The female faculty experience in higher education is uniquely challenging due to a variety of factors including societal expectations for women, gender bias, and gender politics. However, each female faculty member’s experience is specific to their individual circumstances. Critical examination of these experiences could inform individuals and the wider academic community. Grounded in an adaptation approach to role theory, Kelsey used self-study to understand her management of and adaption to work and non-work roles. Tori, who was also beginning her academic career, served as Kelsey’s critical friend. Kevin, a previous faculty member at the institution where Tori and Kelsey completed their doctoral degrees, served as a second-level critical friend by providing feedback on implementation of the self-study approach. Data collection included Kelsey’s reflective journal, critical friend conversations with Tori, and meta-critical friend conversations with Kevin. Kelsey’s ongoing struggle with navigating her various role-related responsibilities and managing the intersections of these roles led to identification of three themes: (a) family-life/work affecting the other, (b) relying on support, and (c) navigating challenges with imposter syndrome. Kelsey’s personal and professional roles conflicted, which caused challenges that were compounded by experience with imposter syndrome. Throughout the year, Kelsey worked toward a personal understanding of role management with the support of her husband, critical friends, colleagues, and structural elements of her institution. Findings of this study highlight the importance of female faculty members and mothers examining role management, along with the need for others not included in this demographic to be responsive to such findings.
- female faculty
- higher education
- Role theory
- self-study of teacher education practices
ASJC Scopus subject areas