November 13, 2000
New policies cover leave, tenure clock
By Michael Terrazas email@example.com
After more than two years of work between the Faculty Council, the provosts
office and the Council of Deans, the University has approved and instated
three new policies regarding faculty leave and tenure procedures that
should be of special interest to Emorys younger faculty.
The policies, covering maternity leave, parental leave and stopping the
tenure clock, are summarized at right. According to Harriet King, senior
vice provost for academic affairs, the parental and maternity leave policies
were approved by President Bill Chace this fall; the Board of Trustees
signed off on the tenure clock policy at its April meeting.
The policies allow faculty to request either partial or full relief from
teaching responsibilities for up to two academic terms, or a delay in
the tenure review process of up to two years, for a variety of circumstances
including pregnancy, the birth or adoption of a child, caring for an ill
family member, or a personal illness, subject to the approval of the faculty
The University is making some very positive steps toward offering
some real support to junior faculty, said Sharon Lewis, associate
professor of psychology at Oxford. The needs of junior faculty are
different from the needs of junior faculty 20 years ago. More and more
junior faculty are involved in their childrens care, and we needed
to recognize and support that.
Lewis and Randy Strahan, associate professor of political science, chaired
a Faculty Council ad hoc committee charged with researching these matters.
They began in fall 1998 and took their cue from a Presidents Commission
on the Status of Women study, submitted to Chace earlier that year, that
revealed the issues as problems for junior faculty.
Over the next year-and-a-half, Lewis and Strahan would present possible
policy language to Faculty Council for review and discussion, then rework
the language and submit it to King and Provost Rebecca Chopp. Chopp would
then present the policies to the Council of Deans, which would make its
own suggestions. Finally, last spring, the groups arrived at a wording
on which everyone agreed.
These policies indicated that faculty have input at a policy level
and that our governance system, when used, works, Chopp said. I
have always been supportive of policies that deal with the changing realities
of faculty members lives. The faculty brought these issues up, the
deans worked with Faculty Council to craft the policies, and the president
and I heartily support them.
This really represents an instance where faculty governance is
sort of coming of age at Emory, Strahan said. It was not something
that the ad hoc committee created ex nihiloit really did build on
earlier work that had been done by the PCSW. We picked it up, and then
the Faculty Council endorsed it, and it was a lot of hard work in terms
of hammering out language.
But the hard work is not over, Strahan continued. Though these policies
do affect the entire University, its now up to the individual schools
to decide how best to implement them within the boundaries of their individual
cultures and procedures.
One of the difficulties in crafting the policies, Strahan and Lewis said,
was creating language amenable to the widely disparate working and financial
structures for faculty between, for example, the college and the medical
All of the units are going to develop, Strahan said. Each
school is going to have to figure out a procedure for reviewing and deciding
on which request for extensions of the tenure clock should go forward.
Another consideration was taking into account how the maternity and parental
leave policies jibed with the Family and Medical Leave Act.
King and Chopp said the policies bring Emory in line with its peer institutions
and, in the case of parental leave, even move the University to the head
of the class, so to speak, in coming to grips with the changing lives
of the professiorate.