Policy Resources

In November 2001, The Council of the American Association of University Professors adopted as AAUP policy, the Statement of Principles on Family Responsibilities and Academic Work, which addresses the dilemma faced by junior faculty members whose years of probationary service coincide with a time when they might become new parents. The AAUP statement contends "the goal of every institution should be to create an academic community in which all members are treated equitably, families are supported, and family-care concerns are regarded as legitimate and important." The statement seeks to familiarize faculty and administrators with the eligibility requirements for federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits. The statement contains policy recommendations that fall into two categories:

  1. general policies addressing family responsibilities, including family-care leaves and institutional support for child and elder care; and
  2. more specific policies, such as stopping the tenure clock, that specifically relate to probationary faculty members who are primary or co-equal caregivers for newborn or newly adopted children. The Association's overall goal is to develop a more responsive and flexible workplace for faculty with family obligations, [particularly mothers,] and to promote options for viable career paths for contingent faculty, [particularly women,] while maintaining the integrity of faculty work and the quality of education.

Specific Recommendations from the AAUP Statement of Principles on Family Responsibilities and Academic Work

  • Paid leaves should be provided for pregnancy, family care, and emergencies with the option of longer-term unpaid leaves depending upon the circumstances.
  • Active Service with Modified Duties - Faculty members should have the option of a reduced workload, without loss of status, to handle family responsibilities.
  • Stopping the Tenure Clock - Faculty members should have the option to extend the probationary period up to two years following the birth or adoption of a child. The option of stopping the tenure clock should be provided with or without a leave of absence. Tenure decisions should be made according to the same criteria (not higher expectations). The tenure clock should be stopped upon request and not be considered a matter for special negotiation.
  • Universities should establish and communicate formal institutional policies rather than make individual ad hoc arrangements.

Statement of Principles on Family Responsibilities and Academic Work

(posted 11/03)