At Rowan University, childcare is all in the (diaper) bagJanuary 09, 2008
Alec Guerra has been known to be a bit loquacious during search committee meetings at Rowan University.
Jake Fusco has taken to trying out his singing voice at AFT union gatherings.
And, Kate Appleby-Wineberg, blonde hair flying, has a reputation for doing some mean cartwheels in one of the Glassboro, N.J. campus' arts buildings.
All of which could get them in a jam with the administration if they weren't so darn cute - and the offspring of Rowan professors rather than professors themselves.
It's not so unusual to hear stories of professors bringing their kids to a campus during non-teaching hours; most people in higher ed have heard the woes of young mothers trying to balance their careers with their family life.
But there's something a little different about Alec, Jake and Kate and their siblings - their Rowan professorial parents all are men, and those men are just as likely as their wives to juggle the balance of work and home, test papers and diaper bags.
Dr. Eddie Guerra, 36, associate professor of physics and astronomy and husband of Michelle Moravec, an assistant professor of history at Rosemont College, has been carting Alec, 3, and his sister Celeste 1 ½, to Rowan on a regular basis since they were infants. Guerra brings the kids to campus often, whether it's on the fly as he picks up projects to work on at home, to grab lunch with colleagues or to attend meetings when there is no other child care available.
Tom Fusco, 39, an associate professor/technical director of the Department of Theater and Dance is married to Charlie Fusco, president and owner of direct response production company Synergixx. Fusco loaded up strollers with diapers and milk and brought his kids to many a meeting when they were babies. At 6, 4, and 2, respectively, Jake, Ava and Angelina still are fixtures in Rowan's College of Fine & Performing Arts.
Dr. Bryan K. Appleby-Wineberg, 38, an assistant professor of trumpet and brass and assistant chair of the Department of Music is married to Sarah K. Appleby-Wineberg, a certified nurse-midwife and nurse-practitioner in women's health who works 75 to 120 hours a week. He's been bringing Hannah, 11, and Kathryn (Kate), 6, to campus since his wife started working full time about a year and a half ago.
For the most part, the children have adapted well to early campus life, often in demand to be held at social functions or during strolls across campus.
Appleby-Wineberg, who stocks his office with balls, coloring books, Play-Doh, sticker books, crayons and other play things, described the arrangement as "pure joy." But, he noted, "After about 2 hours, they get a bit tired of being there after their homework is done, so I try to get away by about 5:00."
Fusco, whose schedule is more flexible than his wife's, brings his kids to campus about twice a week, and they spend most of that time sleeping or quietly doodling.
Things are not always utopian, however. "There was the time when Jake was about 10 months old and I took him to a union meeting where the president was speaking, and he decided to try out his new singing voice. Real loud. In the choral room, so it carried very well. That was the only time I had to leave a room. It was also the only time I got a dirty look from someone, although it was not from the president," Fusco said.
Dirty look aside, the three Rowan dads say they've received a lot of support concerning their children.
"In my department," Guerra said, "they have been accepting, encouraging and very helpful. Everyone at Rowan has been very receptive and very curious about the children."
"Students stop by to play and chat, faculty always say hello and ask them questions. Some faculty even take them on walks to get a smoothie or hot chocolate," said Appleby-Wineberg, whose children are on campus four to five days a week after their school lets out and while he's doing office work.
"I have been able to coach chamber music with the girls in the room. I have even been able to attend concerts and rehearsals with the girls. My schedule is flexible," Appleby-Wineberg said. "Other faculty have told me that they were able to bring their kids to work in the past, too. Others say they wish they could have had this kind of time with their kids. Everyone is very positive."
Fusco said his kids call the department secretary "Aunt Carmella," and she's always good for cookies or some sort of treat. He added, "People gush over the kids. Most everyone was supportive and liked to hold them. Most of the faculty has had similar experiences."