Sunday, January 06, 2008

you can't have it all

"Doctoral students who want to have or adopt children will now receive financial support from the [Yale] University.

In a major change from existing policy, both male and female students can remain registered as students and continue to receive their financial aid packages during the semester during or following the birth or adoption,


Butler said the new procedure is one part of the University’s larger goal of supporting students who choose to have children, including the Graduate School’s decision last year to cover medical insurance for doctoral students’ children.


Butler said the new policy is similar to those that have been implemented at many other graduate schools — including Stanford, Princeton, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania — although whether or not the stipulations apply to both female and male students tends to vary from school to school.

Princeton University released a relief plan early this month offering 12 weeks of paid maternity leave to female graduate students having children and Stanford also has a similar system of paid time off. But Harvard still suspends all financial support to graduate students while they go on maternity leave."

jumping on the bandwagon: M.I.T., but down the road, it's a different story. guess which school i attend? they plead 'limited funds.' perhaps they missed this news?


Sarah said...

wait, how can harvard plead limited funds? That's kind of ridiculous considering their endowment. My dad actually got married while he was at MIT and they supported him wholeheartedly. He works at Harvard now, I wonder what he'll think. Also, what school are you in?

erica said...

i'm in GSAS, in the department of history of art and architecture. some of the faculty are supportive of grad students having children, others apparently are less positive about it. the real problem for me is obtaining financial aid for completing the dissertation in a timely fashion.

Sarah said...

cool! I've wanted to be an architect since I was four, but I'm applying to college right now and I can't decide if that's what I want to do right now. This is kind of random, but what do you think of the grad student housing on western ave near the colluseum, the one shaped like an L? I've always wondered what other people thought of it after I visited the architect's firm.

erica said...

i've never been inside One Western Avenue, nor have i walked around it. honestly, it's not my favorite building. a little too clumsy in its proportions, with unnecessary facade detailing. my husband is in the architecture program at the GSD, but he majored in physics and comparative history of ideas in college. i've been on the art history track since junior year of high school. sometimes i wish i'd chosen something else.

Nanashi said...

I hear that a lot of professors end up not having any children, or postpone having kids till they nail down their tenure. One insanely efficient professor gave births two years in a row once she published her book and got tenure. I think grad schools should accomodate family plans as an essential part of grad student life plan and right, at the same time I somewhat take their policy as a way to encourage finishing up the dissertation. Well, naw, I think this is a product of a male-centered academia, after all. Sigh. It would be nice if they set up the financial aid package so grad students can have choices instead of compromises (especially on things like babysitting and nursery fees). It is odd that Harvard claims to have limited funding...though.

erica said...

harvard has done several grad parent surveys to see how to rectify the situation, but very little has been done aside from 14 daycare scholarships.
apparently harvard's endowment consists of many smaller funds that are earmarked for particular use. regardless, it is one of the wealthiest schools around, and should treat its grad students better.

Sara said...

that is pretty sad, hopefully they will feel the pressure and join the others.
though in general the state of maternity leave in the US seems pretty pathetic.
We ended up not using it, but I was very impressed to learn that the university where I'm in grad school (in Geneva) gives grad students the same it gives everyone else, 20 weeks paid at 100%. But even that isnt much compared to what some of the scandanivan countries give.

(rambling now) though in grad school i imagine the true state of support has more to do with how your adviser feels about it that the law, if they think you should get leave they will be able to be more flexiable, if they think you shouldn't they can make your life miserable even if the law gives you leave.

anyway, good luck!

erica said...

hey fellow sagehen! you're right, maternity leave in the us isn't that great, either. i just wish that having a baby didn't mean losing my income for 4-8 weeks.

i guess i'll have to perfectly time (yeah right!) the baby's arrival for the end of the fall semester, which would give me 6 weeks before teaching, etc.

thankfully, in the humanities, all we do is sit on our bums and write/read when we're not teaching, so it's pretty flexible (no lab or field work). the real problem is the lack of money.