Women, parents and early-career faculty in ecology most impacted by COVID‐19
by Mary Guiden, University of Colorado
In April 2020, Lise Aubry learned that the daycare her children attended in Fort Collins would be closed for several weeks. Aubry, an assistant professor in the Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Department at Colorado State University, and her husband, Professor Dave Koons, began to juggle childcare at home for their two kids – ages 4 months and 4 years old – and work responsibilities.
Aubry said she was happy after a successful day early on of balancing these duties, having completed at least six hours of work.
“Reflecting on the day, I felt pretty good,” said Aubry, also an instructor for the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at CSU. “But I realized there might be other people – single parents, young faculty starting out – in the university setting who were really struggling.”
Aubry decided to conduct a survey of similar faculty across the United States to gauge how they’ve been impacted by COVID-19. She teamed up with Professor Zhao Ma from Purdue University and Theresa Laverty, postdoctoral fellow at CSU, as both have experience with designing surveys.
The results, “Impacts of COVID‐19 on ecology and evolutionary biology faculty in the United States,” were recently published in Ecological Applications, a journal from the Ecological Society of America.
Among the findings, the team said that the majority of more than 600 faculty who responded to the survey were negatively impacted on personal and professional levels, and struggling to find a healthy work-life balance.
Read the Ecological Applications paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eap.2265