Survey of Doctoral Students on Career, Family, and Life Plans

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A. Educational Status and Demography

1.

Which of the following describes most closely the field of your current doctoral degree program (e.g. Mathematics)?

If "other," please specify.

2.

For each of the following educational events (if applicable), please select the month from the dropdown list and type in the year that the event occurred.

Educational events

Month of event?

Year of event?
(e.g. 1999)

Date you were awarded your most recent Bachelor's degree (or equivalent degree)

Date you first enrolled in your current doctoral degree program

Date you advanced to candidacy in your current doctoral degree program (if relevant)

Date you anticipate completing your current doctoral degree program

3.

Overall, how satisfied are you with each of the following?

Very satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Not too satisfied

Not at all satisfied

Not applicable

a.

Quality of your degree program

b.

Interaction with faculty

c.

Interaction with primary faculty advisor

d.

Interaction with fellow doctoral students

e.

Personal progress toward doctoral degree

f.

Personal progress toward career goals

g.

Departmental/unit support for career-life balance

h.

Time for self (e.g. recreation, relaxation, health)

i.

Family situation with spouse/partner (if any)

j.

Family situation with children (if any)

k.

Overall career and life situation

l.

Other, please specify

4.

In the past year, what is the average number of hours per week you have spent on each of the following activities? There are 168 hours in a week -- rough estimates are fine.

 

Weekly Activities

Average hours per week?

a.

Education degree program (e.g. researching and writing papers for courses, attending classes, studying for prelims, working on dissertation, conducting experiments as part of your degree program, writing articles for publication)

b.

Employment (e.g. teaching, research assistantship, other paid work)

c.

Housework and home maintenance ( e.g. shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills)

d.

Caregiving (e.g. meeting the needs of young children, teenagers, spouse/partner, elders, friends, other family members)

5.

What is your gender?

Male

Female

6.

How would you describe your sexual orientation?

Heterosexual

Gay, Lesbian

Bisexual

Other, please specify

7.

How would you describe your race or ethnicity? Check all that apply.

White

Black or African American

Mexican American

Hispanic or Latino/a

Asian American or Pacific Islander

American Indian or Alaskan Native

Other, please specify

8.

What is your current citizenship status?

U.S. Citizen

Permanent Resident

Non-Resident

9.

What month and year were you born?

Birth month?

Birth year?
(e.g. 1986))

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B. Life/Family Situation and Plans

10.

What is your current marital or relationship status?

Married

Partnered

Widowed

Divorced/Separated

Never Married/Partnered

If you marked "never married/partnered," please click here to skip to question 14.

11.

For each of the following life events, please select the month from the dropdown list and type in the year that the event occurred.

Life events

Month of event?

Year of event?
(e.g. 1981)

Date most recently married/partnered

Date most recently divorced/separated from a spouse/partner (if applicable)

If you marked "widowed" or "divorced/separated" in response to question 10, please click here to skip to question 14.

12.

What is your spouse/partner's current employment/educational status? Check all that apply.

Employed full time

Employed part time

Unemployed

Enrolled as a doctoral student

Enrolled as a professional or master's degree student

Enrolled as an undegraduate

Other, please specify

13.

Which of the following best describes your spouse/partner's current occupation (if currently employed) or longer-term career goal (if enrolled in a degree program)?

If you marked "other" please specify.

14.

As an adult, have you ever had substantial responsibility for raising one or more children under age 18?

Yes

No

If you answered "No" to Question 14, please click here to skip to Question 16.

15.

For each child for whom you have had substantial responsibility for parenting, please specify the month and year of the child's birth or adoption/foster placement with you. For stepchildren, please specify the month and year when your parenting responsibilities began. (If you have parented more than four children, please enter information for the four youngest children only.)

Birth/arrival events

Month of event?

Year of event?
(e.g. 1981)

Relationship of child to you1

Date of birth/arrival of youngest child

Date of birth/arrival of 2nd youngest child (if applicable)

Date of birth/arrival of 3rd youngest child (if applicable)

Date of birth/arrival of 4th youngest child (if applicable)

1If you marked "other" relationship of child to you, please describe the relationship(s) here:

16.

