he'll get.

tt librarian said...

I wasn't in a tt position at the time I adopted my kids so I'm not eligible for the survey, but it's so refreshing to see a survey that acknowledges adoption as one way of building a family.

Anonymous said...

To the person saying that their son is unlikely to want a driving license until they are an independent adult, I'd like to share my experience. I grew up in a place were as a teenager I didn't need a license and my parents refused to help me get one, so I didn't - I wasn't going to spend my money on something that wasn't immediately rewarding then. I'm now a graduate students, struggling to get his license (and struggling to pay for driving lessons) after realizing that in order to work in my field, I basically need a license. There were jobs I had to turn down last summer because, although I started taking lessons after realizing a license was required, I was unable to build up enough proficiency to drive. So I implore parents not to take the short cited my kid is in a city and doesn't need to drive approach, since one day your child may not be living in a place were not driving is possible. Once they have those skills, they have them for life, and its so much harder to acquire them under time pressure.

Anonymous said...

"A recent topic of conversation among some of my colleagues with offspring who have recently started driving is how the stress of having their teenagers drive balances with the relief of no longer having to shuttle them to soccer practice, horse riding lessons, or even to and from school."

I'd vote for parent of a high school age teen being 5 x as frustrating.

Mark P

Anonymous said...

I just completed the survey and it took nowhere near 25 minutes (maybe 5-10), so don't let the time estimate deter you.

GMP said...

Just did the survey. A surprising number of questions about the department chair.

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

To the Anonymous who said "So I implore parents not to take the short cited my kid is in a city and doesn't need to drive approach, since one day your child may not be living in a place were not driving is possible. "

I have lived in several places where not driving was said to be "impossible". I have never needed to drive. Bicycling, walking, and (in some places) taking the bus has always sufficed.

Not driving does put some limitations on my career---I couldn't be a field geologist, a phone company lineman, or several other jobs that are structured to require driving. Had I wanted one of those jobs, I would have gotten a license. Commuting is not sufficient reason for driving, though.

Incidentally, I did take driver's ed in high school and I will encourage my son to do so, if he gets the opportunity, but I'm not going to buy a car just so that he can have a teenage rite of passage.

AnonProf said...

I've never understood these surveys. Aren't the researchers aware that self-selecting Internet surveys are inherently flawed? That they risk giving deeply biased results? Such surveys measure something about people who (for whatever reason) are interested in completing surveys; they don't measure anything about the general population of academics. So it's not clear what value these surveys have. They take up the time of many well-meaning people, on false premises.

This is the same kind of mistake that led Readers Digest to call the 1948 election for Dewey. (The mistake Gallup and Readers Digest made was to draw samples from a biased population that was not representative of voters as a whole.) That was one of the worst failures in polling.

I've seen these kind of Internet polls before, and I've never understood the rationale. How can a responsible sociologist not know about the flaws in self-selecting surveys? Am I missing something?

Tanya Golash-Boza said...

thank goodness my children are not near driving age yet. One thing I did not see mentioned is that I have heard that your car insurance becomes prohibitively expensive if you let your teenagers acquire driver's licenses. I definitely will check that out before allowing my children to take the tests.

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous who said "So I implore parents not to take the short cited my kid is in a city and doesn't need to drive approach, since one day your child may not be living in a place were not driving is possible. "

3 kids, 2 teenagers (one of them now 17) and no drivers license for them in the near future. AND we live in the country and have from the earlyest driven our children everywhere: to see their friends on Satrudays, to Activities, to parties and to work. We dont mind, it's the price we pay for living far away from the city and its problems. I do think my son will eventually get his license but he will pay for the course himself, just like I did...

No cell phone either...

I wouldn't change things but if we lived in the city, I would expect my kids to use the bus...