Category Archives: Uncategorized

Michigan Tech Faculty Publishes Work-life Piece

Audrey Mayer headshot 2One of our own faculty here at Michigan Tech has published a piece titled, A Scientist on Any Schedule. Dr. Audrey Mayer’s piece was published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s journal, Science,  on January 27, 2017. Dr. Mayer discusses the challenges of single parenting as a scientist, as well as the stages of effective work-life blending she moved through both in her career and her home lives.

She writes, “Like many others, I complete a good deal of my work while not ‘at work,’ especially when deadlines are looming or inspiration calls. I revise manuscripts during bath time, read papers at the gym, and grade exams at my son’s hockey practice. Occasionally I resent this multitasking, but I remind myself of its necessity during these childrearing years, which are just a short period over the long course of my career.”

We encourage you to read Dr. Mayer’s piece to see how one scientist manages to be present for her family, herself, and her career.


WorkLife Connections Offers Second Financial Wellness Lunch and Learn

Join us for WorkLife Connection’s second Financial Wellness Lunch and Learn from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 2) in MUB Alumni Lounge B. Chris Riesgraf, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, will present on the “Foundations of Investing.”

Learn about the importance of developing an investment strategy, the importance of investing early and how to meet your financial goals through investments. If you are new to investing, considering beginning investing or would like to discuss new strategies for your current investments, you’ll find this Lunch and Learn very informative.

Click HERE to RSVP. Feel free to bring your lunch; beverages will be provided.

“Oh No…It’s a Snow Day!” Lunch & Learn

Join us Wednesday, December 9, from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM  in the Memorial Union Ballroom A1 for a panel discussion and idea sharing Lunch and Learn event: “Oh No…It’s a Snow Day!”

Despite this year’s mild weather, the Keweenaw is notorious for receiving large amounts of snow and experiencing below freezing temperatures. Snow day closures of the local school systems are pretty much a given, and it can be very challenging to figure out what to do at the last minute.

Bring your lunch to the “Oh No…It’s a Snow Day!” lunch and learn to hear from Eva Hatfield, Director of Little Huskies, and Jada Gullstrand, Director of Recreation, Programming, and Development at the SDC. Eva and Jada will discuss some options and ideas on how to manage this challenge. The group will spend time sharing ideas for building a local network for childcare options, and learning more about local resources.

Faculty, staff, and students—especially those who are new to Michigan Tech—are encouraged to attend, whatever the age of your children.

Light refreshments will be available; participating employees will earn 500 HuskyPaw points for attending.


The WorkLife Challenges of Higher Ed Community Members

One of my co-workers and I recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 2015 Conference for College and University Work-Life-Family Association in Portland, Oregon from May 6-8. First of all: what a beautiful city! This was my first visit to the Pacific Northwest, and flying in above the clouds and over the greenery and mountaintops certainly didn’t disappoint.

More importantly, we were able to meet with many other dedicated professionals who are seeking to support their colleagues—both staff and faculty—in creating ways to better manage our work-life integration. I learned that, in many ways, Michigan Tech isn’t all that unique in the challenges we face with regard to work-life quality. While Michigan Tech is in a rather rural location and can feel pretty isolated, we do have a strong and supportive community to reach out to. Like those at other institutions, many of us at Michigan struggle to find quality, affordable child care, including the challenge of finding such care on short notice when there are snow days or our kids are sick. Many of us also face challenges of caring for aging relatives, especially at a distance. So many in the higher education community move away from family in pursuit of their careers, but those family obligations and ties remain, all with the added challenge of fulfilling our familial responsibilities from far away.

Caregiver challenges notwithstanding, however, one of the greatest gaps in the lives of those of us working in higher education is the need to find time to take care of ourselves. This hit home to me while on the flight returning from Portland. During the standard safety talk given by the flight attendant, we were told to make sure to get our own oxygen masks on first before helping anyone else around us, including children. Why? Because if we don’t take care of ourselves first, we won’t be in any shape to help those around us.

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve listened to (and tuned out) this talk on the many flights I’ve been on, but perhaps it was because I was coming home from a conference where self-care was emphasized that it finally, truly hit home. As a mother of three boys of a wide age range (ages 21 down to one year old), it’s easy for me to skip my own care when I get home from work. The youngest two depend on me to feed them and ensure their health, the oldest depends on me as he moves into adulthood and navigates college experiences. When would I have time to take care of myself?

I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t quite figured that one out yet, but I’m thrilled that Michigan Tech has renewed its commitment to work-life programming to support its employees and students. If you read through our newly-updated Strategic Plan, we even state that one of the University’s strategic goals is to “enhance work-life blending for all members of our community” (GOAL 1.2). I look forward to finding ways to help make this happen.


How’s your work-life blending going?

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day responsibilities (both work and home), and forget to take a quick breather for ourselves. I know I often feel as if I am running from task-to-task and place-to-place trying to meet obligations, and feeling as if I am on auto-pilot.

The WorkLife Programming Advisory Committee would like to hear from you—When it comes to blending work and home lives, what are your concerns? challenges? interests?

To make it easier for you, we’ve set up a simple survey. We are asking you to login to the survey so only Michigan Tech community members can take the survey, however we are not collecting your username, so your responses are entirely anonymous. You can also login to change your responses later, if you’d like. The survey will be available until

We’d appreciate it if you can take a few moments (and a breather!) to take the survey and let us know what’s important to you. Thank you!