Whether or not you currently have children, do you expect to have or adopt (any or more) children in the future?

Yes

No

Uncertain or don't know

If you do not expect to have or adopt any (more) children in the future or are uncertain, please click here to skip to Question 22.

17.

If you answered "Yes" to Question 16, how many (more) children do you expect to have or adopt (if you currently have children, please do not count them in this number)?

One

Two

Three

Four

Five or more

18.

Given your current educational, career, and life situation and desire to have or adopt one or more children in the future, when do you think is the optimal time to start?

Less than 1 year from now

5 to 6 years from now

14 to 16 years from now

1 to 2 years from now

6 to 8 years from now

16 to 20 years from now

2 to 3 years from now

8 to 10 years from now

20 or more years from now

3 to 4 years from now

10 to 12 years from now

4 to 5 years from now

12 to 14 years from now

19.

Would you consider having or adopting any (more) children as a doctoral student?

No

Yes, but I am not certain that I will

Yes, and I am certain that I will

If you are certain you will have or adopt any (more) children as a doctoral student, please click here to skip to Question 23.

20.

If you have doubts about, or would not consider having or adopting, any (more) children as a doctoral student, how important are each of the following factors in your decision?

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

a.

Uncertain current employment situation

b.

Uncertain future employment situation

c.

Current time demands of degree program/employment

d.

Anticipated time demands of future degree program/career

e.

Current level of personal/household income

f.

Anticipated future level of personal/household income

g.

Concerns regarding degree progress

h.

Concerns regarding future career advancement/success

i.

Concerns that your degree program and caregiving responsibilities are incompatible

j.

Concerns that my advisor would take my work less seriously or think I lack commitment

k.

Concerns that other faculty/scholars would take my work less seriously or think I lack commitment

l.

Concerns that peers/colleagues would take my work less seriously or think I lack commitment

m.

Concerns that future potential employers might take my work less seriously or think I lack commitment

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

n.

Time for leisure or social activities

o.

Concerns about affordability/availability of quality child care/schooling

p.

Concerns about affordability/availability of quality housing

q.

Concerns about affordability/availability of health insurance for dependents

r.

Concerns about availability of pregnancy leave and/or health insurance during pregnancy

s.

Current spouse/partner does not want a(nother) child at this time (if currently married/partnered)

t.

Effects of a(nother) child on my marriage/relationship (if currently married/partnered)

u.

Uncertainty about future spouse/partner (if not currently married/partnered)

v.

Medical or health reasons (including age)

w.

Stress and worry of raising children as a doctoral student

x.

Limited interest in becoming a parent as a doctoral student

y.

Other, please specify

Very certain

Somewhat certain

Not too certain

Not at all certain

21.

How certain are you that you will have or adopt any (more) children in the future?

If you answered "Very certain" to question 21, please click here to skip to Question 23.

22.

If you are not certain about, or do not expect to have or adopt, any (more) children in the future, how important are each of the following factors in your decision?

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

a.

Uncertain employment situation

b.

Anticipated time demands of future career

c.

Anticipated future level of household income

d.

Concerns regarding career advancement/success

e.

Concerns that future professional demands and caregiving responsibilities are incompatible

f.

Concerns that colleagues would take my work less seriously or think I lack commitment to the profession

g.

Time for leisure or social activities

h.

Concerns about affordability/availability of quality child care/schooling

i.

Concerns about affordability/availability of quality housing

j.

Concerns about affordability/availability of health insurance for dependents

k.

Concerns about availability of pregnancy leave and/or health insurance during pregnancy

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

l.

Satisfied with current size of family (if relevant)

m.

Current spouse/partner does not want (a/another) child (if currently married/partnered)

n.

Effects of (a/another) child on my marriage/relationship (if currently married/partnered)

o.

Uncertainty about future spouse/partner (if not currently married/partnered)

p.

Medical or health reasons (including age)

q.

Stress and worry of raising children today

r.

Limited interest in becoming a parent

s.

Other, please specify

23.

If you have any additional comments about future familial plans, please write them here:

24.

