Power Women: Stories of Motherhood, Faith, and the Academy, Edited by Nancy Wang Yuen and Deshonna Collier-Goubil
Power Women
  • Length: 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: October 05, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5306
  • ISBN: 9780830853069

*affiliate partner

IVP Readers' Choice Award

"The dominant narrative we hear as professor mothers is that motherhood and academia are incompatible."

Two challenging vocations, each filled with complexities and daily ups and downs. Yet more and more women are answering the call to both the academy and motherhood. A growing body of literature addresses parent-professors, but what about the particular needs of Christian women seeking to navigate both callings while living out their faith?

With Power Women, Nancy Wang Yuen and Deshonna Collier-Goubil have curated a unique resource by and for Christian academic mothers. This collection of essays includes the voices of women of different backgrounds, academic disciplines, institutions, and stages of parenting and career. Together contributors provide wisdom, encouragement, and solidarity for women who share a similar vocational journey. Combining research with personal stories, they address topics such as these:

  • how parenting and teaching can be mutually enriching
  • managing ambition, identity, and time
  • addressing misconceptions about motherhood in the academy, church, and society
  • navigating gender roles in marriage
  • taking maternity leave
  • flourishing as an adjunct professor
  • mentoring professor moms
  • resisting imposter syndrome by finding rest in God

There is no magic formula, but there are many paths to thriving in the call to motherhood and the academy. Christian academic moms will find in this book honest yet uplifting reminders that they are not alone. In addition, administrators, family members, and friends will grow in understanding and appreciation of the power women in their lives.

"This book offers stories, observations, and insights into one of the most important conversations for men and women faculty of faith in the academy. How do we fulfill God's call to our first promises—to God, our spouses, and our children? How do we fulfill God's call to be good stewards of our gifts and talents? How do we listen intently to when we should step in and step out of certain rhythms of our lives? What happens when the unexpected happens? In sharing what worked and what didn't, where we failed and where we succeeded, we allow this generation and future generations to have standing stones to guide them. When all is said and done, what we hope God will say is, 'Well done good and faithful servant.' And if said to us, frail humans, it will be through a lens of grace by the Author and Creator of grace. We all hope that we gave or are giving our lives up to God as an offering. And the stories in this book reflect those offerings today."

Shirley Hoogstra, president, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, from the foreword

"In Power Women you will discover real-life stories and find resonances in the wisdom of professor mothers who juggle multiple roles, learn to navigate in academia and family at the same time, and strive to be faithful to God's call along the way. The journeys of these mothers will empower both men and women to pursue our dreams, stay resilient amid challenges, and inspire others to do so."

Chloe T. Sun, academic dean and professor of Old Testament at Logos Evangelical Seminary, California

"Refreshingly honest, Power Women is an invaluable resource for women of the Christian faith who are scholar mothers and for those who hope to support them well. While candid, these essays remain hopeful in their proposals for moving forward personally, spiritually, and structurally. They insightfully explore and interrogate the tensions between being an active researcher and educator alongside being an active and present mother. The diversity of cultural perspectives adds to the depth and beauty of the volume as a holistic approach to thriving as a scholar mom. As someone who regularly has conversations with women who want to pursue further scholarship but also want to be moms, this is an especially valuable resource. Family members, colleagues, and administrators will truly benefit from reading this as well."

Christa L. McKirland, lecturer in systematic theology at Carey Baptist College in Auckland, New Zealand, and founder and executive director of Logia International

"Motherhood for women in the academy comes with complexities and opportunities. This collection of essays by accomplished scholars and engaged mothers, shared from deep faith, diverse backgrounds, and varying stages, provides a realistic and hopeful resource for current and future professor mothers."

Deana L. Porterfield, president of Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary

"This book made me feel so seen. With wisdom and humility, these professor mothers offer practical guidance and support for working moms. While a lot of the advice is specific to moms in academia, all caregivers would benefit from reading these biblical reflections on motherhood as a spiritual practice."

Jane Hong, tenured historian and mom

"I appreciate this collection of diverse and compelling essays. They are written by women in different stages of their parenting and careers, yet they all have in common a deep and thoughtful understanding of how their Christian faith informs their work and lives as mothers, professors, ministers, and community members. In its Christian emphasis, it fills an important niche in the existing academic-mother literature. The book also provides many helpful and concrete examples for other 'power women' who feel that God has called them to academia but might wonder how such a calling might look or worry that they won't be able to succeed. The authors advise other women to respond with God. 'Always God.' And that is the best advice a Christian academic could receive."

