Monday, March 18, 2013

Wanted: examples of family friendly policies for tenure review

I am on a committee at UC Davis that is part of an National Science Foundation "ADVANCE" grant that UC Davis' Chancellor Linda Katehi and others at UC Davis received last year.  The goal of the project is "increasing the participation of women, especially Latinas, in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers."

More about the UC Davis ADVANCE program
One of the things the committee I am on is charged with is looking into how the policies and practices of tenure review might differentially impact women and minorities.  So - related to that I am writing to ask if people out there have examples of what one might call "family friendly" policies relating to extending the amount of time one is allowed before tenure review occurs.  Some questions I would love answers to for various institutions:
  • What are the policy guidelines for tenure review?
  • Can the tenure clock be extended for family related issues (e.g., birth of a child, adoption of a child, dependent medical care, etc)?
  • What is the specific wording of such policies?
  • How are such policies explained to tenure review committees and letter writers?
For UC Davis here is what I have been able to find (well, with help from the other people on the committee)
I posted a quick request to Twitter earlier.
And got some responses

Any other information would be great.  I am hoping to make this an "open discussion" of such issues rather than just an internal UC Davis discussion ...


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  2. Here is some information from the U. Michigan. We've had a very active ADVANCE program for at least 8 years and the tenure clock policies for childbirth were put into place in 1991.

    Here is also an evaluation of the policy from women's perspective:

  3. Vanderbilt's basic policy is one year extension of tenure clock for one semester of parental leave (mother or father). policy text below.

    Availability of Parental Leave
    When a full-time faculty member who is tenured or tenure-track, or that faculty member’s spouse or declared domestic partner, becomes the parent of a child, either by childbirth or by adoption of a pre-school-aged child, the faculty member shall, upon written request to his or her department chair or dean, be entitled to a parental leave of one semester at full pay for purposes of serving as the child’s primary caregiver. If a faculty member and his or her spouse or domestic partner would otherwise both be eligible for parental leave under this policy, either one, but not both, may take this parental leave.

    In order to minimize the administrative burden of ensuring adequate coverage of responsibilities, an eligible faculty member must give her or his department chair or dean at least three (3) months’ written notice of her or his intention to take parental leave, the anticipated date of departure and the expected date of return to full-time work. Medical emergencies or the uncertainties of adoption that prevent the giving of three months’ notice will not disqualify an eligible faculty member from obtaining parental leave.

    Any agreement for a parental leave under this policy shall be in writing. The agreement shall include each of the following:

    1. certification by the faculty member that the purpose of the leave will be to serve as the primary caregiver for that child during the period of leave or for faculty on nine-month appointments to recapture time spent as the primary caregiver during the preceding summer;

    2. certification that the leave period will not be used to actively pursue other employment opportunities or to work full- or part time for another employer;

    3. the anticipated start and end of the leave period;

    4. a commitment to return to active status for at least an equivalent period immediately following the paid parental leave; and

    5. for tenure-track faculty, the revised schedule of intermediate and major promotion and tenure reviews.

    Salary, Benefits, and Responsibilities During Leave
    A faculty member who takes parental leave under this policy shall receive the same salary and benefits that he or she would have received that semester if not on leave, and shall be relieved of his or her normal duties and responsibilities during the period of leave as follows:

    When Taken
    At the option of the faculty member, the parental leave provided by this policy may be taken during the semester in which the child is born or placed for adoption, or during any subsequent semester that begins no later than six months after the birth or adoption placement. For purposes of this policy, each semester shall run from the first day of classes to the last day of examinations. Unless waived in writing by the provost, a faculty member who takes a parental leave is obligated to return to active status for at least an equivalent period immediately following such leave in order to retain the benefits of the leave including salary paid.

    Effect on Probationary Period
    A tenure-track faculty member who takes parental leave under this policy shall receive an automatic one-year extension of the tenure clock. In order to take advantage of all or part of such an extension, a faculty member need only notify his or her department chair or dean of the decision, within six months after the birth or placement for adoption, to take the extension. The total of all extensions to the tenure clock cannot exceed two years.


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