Since you first enrolled in your current doctoral program, have you ever had substantial responsibility for raising one or more children under age 18?

Yes

No

If you answered "No" to Question 24, please click here to skip to Section D.

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C. Doctoral Student Parents

25.

The following statements describe situations or decisions often faced by doctoral student parents. Please indicate whether the statement accurately describes your past or present situation.

Yes

No

Partially accurate

Not sure

Not applicable

a.

I have slowed down or made sacrifices in my educational/career progress in order to be a good parent.

b.

My daily schedule is flexible, which is helpful in raising children.

c.

I missed some of my child's important events, because I did not want to appear uncommitted to my program/work.

d.

My educational/career timing has meshed well with my family timing.

e.

I began working (e.g. studying, working on my dissertation, lab work, or paid teaching or research work) sooner than I would have liked after having or adopting a child because I wanted to be taken seriously as an academic.

f.

I tried to time new children to fit in with my education/career progression.

g.

My department has been supportive of my need to balance work and family life.

h.

My advisor has been supportive of my need to balance work and family life.

i.

My fellow doctoral students has been supportive of my need to balance work and family life.

j.

I have not brought my child(ren) to my department because I worry that colleagues, faculty or other members of the department would be bothered.

26.

Doctoral students sometimes find that their responsibilities as parents conflict with their degree program or work obligations. How much tension or stress, if any, have you experienced in your parenting as a result of demands placed on you by any of the following types of work/educational activities?

A great deal

Some

A little

None

Not applicable

a.

Conducting time-sensitive laboratory experiments

b.

Doing fieldwork or field research away from home

c.

Attending conferences or giving conference papers

d.

Research and writing activities that are part of my degree program (e.g. dissertation, articles, or proposals)

e.

Research and writing activities that are part of my paid work (e.g. work as a doctoral student researcher for a faculty PI)

f.

Rehearsing or performing

g.

Meeting teaching obligations

h.

Meeting deadlines for grants/fellowships

i.

Attending seminars, colloquia, departmental meetings

j.

Preparing for and meeting with advisor (e.g. to review research/dissertation progress)

k.

Other, please specify

27.

Since you first enrolled in your current doctoral program, have you or your spouse/partner given birth to or adopted a child for whom you were responsible for parenting (in part or full)?

Yes

No

If you answered "No" to Question 27, please click here to skip to Question 31.

28.

What was your funding/employment situation at the birth/adoption event? (If there has been more than one birth/adoption event since you began your current doctoral program, please answer regarding the most recent birth/adoption event.)

On a university or departmental fellowship

On an external fellowship (e.g. NIH, NSF, or private foundation fellowship)

Working as teaching assistant

Working as a research assistant

No fellowship and not employed

Other, please specify

If you were not on external fellowship or working as a paid researcher, please click here to skip to Question 30.

29.

If you were on an external fellowship or working as a paid researcher at the time of the most recent birth/adoption event, was your fellowship/position paid partially or fully by grants or contracts from any of the following federal agencies or private foundations? (Please check all that apply.)

National Institute of Health (NIH)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Defense Department

Energy Department

Health and Human Services (HHS)

NASA

Agricultural Department (USDA)

Environmental Protection Agency

Department of Education

Woodrow Wilson

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Other source (please specify)

30.

Which (if any) of the following family accommodations did you receive before or after the most recent birth/adoption event, and what was the duration of accommodation?

Family Accommodation

Received this type of accommodation?

Duration (e.g. 7 days, 1 month, 6 weeks, 1 semester, 2 quarters, 1 year)

Yes

No

Not relevant (e.g. not employed)

Unpaid leave

Paid leave

New parent grant (e.g. a grant to help offset loss of funding or productivity due to birth/adoption event)

Extension of deadline to complete course requirements (e.g. term paper)

Extension of deadline to complete examinations (e.g. preliminary or qualifying)

Extension of deadline to complete dissertation proposal

Extension of deadline to complete dissertation

Extension of deadline to defend dissertation

Extension of deadline to complete paid research activities (e.g. research for faculty PIs)

31.

