Mothering & Education

Several years ago I attended a brown-bag seminar series at my university on Motherhood. One of the seminars focused on the “family-friendliness” of our own university. Two separate groups (staff and faculty) had begun grassroot efforts to advocate for change in this area. The discussion was enlightening but I realized that there was no one voicing the concerns or needs of the students. At the time I was preparing to teach a doctoral-level methods course and was on the look-out for a simple project that I could use in the class. I thought this topic might be a good fit.

What started out as a small in-class research project became a full-scale qualitative case study on the experiences of pregnant and parenting students at a mid-sized public university. The case study consists of interviews with pregnant and parenting students, nonpregnant and parenting students, faculty, staff, and key informants from university across the nation that have implemented family-friendly programs for student populations. In addition to the interviews, we also examined public documents pertaining to key family-friendly issues and policies on campus.

Two articles came from this study. The first provides findings on the needs and lack of available resources as described by the student parents. The second examines the role of organizational culture when advocating for the population.