Dr. Shannon N. Fanning
Shannon is an assistant professor in the professional communications department at Farmingdale State College. Her research focuses on rhetoric and technical communication, particularly their use in communicating health information and in constructing complex identities like “academic mom.” Her previous work has examined the rhetorical uses of figure captions, the visuals used in the reporting of Zika virus, and issues of representation in postpartum depression support groups.
Dr. Jo Anne Durovich, PhD, LMSW
Jo Anne is a licensed social worker and Associate Professor, Department Chair and Program Director at St. Joseph’s College in New York. Dr. Durovich has been honored by the Long Island Business Institute as a “40 Under 40” distinguished business professional for her leadership and mentoring in the non-profit sector and by the Long Island Business News as a featured faculty person in “Who’s Who in Education”. She has also been the recipient of the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless “Key of Excellence Award” for her contributions to the homeless service community. Dr. Durovich’s professional interests focus on poverty and homelessness, program development in academic and non-profit settings, program evaluation, leadership and program innovation with a specific focus on increasing access to higher education for underserved students, with specific emphasis on first generation students and mothers.
During the COVID-19 crisis, mothers have been asked to stretch themselves further than ever, with many of us taking on all or most of our household’s childcare and children’s virtual learning on top of our already demanding work commitments. While this dilemma is not unique to academic mothers, it has amplified issues of caregiving labor and the need for numerous types of support for those of us who identify as academic mothers. Online communities offer opportunities to support academic mothers who often go unrecognized and underrepresented elsewhere in the academy. We propose that these groups, while well meaning, may misrepresent and/or limit the complex identity of “academic mother.” By examining how these groups construct these identities, we identify several themes around which we are able to scaffold recommendations for increased inclusivity both in online support groups and in the academy more broadly.