Knowing what you know today, what advice would you give to first-time doctoral student parents about balancing work and family responsibilities?

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D. Career Plans

32.

When you began your current doctoral degree program, what was your primary career goal (after completion of Ph.D. and any additional training, e.g. a postdoctoral appointment)?

Professor (emphasis on research)

Professor (emphasis on teaching)

Researcher in industry

Researcher at government agency or national lab (e.g. NIH, LBNL)

Researcher (not faculty) in academia

Policy-maker/administrator/manager in industry

Policy-maker/administrator/manager in government agency

Policy/administrator/manager in academia

Consultant

Journalism/writing

Start your own company

Other, please specify

33.

What is your primary career goal now?

Professor (emphasis on research)

Professor (emphasis on teaching)

Researcher in industry

Researcher at government agency or national lab (e.g. NIH, LBNL)

Researcher (not faculty) in academia

Policy-maker/administrator/manager in industry

Policy-maker/administrator/manager in government agency

Policy/administrator/manager in academia

Consultant

Journalism/writing

Start your own company

Other, please specify

34.

Since you began your doctoral degree program, have you changed or considered changing your career goal?

Yes

No

If you answered "No" to Question 34, please click here to skip to Question 37.

35.

If you have changed or considered changing your career goal from when you began your current doctoral degree program to the present time, how important are each of the following factors in affecting your choices?

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

a.

Monetary compensation (e.g. salary, benefits, etc.)

b.

Job security

c.

Career advancement possibilities

d.

Negative experience as a doctoral student (e.g. regarding academia, industry, national lab, etc.)

e.

Positive experience as a doctoral student (e.g. regarding academia, industry, national lab, etc.)

f.

Research/professional activities too time consuming

g.

Lack of encouragement/lack of mentor (e.g. dissertation advisor or others did not encourage your initial career goals)

h.

Encouragement to pursue a new career goal (e.g. by dissertation advisor, mentor, or someone else)

i.

Other career interests (e.g. career interests outside of current field of study)

j.

Other life interests (e.g. interests outside of education/career)

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

k.

Issues related to spouse/partner or desire to marry/become partnered (e.g. spousal employment or similar familial concerns)

l.

Issues related to children (e.g. current caregiving responsibilities or desire to have children)

m.

Other familial-related concerns (e.g. current or anticipated eldercare responsibilities or similar familial concerns)

n.

Geographic location (e.g. to be near family, location preference)

o.

Bad job market (e.g. in academia, industry, government)

p.

Good job market (e.g. in academia, industry, government)

q.

Changing intellectual interests

r.

Feelings of isolation or alienation as a doctoral student

s.

Feelings of inclusion and/or importance of work as a doctoral student

t.

Other, please specify

36.

If you have changed your career goal since you began your current doctoral degree program, please explain in greater detail why you changed your career goal:

Very concerned

Somewhat concerned

Not too concerned

Not at all concerned

Not applicable

37.

As you think about your future career plans, how concerned are you about the family friendliness of possible career paths?

38.

As you think about possible future career paths and family issues, how family friendly do you imagine each of the following job types to be?

Very family friendly

Somewhat family friendly

Not too family friendly

Not at all family friendly

a.

Tenure-track faculty careers at research-intensive universities (e.g. major research universities)

b.

Tenure-track faculty careers at teaching-intensive colleges or universities (e.g. small colleges or teaching focused universities)

c.

Non-tenure track faculty careers

d.

Research careers at research-intensive universities

e.

Research careers outside academia

f.

Policy or managerial careers inside academia

g.

Policy or managerial careers outside academia

h.

Other, please specify

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E. Final Questions

39.

Thinking about your degree program and your department/unit, how common is it for each of the following groups to have children?

Very common

Somewhat common

Not too common

Not at all common

Do not know

a.

Male faculty

b.

Female faculty

c.

Male doctoral students

d.

Female doctoral students

e.

Male postdoctoral fellows or other paid researchers (if applicable)

f.

Female postdoctoral fellows or other paid researchers (if applicable)

g.

Departmental/unit staff

40.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about your career and life situation?

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