Dr Kenny Wood: Lecturer

For over four years I have adapted my teaching and research hours because I am a single parent for my two young daughters. The department have been fully supportive of the steps that I have taken. The important thing I would advise is to make sure you can get your core work done - teaching, administrative duties, supervision of students. Explain your domestic situation to those that need to know and be sure to be available by email for any questions during normal office hours when you are caring for your children. In my case, I have been able to schedule most of my teaching to be in the mornings. My departmental administration duties are such that they can be done on-line, and when face-to-face meetings are needed I again try to schedule them to be in the morning. I usually leave the office around 3pm so that I can be home for my daughters returning from school, dinner time, and after school activities. During my time in the office I will schedule all meetings with research students, postdocs, and other admin duties. I generally leave things that can be done on-line from home for when I am at home. As my girls have grown older they do not require as much attention from dad after school and when they are settled down to work on homework or are playing then I can get on with some work. It is not at the same productivity level, but work can be done. It is important to set goals to be lower during these times.

I found it was really helpful to sit down with one or two colleagues at the start of each academic year (or semester) and carefully go through what had to be done for my job (teaching, labs, tutorials, admin duties) and set realistic goals and priorities for personal research. Often my colleagues would have very good advice on how small tweaks could result in greater productivity.

Research travel is severely curtailed, but I have seen this as an opportunity for my students and postdocs to travel to conferences that I would normally have attended. This still allows work to be publicised and gives good exposure and opportunity for the students and postdocs. I have also invited colleagues from other institutions to come here rather than me traveling. Organising conferences, meetings, summer schools at my own institution is another thing I have done - if you can’t travel, then bring people to see you.

Last modified: Wed Nov 2 18:16:30 GMT 2016