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Virginia

Journey

I took my term faculty position in 2014 when we arrived here for my husband's graduate program.  At the time, President Leath was growing the school and our department was short-handed instructors for undergraduates.  I felt hired in a bit of a hurry to help put out a fire.

My partner has long since graduated, but I kept this position due to the compability of a term faculty with raising a family and the benefits that come with the job.  I did not have much help at first, but identified that I needed to create my own system of support.  I am fully aware that many people would not do this due to factors of culture, power, and privilege.  However, to fully formalize my career position, I: sought mentorship from CALS Dean Wendy Wintersteen, ran for Faculty Senate, advocated for term faculty and our unique position and needs, and identified a mentor who identifies as feminist and met with him regularly, made a concerted effort to meet other working mothers on campus.


Supports

I work predominantly with faculty and students who identify as male, and the college has a traditional and conservative culture.  I have only advocated for change in regard to creating a more inclusive college culture because of the support of leadership: a network is critical for effecting change.  I also have been "lucky" to have had 2 chairs who themselves both have families, but I find their support for me as a working mother to be a rather random happening.  A clear, unilateral policy of support for all working parents at this university is needed, and this pandemic is illuminating that.  Last, I believe I would thrive here with more opportunities to meet formally (for business) and informally (for support and networking) with other women here.  So many of us are working very hard in isolation, and I am confident there are others who are experiencing far more stress and disconnection than I am.