women managers

Sat Jan 20 11:37:52 EST 1996

In response to Marguerite Evans query about women 

    I have been a professor at a university for 19 years.  I oversee 
my research group in the only style in which I would feel 
comfortable: I play the role of scientific "mother" to my scientific 
"offspring", respecting them as a whole person and helping them to 
grow and mature until them are ready to leave "home" and go off into 
the world.  I tell my students at the outset that they should feel 
free to come to me to talk about whatever problems they may be 
having, personal as well as scientific since an unhappy person can 
not learn and work well.  My research group becomes a "family" in 
which people share their personal and scientific successes and 
failures with the whole group and frequently get together for social 
and recreational purposes.  I strongly believe that people work 
better, both individually and as a group, when they respect and enjoy 
being with their co-workers. (Note: I came-of-age in the "radical" 
'60s.)  I would be very unhappy managing my research group as an 
impersonal dictator, telling people what they had to do and not 
caring about other aspects of their lives that might affect their 
ability to function well in their work environment.  When I advise 
first year graduate students on how to choose a major professor, I 
tell them that professors have many different styles of how they 
train students; each students needs to determine which style best 
meets their own needs.

    Janet Mertz
    Professor of Oncology
    University of Wisconsin-Madison

More information about the Womenbio mailing list