For the last three years, we have been on the CCCC Program and have come together for lively hour-long meetings brimming with conversation, bonding, and activism. This website, the idea of publishing stories like this one, and our mentorship programs have all emerged from those meetings. For most of us, being able to have a space where we can freely discuss the complications and enjoyment that come with juggling motherhood and academia is a new and incredibly valuable experience.
This year’s meeting brought two exciting takeaways. The first one was the possibility of working on an edited collection that explores issues we have been discussing and working through since our inception. While there was much enthusiasm about the idea, we still have no clear editor—or even better co-editors—for the project. If you’re interested in leading the way with this edited collection, please let my co-chair Courtney Weber and me know and we’ll provide as much support as we can, not only through publication advice but with statistics about our organization that can be used on the book proposal. One good way to start thinking about the collection is to take into account what has already been published on the topic. Our constantly growing publication list should be a good place to start. If you have published or read something that we should mention there, please contact us.
Another takeaway that resulted from the meeting is that our members would like to get a better sense of what the laws are when it comes to mothers in academia. Because different departments, different universities, and different states take their own approach to maternity leave and other parenting-related situations, it is hard to figure out what applies to everyone besides the 12-week unpaid leave protection that the US provides to all working mothers. Getting this information together is an ongoing project for our organization. Any volunteers in helping untangle this legislative mess are much needed and very welcome. We may even be able to turn it into a chapter or two for our hopefully soon-to-be-a-reality edited collection.
We have yet to have any volunteers for running our social media and perhaps we don’t need our own account as long as those of us who use social media use the organization’s hashtag #RhetCompMothers. Through the hashtag, we’ll be able to communicate with each other and provide more visibility for our work.
We are also about to inaugurate our member profiles for the website. We will send information on how to create yours through our listserv. Providing visitors with a sense of who we are will showcase the variety of experiences and backgrounds that have joined together under this organization. It will also help you get more visibility to your scholarship and your creative, intellectual, and pedagogical work. We look forward to having a robust membership page.
As you can see from our inaugural feature story written by Courtney about Kate Vieira’s award-winning article “Fieldwork with a Five-Year-Old: A Summative Report,” our aim is to create thoughtful and compelling content about our members and the work they’re doing that speaks to our organization’s goals. We would also like to have interviews and advice pieces on a variety of subjects related to motherhood and academia. If you would like us to feature your work or if you would like to write a piece for us, please contact us.
As we get ready for the academic year to begin, we look forward to more fruitful conversations on our listserv and to hearing about your experiences and featuring your work.