Husband-Sean and I have just entered the empty-nester stage, now that daughter-Jacqueline (Purdue B.A. In Linguistics with minors in English and Asian-American Studies, 2012) is happily married to Peter (Purdue B.S. Astronautical and Aeronautical Engineering, 2012) and happy mothering grandson-Patrick (b. 08/28/12); and son-Paul is set to enter Purdue Engineering in August 2013, where he will be the pianist in one of the university’s jazz bands.
I am amazed at the great strides women are making in higher education, despite the low turnover in tenured positions. I have felt supported in my going up the ranks: I was an Assistant Professor from 2000-2007, and am now an Associate Professor going up for full starting August 2013. I have indeed been offered many leadership opportunities in high administration. I took on being my university’s Director of Religious Studies (2009-13). While I am very pleased with the job I did and was asked to continue on in the position, my passion lies in researching and teaching, so I declined. This was a hard decision since I know one measure of professional success in the field is higher pay and visibility, both of which come with administrative jobs. But I need to follow my bliss. I mentor women and men alike but do note that female students well-populate my office hours, and that our conversations are devoted in some part to professionalization matters. I tend not to forecast, so I find it hard to write anything to answer “what would you like to see happen for women in higher ed in the next 5 years?” except to say that I hope for women what I hope for all, that they strive to live, teach, study, research, and conduct all the other aspects of their job with integrity, compassion, and freedom.