Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Swanson, Jane

Abstract

This study explored faculty members' perceived importance of family-friendly policies in academia, the extent to which faculty perceive academic institutions as having a social responsibility to make the academy more family-friendly, participants' endorsement of gender-biased norms, and whether the faculty members who participated in this study are considering "opting-out" of academia. Key constructs that were explored include: the ideal worker norm, the motherhood norm, the maternal wall, and bias avoidance. Methodological limitations and the implications for this study were discussed. The participants of this study were 243 female and male tenure-track and tenured faculty members from graduate departments from six nationally accredited, public, U.S. doctoral-granting research universities. The results indicated that although most faculty do not intend to "opt-out" of academia, a substantial proportion reported that they are considering leaving their current institution, or leaving academia entirely. Further, although faculty members' perceptions of whether a family-friendly policy is of personal importance varied, the overwhelming majority of respondents expressed support for such policies. Finally, on average, faculty members did not endorse gender-biased beliefs toward caregiving, with women being less likely to endorse such beliefs.

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