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long hours and families

Karen Lee ktlee+ at pitt.edu
Tue Apr 25 11:06:45 EST 2000

Julia Frugoli wrote:

> The tone I hear in Dr. Brooks post is "you can't have it all, so chose a
> "lesser" institution if you want a life."  While we're only one data point,
> you need to account for the out lying points.  My husband and I can testify
> that it ain't necessarily so that a less prestigious institution=a life.  In
> some cases it can be worse.  And the funny thing is-my kids are grown-I want
> a life just to have a life :).

Bravo.  I am an assistant professor at one of those less prestigious
institutions (a regional campus of Pitt.), not because I chose it for lifestyle
reasons but because when I was job hunting 5 years ago tenure track positions
in biology were not easy to find. I got a decent offer at a small undergraduate
institution and I took it.  My experience (only one data point) is that some
smaller schools do expect more from their faculty.  I teach 12 contact hours
each semester. (In the fall that is three different lecture courses, a lab
section and a seminar. In spring, two lectures, three lab sections and a
seminar.) I also teach in the summer. In addition I am expected to publish,
have undergraduates (we have no graduate programs) in my lab and serve on
university committees. I am the only woman in the tenure stream in my
department, and one of two tenure stream faculty under 45 years old. (I am not
suggesting that is a problem, just making an observation.) Our campus was,
until the 70's, a 2 year "feeder" school for Pitt., so though Pitt. is old, we
are not. We are also north of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi,
but somehow not really "east coast".

For large chunks of the term, I barely have a life, not because I chose that
way, but because I have not yet figured out how to do everything I need to do
to get tenure, and still have time to do very much else. (I could never do this
and take care of a family. I don't know how my married colleagues, mostly men,
handle it.)  I love to teach and to have students doing research in my lab, but
I am not sure I can sustain this for the next 30 years.  Something will have to
give. I just hope it isn't my sanity. ;-)


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