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Occasional Paper Series

Occasional Paper Series, No. 4

Balancing Life and Work: Three Perspectives from Tenured Faculty at the University of Virginia


The questions and concerns of a group of faculty in the University Teaching Fellows Program prompted this Occasional Paper, the fourth from the University of Virginia Teaching Resource Center. These assistant professor Fellows were all struggling to balance their responsibilities toward their families with demands and desires related to their academic careers. Because Angeline Lillard was one of the most insightful and practical of the panelists invited to address this issue, we asked her to draft her remarks into the essay that concludes this publication.

But we wanted to include more perspectives and so invited Kirk Martini and Cristina Della Coletta to offer their ideas. They happily took different tacks and so offer additional viewpoints and approaches. Our authors were all granted tenure during the period in which they were raising young children (brief bios appear after the essays). But, of course, balancing life and work is in fact so highly personal— involving the peculiarities of each person’s family circumstances, stage of professional development, type of family, and so on—that generalizing can be difficult. Still we expect that the strategies recommended in these essays will also be useful to readers who have different personal or family concerns, including those with elderly parents or other family members who need special assistance, single people, people whose partners live elsewhere, or colleagues whose personal lives necessitate their living some distance from the University.

We publish these essays in the hope of helping faculty members, particularly those new to the profession, develop techniques and strategies that will help them, in their situations, have successful, happy careers and personal lives.

Marva Barnett
Director and Professor
Teaching Resource Center
December, 2005

©2006, by the Teaching Resource Center, University of Virginia,
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