Female Doctoral Students' Family and Academic Department Experiences and their Relationships to Career Choices
McClintock-Comeaux, Marta Suzanne
Anderson, Elaine A
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The purpose of this study was to determine factors that may influence women's choices of whether or not to enter the pool of tenure track faculty, and for those who do pursue these positions, factors that influence their choices of the type of institution in which they will seek employment: research I universities, liberal arts universities, or community colleges. Feminist and role theories guided the conceptual model and research questions. It was hypothesized that career salience, family structure, social support at the familial and department levels, the presence of a faculty role model successfully balancing work and family, and perceived work to family and family to work conflict would influence intended career tracks of female doctoral students. The sample (n=273) included female doctoral students who were United States citizens at The University of Maryland, College Park who were married, partnered, separated, divorced, widowed, or single with children. A letter explaining the study with a link to an online survey was emailed to all students in this population and completed surveys were compiled on an internet website. This study revealed that career salience was a significant positive predictor of students' intent to pursue research I and liberal arts university tenure track positions, and for women's increased interest throughout their doctoral program in pursuing such faculty positions. Marriage was a significant negative predictor for intent to pursue research I and liberal arts positions, while age and number of children were not significant predictors. Family support was a significant positive predictor for intent to pursue liberal arts positions, and a significant negative predictor for no intent to pursue faculty positions. Department faculty support was a significant negative predictor for career choice change scores for no intent to pursue faculty positions. Advisor support was a significant positive predictor of intent to pursue liberal arts faculty positions, whereas having a faculty role model was a significant negative predictor of no intent to pursue faculty positions. Work to family and family to work conflict were not significant mediating variables in the path between predictor and dependent variables. Implications for program and policy development are discussed.