Announcement of Ed.D. Dissertation Proposal Defense Nicole Francis Baron: “Traumatic Transitions: A Qualitative Study of Maternity Leave Experiences of Women Administrators at Large Research Institution”
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this research is to understand the experiences of women administrators at a large public research institution in the Northeast with regard to the transitions surrounding their maternity leave. While there are studies that focus on women faculty members, research on maternity leave among women administrators, who represent a significant portion of employees in higher education, is lacking. This study aims to fill that gap by exploring the transition from work to maternity leave and the return to work from maternity leave, as well as identifying ways in which the university and supervisors can better support women administrators during this time. The study will employ a qualitative approach, with data collected through in-depth interviews with a purposeful sample of women administrators who have given birth biologically or participated in an adoption process. The research questions focus on how women administrators navigate the transition to maternity leave, their experiences of returning to work, and how the women feel that the university and supervisors can provide better support during this time. Previous research in the field of student affairs has identified the need for policies that are more supportive of mothers in the field, as well as the importance of maintaining a balance between professional and personal roles. This study seeks to extend this research to the broader population of women administrators in higher education, and to provide practical advice and outcomes for colleagues and supervisors. The findings of this study will have important implications for institutions of higher education, particularly in terms of supporting women administrators during maternity leave. By recognizing and embracing the multiple identities of their employees, and providing better support during this time, institutions can create a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture for women administrators. Ultimately, this study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the experiences of women administrators during maternity leave, and to provide practical advice and outcomes for colleagues, supervisors, and human resources departments, to better support women administrators during this time.