Penn State Women
Dean, College of Nursing
Obstacles or challenges
Early in my doctoral program, I had just had my first child, and was in a course on the history of education. My adviser did not think my first paper was very scholarly. He wrote me a letter saying that I could be either a mother or a doctoral student. He didn't believe I could do both. After I spent a little time feeling hurt, I decided that I could not let him be right. I worked hard to show that I could excel in his course even as a new mom. While I was successful in that course and in my program of study, I am not sure I had a very good work-life balance in the early phases of my career. I believe the landscape has changed for women with children, but it is still a challenge that we all face to some degree.
How she expanded her sphere
As a dean, you have formal authority by virtue of the position you occupy. But that formal authority evaporates if you don't continue to earn the respect and regard of the people with whom you work. One of the strategies I have used is to get involved in a lot of activities where people can appreciate what qualities I bring to the table.