Slightly Anonymous asks:
My department is writing a policy for what they do to support new parents post-parental leave. I’m on the committee that is supposed to come up with this. I think this is great: if somebody misses a year or a semester with a new baby, then it makes sense that they might need some time or extra support to come back up to speed. But what should our committee recommend?
I’m wondering if you or any of your readers have ideas?
I’m at a UK university, which means that academic staff at my university are either on short-term temporary contracts — think postdoc — or have permanent positions. In most UK universities “lecturer” is the equivalent of “assistant professor with tenure.” At my university there is a 1 year probationary period before your job is officially permanent, but passing probation is pretty much a formality. There is still stress about being promoted, but much less than what comes with trying to get tenure in a US university.
Being in the US and not having been at coastal or ultra-prestigious schools, our own experience is pretty pathetic. That whole “missing a year or a semester with a new baby” thing … not something we’re used to. In my department we’re still trying to get something consistent in place that doesn’t involve begging other people in the department to cover your classes for a couple of weeks after the baby is born.
Off the top of my head, all I can think of is adding a year to the tenure clock for those without tenure, but that is mostly irrelevant in the UK context. Surely someone out there has a better idea of what best practices are? #2 has only seen terrible practices. My poor poor colleagues.
Grumpy Nation, please weigh in with your suggestions!