School of Engineering Education

Research Seminar Series: Spring 2014

Thursday, May 1, 3:30-4:20pm

Armstrong B071

ENE 590 Presentation:

Corey Schimpf, ENE Graduate Student, "Understanding the Context of Family-Friendly Policies: Institutional Changes and their Impact on STEM Faculty Members"


Numerous institutions and organizations related to higher education have put in place or advocated family-friendly policies as a means to reduce work-family conflict for faculty members. This is especially pertinent in Engineering and other STEM fields where there is often an expectation of extreme commitment to work. Few studies have examined the distribution of family-friendly policies at academic institutions, however. Furthermore, the United States is an interesting case to study such policies as it lacks many of the national level family friendly policies other countries have.

In this study we used the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF) database to examine the distribution of parental leave and childcare policies in 1993 and 2004. These years are selected because they give us time points before and after the one national family friendly policy in the United States, the Family Medical Leave Act.  Cluster Analysis is used to group academic institutions into clusters with lesser or greater family-friendly policies; doing so allows us to create profiles for said institutions. In the next step we analyze the distribution of particular policies in the clusters and across time, as well as the marital rates and number of dependents of STEM faculty in clusters in the two years.

Results indicate the 1993 and 2004 data best clusters into 5 groups, with doctorate institutions breaking out into different clusters whereas associates and bachelors institutions collapse into one cluster with the fewest policies. Descriptive statistics on policy coverage within and across clusters suggest gains in maternal and paternal leave and drops in childcare policies.  Unexpectedly there was limited change in marital rates and number of dependents across clusters.