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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


This qualitative phenomenological study looked at how female faculty in higher education who teach high-stakes courses may experience a role of academic momism (AM) and how they negotiate their roles and responses within a patriarchal system. Gender bias and prescriptive stereotyping of women as communal may lead female STEM instructors to be perceived more as “academic mothers” (Bernard, 1964) rather than respected academicians. Within higher education institutions, students often perceive their female professors as more concerned about their emotional well-being, nurturing, service oriented, and less academic when compared to male faculty members. The demanding nature of high-stakes courses in STEM-oriented programs within higher education can increase student demands. This has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The culminations of these oppressive factors may play a role in female STEM faculty’s career path, thus affecting their presence in academia. Interviews were conducted with 15 female participants teaching at community, state, and private colleges in Northeast metropolitan and suburban areas. Themes included systemic stereotyping, teacher-student interactions, and instructor self-actualization. A notable finding included the lack of sisterhood between female faculty members within the same department and with those who hold a higher position. This study adds important findings of female STEM faculty experiences of student–teacher relationships, gender bias, role expectations, the changes brought about due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more specifically, their experiences of AM.

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