A professor has sparked controversy by asking if she should “be more sensitive” to the fact that she is a “nanny” when her daughter is attending university.
Professor Sue Campbell, a former Victorian chief executive of the Australian College of Teachers, recently published a cover letter to prospective students which said she was a “very strong nanny” and had “a very hard time sleeping” because of her role as the college’s “architect” for students.
Ms Campbell told The Sunday Age the “naughty nanny syndrome” she faced as an Australian has now become an “ugly norm”.
“It’s the norm,” she said.
“There are a lot of students that think, ‘Well, that’s my nanny, I’m always there and I’m so important, it’s just me and I do everything’.”
And I say, ‘No, it isn’t me that’s doing it, it is the other person’.
“But it’s the other student that gets hurt, it affects their confidence, it impacts their academic performance, it puts a lot on them.”
Ms Campbell said she had also heard from students who felt that if they didn’t want to be nannies, they shouldn’t go to university, saying she had “heard from a lot” of students who said they would have been happier if they had stayed at home.
Ms Campbell said she also thought it was important to “do more with less” and said she thought students needed to “find their own way”.
She said she felt “really bad for a lot people” who would have “never wanted to do it” had it not been for her role at the college.
“I think the nanny thing has become a bit of a stereotype,” she told The Advertiser.
“The nanny role is a really bad one, especially for young women.”
Professor Campbell’s cover letter sparked a debate on social media, with some people calling for her to be sacked for her comments.
Ms Maitland told the ABC the university’s decision to hire a nanny was “incredibly brave” and the school would be “much better” without her.
“It is a very brave move, particularly as it relates to the age of the children at the school,” she explained.
“And also, as it pertains to the wellbeing of the students, particularly because of the very stressful nature of it, particularly for younger students, it has a very positive impact on them and they really appreciate that it is not just a nannying role, it can be really rewarding.”
Professor Maitlander said she wanted to hear from more students about the issue, saying they would be more than welcome to do so.