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Sociology Colloquium, 10/6/2021

Insecurity and Inequality in Academia: Differential Effects of COVID-19 on Work Conditions and Work-Life Balance in the Texas A&M Academic Community

Angelique Maes, Texas A&M University

Work-Life Balance (WLB) seems to be difficult to achieve in academia but is also highly coveted and is seen as an important factor for retention (Lindfelt et al 2018). Generally, the ability to obtain WLB appears to vary by gender, caregiving status, and cultural inequities (Hurtado et al., 2012; Philipsen, 2008; Philipsen & Bostic, 2010; Hermann et al 2014). This qualitative project examines the impacts of COVID-19 on individual scholars at Texas A&M University, while recognizing that the pandemic will have differential impacts on WLB and work conditions that are likely to widen existing gaps along the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, caregiver status, discipline, and appointment status. Our research questions include: How has the relationship between work-life balance and work productivity changed for scholars due to recent transformations to the organizational context of work? This qualitative research includes 101 participants representing 5 different categories of scholars that include 26 PhD Students, 14 Post-Doctoral Fellows, 19 APT Faculty, 20 Tenure-Track Faculty, and 21 Tenured Faculty. Participants completed two qualitative semi-structured interviews via Zoom. Each interview spanned between 1-2 hours. Interviews have been conducted and transcribed by a team of 7 graduate students, with 3 additional graduate students coordinating interviews and coding. Interviews are being coded by a team of undergraduate students. Qualitative analysis is being conducted with the use of the qualitative software Dedoose, where themes common in the data will be identified and coded. WLB was coded utilizing the following criteria: features of home-work situation, types of personal disruption and change to work-life balance. Preliminary results indicate that across scholars at Texas A&M University, WLB appears to have worsened due to the pandemic. Gender, caregiver status, and category of scholar are key to understanding individual experiences.

October 6, 2021
Wednesday, 12–1:30pm
Zoom session
Meeting ID: 930 5911 7332
Passcode: 819231

If you cannot join with video, you can connect to the Zoom session via phone: 1–346–248–7799