The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on MotherScholars

A Comparative Case Study of United States and Australian Higher Education Women Faculty Role Strain


  • Amanda Pascale University of North Florida
  • Suzanne Ehrlich University of North Florida
  • Kristen Hicks-Roof University of North Florida



MotherScholar, COVID-19, Faculty, Higher Education, United States, Australia, Role Strain Theory, Case Study


This study examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the experiences of women faculty with children (i.e., MotherScholars) in the United States and Australia. Using interpretive comparative case study design, the researchers interviewed MotherScholars to identify common themes based on roles and responsibilities that emerged as a result of the pandemic-caused shift to remote academic demands. Three primary themes emerged including a) accumulative burdens, (b) rationalization, and (c) gendered expectations. These themes were explored through the lens of Goode’s (1960) role strain theory to examine the experiences of both groups of MotherScholars. Researchers found that for these MotherScholars the circumstances of the pandemic rendered many coping mechanisms previously utilized to manage role strain obsolete, which contributed to increased role strain from the conflict between the role systems for mother and scholar.


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Author Biographies

Amanda Pascale, University of North Florida

Amanda Blakewood Pascale, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration at the University of North Florida. Her research coalesces around higher education faculty issues, gender equity in higher education, and STEM-equity and identity.

Suzanne Ehrlich, University of North Florida

Suzanne Ehrlich, EdD is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Technology, Training and Development program at the University of North Florida and is a certified ASL/English interpreter. Her work focuses on the UDL mindset in post-secondary settings and the workplace. Her global work has included cross-collaboration with academic partners in Australia and Scotland, where she has spent time living, studying, and cultivating professional networks.

Kristen Hicks-Roof, University of North Florida

Kristen K. Hicks-Roof PhD, RDN is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of North Florida. She previously studied at Griffith University in Gulf Coast, Australia, where she has several professional networks. Her research primarily focuses on interprofessional education and collaboration, mentoring in dietetics and gendered differences of health and wellbeing.


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How to Cite

Pascale, A., Ehrlich, S., & Hicks-Roof, K. (2022). The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on MotherScholars: A Comparative Case Study of United States and Australian Higher Education Women Faculty Role Strain. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(3a).



Summer 2022 Special Edition