I joined the Department of Chemical Engineering as a lecturer in 1991. During my role, I have taken maternity leave twice, and undertaken part-time working. I made the decision to request part-time working due to the fact that the normal work patterns of academics at the time were incompatible with being responsible for children and having a husband who travelled and worked away for much of the time. Long and irregular hours were very much the expectation of the time.
I experienced no resistance to my request and, indeed, have always found the Department of Chemical Engineering and all its subsequent successors leading to the present School of Engineering to be very supportive of allowing part-time work.
I would recommend part-time work as a means to balance home-work stresses. In the present climate with more scope to accept career paths which are not the former standard pattern of progression through research, it should not constrain promotion prospects, with good line management.
Dr Jennifer Skilling, Senior Lecturer, Chemical Engineering (School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh)