The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Endowed Chair in Social Work and Social Sciences is set to welcome Dr. Toby L. Parcel as the speaker for the 17th annual lectures starting on Wednesday.
The lectures, including one geared toward students, another for faculty and a main lecture, will run through Friday discussing topics revolving around the relationships between home and school in a household.
The Hinckley Endowed Chair was started in 2003 and named after the wife of Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It honors Hinckley’s commitment to strengthening her family, according to a press release from BYU.
Along the lines of that commitment to family, the chair sponsors a scholar to speak at the university about their research and how it pertains to a relevant social issue.
Parcel, professor emerita of sociology at North Carolina State University, will be focusing on what families and schools do that is most consequential and how the two can come together for greater success.
The student lecture, taking place on Wednesday at noon, will talk about how families are being formed today, such as how today’s college generation can have both members pursuing their careers while maintaining a strong family life.
“What I’m going to be suggesting to the students is that their generation has had some advantages that my generation did not have,” Parcel said. “One of those advantages is the potential for work flexibility, either the timing of work or the location of work, as many of us are experiencing these days. I think students these days come better prepared in terms of learning about communication and its importance, learning about strategy, learning about teamwork, evaluating emotional intelligence as well as academic intelligence and also having opportunities throughout their careers to obtain trainings in these areas that can help facilitate their careers. We know that traditionally some of these opportunities have been more available for young men than for young women, and I think some of that is really changing. It’s an optimistic talk without denying that there are challenges in dual-income, dual-career families that will need to be addressed.”
That relationship between parenthood and careers has changed in today’s world and a critical part of Parcel’s work was not just accepting that it is the mother’s work schedule that could impact a child.
Parcel’s studies also took into account a father’s work schedule and how fathers play an important role in nurturing younger and older children.
Along with that, younger households are more egalitarian in how they divide up household work, according to Parcel. She added that they are not perfectly egalitarian, but more so than previous generations.
The main lecture on Thursday at 6 p.m. will look at two topics, the relationship between resources at school and home with regards to academic success and social adjustment, and situations where families and schools are in conflict.
The first of the topics will revolve around studies looking at both children within the families and schools, not only looking at two outcomes such as learning math or reading, but also looking at behavior problems, college enrollment, college graduation and more.
“I think one of the unique things that this research program has done, there have been plenty of studies that have looked at children in families and other studies that have looked at children at school, but there are relatively few studies that take these two major institutions and put them together,” Parcel said.
The other portion will dive into a situation where families and schools are in conflict. This research program is based on community debates in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2009. These discussions focused on struggles with school diversity without disrupting ties between families and the schools.
Parcel said that some things learned from that research could possibly relate to some things seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final lecture for faculty, on Friday at 2 p.m., will have similar themes to the others but it is pitched to people already in academia.
Parcel will speak about her experiences moving into the administrative side of things, how she got involved and what she learned along the way.
“I’m very flattered and very grateful to have been selected as speaker this year for the Hinckley Lectures,” Parcel said. “I watched the video that is shown every year, and it’s just very touching to see how Mrs. Hinckley raised her children in an era that was very challenging. She got married in the depths of the Great Depression. It means a lot to me to have this opportunity and I’m looking forward to speaking with the different audiences. There will be some common themes across those talks but it’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with students who are facing things in the 21st century that no one could have anticipated.”
She hopes to shed some light and guidance moving forward for those who attend the lecture, considering it a privilege.
To attend the lectures or learn more about the topics, visit hinckleychair.byu.edu for more information.