Joanne Marshall, associate professor at Iowa State University and editor of the Work-Life Balance book series

"Like holy water for a parched soul, Power Women refreshes with a clear articulation of what had remained at the level of unspoken thoughts or ephemeral conversations. With this volume, a diverse set of voices speaks to the heart of what all Christian academic mothers hold: a deep sense of vocational calling both inside and outside the home as well as significant challenges to the flourishing of both vocations. Contemplation, conversation, and even institutional change will be the fruits of these faithfully honest words of power."

Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School

"Though powerfully centering the diverse voices of women in the academy, this book is for all of us who strive to pursue an undivided calling as parents and professors in Jesus' name. For me, it is a source of grace and learning."

Robert Chao Romero, associate professor of Chicana/o, Central American, and Asian American studies at UCLA and author of Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology, and Identity

"Finally! This is the book I have wanted and needed for more than a decade. Now academic mothers will have easier access to mentors who can help them navigate the challenges and joys of their multiple callings. These essays weave vulnerable personal narratives with sociological research on women's experiences in the academy. The result is a judgment-free zone that makes space for a wide variety of approaches to the intersection of family and academic life. Readers will not only discover that they are not alone, but they will also come away from this book with strategies for thriving in their homes and in their careers."

Carmen Joy Imes, associate professor of Old Testament at Biola University

"Too often, working moms feel the pressure to 'get it all done' and live up to unrealistic expectations. As I read this book, I felt an immediate sense of solidarity with those who hold scholarly work and motherhood in creative tension. Power Women does not offer a one-size-fits-all approach to surviving motherhood and the academy as people of faith. Instead, each contributor shares hard-earned, embodied wisdom of how she embraces her complex, God-given vocations. They do this not as martyrs or superheroes but as finite, faithful human beings. This book should be read by those in need of encouragement and those who seek to support the thriving of working mothers in the academy."

Janette H. Ok, associate professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Shirley Hoogstra
Introduction: Considering Motherhood and the Academy

Part 1: Navigating Academia
1. Divvying up Love: Scholarly Ambition and Motherhood as Spiritual Formation, Maria Su Wang, PhD
2. The Synergy of Lullaby and Syllabi, Stephanie Chan, PhD
3. (Mis)Perceptions of Maternity Leave in the Academy, Teri Clemons, SLPD
4. A Principled Discussion for Adjunct Professor Mothers, Yiesha Thompson, PhD

Part 2: Navigating Motherhood
5. The "Good" Mother, Christina Lee Kim, PhD
6. Recategorization: A Grace for Working Moms, Ji Y. Son, PhD
7. Imposter Blues and Finding Rest in God, Jean Neely, PhD

Part 3: Navigating Multiple Callings
8. Juggling Multiple Roles: Narrative of a Korean Pastor’s Wife, Mother, and Psychology Professor, Jenny H. Pak, PhD
9. Answering a Threefold Calling: Motherhood, the Academy, and the Pastorate, Jennifer Powell McNutt, PhD, FRHistS
10. Balancing University Teaching and Homeschooling, Yvana Uranga-Hernandez, PhD

Part 4: Navigating Support
11. It Takes a Village: Raising Children with Support, Deshonna Collier-Goubil, PhD and Nancy Wang Yuen, PhD
12. Navigating Marriage as the Breadwinner, Joy E. A. Qualls, PhD
13. Empowerment of Professor Moms through Mentorship, Doretha O'Quinn, PhD

Epilogue: Parting Advice
Appendix A: Institutional Support for Academic Mothers
Appendix B: Scenarios for Further Discussion About Being "Good Mothers"
Reflection and Discussion Questions
List of Contributors


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Author photo of Nancy Wang Yuen

Nancy Wang Yuen (PhD, University of California) is a sociologist, a pop culture expert, and the host of The Disrupters podcast. She is the author of Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism and serves as an associate professor of sociology at Biola University. She has appeared on PBS, NPR, MSNBC, CBS News, NBC News, BBC World, and Dr. Phil. She is a guest writer at CNN, Elle, Los Angeles Times, NBC, and Newsweek.

Author photo of Deshonna Collier-Goubil

Deshonna Collier-Goubil (PhD, Howard University) is the founding chair of the department of criminal justice and now serves as interim dean of the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences at Azusa Pacific University. She lives in Fontana, California.