Points to consider about work/life balance
- You can make work/life balance a priority and goal for your department by encouraging faculty to take advantage of institutional policies, resources, and practices to successfully integrate work and life/family needs, and making sure that they know they have departmental support if they do so.
- Actively highlight, advertise, and support your department’s work/life balance accommodation policies and procedures for all faculty—this helps assure faculty that they won’t be arbitrarily disadvantaged in promotion, advancement, or compensation.
- Make the use of work/life balance accommodations standard for conducting business in your department rather than viewing them as exceptions or “special privileges.”
- Actively highlight your department’s work/life balance policies, benefits, and resources in faculty recruitment.
- Provide brochures about work/life policies, dual career hires, etc. as part of all candidate recruitment packets. This sends a very positive message to candidates, even if they do not need the information at the time, and invites them to ask questions or to follow up individually with the offices listed.
- Schedule a time for women candidates to meet with other women faculty members, the AdvanceVT office, or the college liaison if available, so they can ask the questions that may be too sensitive to ask the department chair or the search committee. (This same advice can apply to male candidates, but it is even more important for women candidates in departments where they may be among a very small number of women.)
- Communicate that your department is a place where faculty with current or potential caregiving responsibilities can thrive.
- Tenure and promotion committees should be directed to focus on quality and total quantity of scholarly productivity rather than time since degree or job hire so that faculty who slow down their professional lives to meet personal obligations are not unduly penalized in the review process.
- All individuals and committees participating in tenure reviews should understand that any individual who has received a probationary period extension must be held to the same standard—not a higher or more stringent one—to which other candidates without such an extension are held. (Section 22.214.171.124 of the Faculty Handbook.)
- If a candidate has received an extension of the tenure probationary period, this should be addressed in the external review request as follows: “This candidate has received an extension of his or her tenure probationary period under approved university policies. You are asked to evaluate the candidate’s accomplishments and appropriateness for tenure and promotion to associate professor as if the record had been accumulated during our normal six-year probationary period.”