When Motherhood and College Collide – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

When Motherhood and College Collide

A conversation between friends about trying to combine motherhood and a professional life in academia resulted in the production of an anthology that tells the story of more than 40 women in academia. “Mama, Ph.D.: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life” is the literary anthology Caroline Grant ‘89 recently co-edited with friend Elrena Evans. It contains 35 essays of personal narratives about the problems and concerns with parenting in higher education. The editors assembled the volume, “because we wanted to know that blending family life with life in the ivory tower might be possible; we needed to know that other women were attempting this balancing act.” Grant married six weeks after receiving her Ph.D. and got pregnant two years later, the same week she landed a good teaching job. Expecting to balance teaching and motherhood, she found the collision between the two lives to be more problematic than she had anticipated and was forced to leave academia. The book reflects on experiences of women throughout the academic world, exploring the inequality of the sexes in higher education and suggesting changes that could make universities more family-friendly workplaces. While a student at Hobart and William Smith, Grant majored in comparative literature and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley, where she has taught classes on women’s studies, film, American literature, and writing. She has also taught at Stanford University and the San Francisco Art Institute. Grant is now the senior editor of “Literary Mama,” a literary magazine where she also writes a monthly movie column. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons, and writes about her life in her blog, food for thought. “Mama, Ph.D.” is now available in the College Store. For more on the book, check out the book’s blog.