Faculty writing groups: a support for women balancing family and career on the academic tightrope

Penney, S., et al. (2015). "Faculty writing groups: a support for women balancing family and career on the academic tightrope." Canadian Journal of Higher Education 45(4): 457-479.

This qualitative research project explored the experiences of women who juggle the demands of family or parenthood while engaging in academic careers at a faculty of education. The researcher-participants consisted of 11 women; 9 women provided a written narrative, and all women participated in the data analysis. The data consisted of the personal, reflective narratives of 9 women who participated in a faculty writing group. Analysis of narratives uncovered 5 themes common to the researchers and participants in this study: gender-specific experiences surrounding parenting, second-career academics, pressure surrounding academic work, human costs, and commitment to work and family. Implications of the findings are discussed with particular emphasis on how a faculty writing group framed by a relational model of interaction can be used to support untenured faculty who experience difficulty balancing the demands of family and academia.

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