Report of the Senate Committee on the Faculty

Faculty Maternity Policy and Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period

February 26, 1996

In December 1994, the Senate Committee on the Faculty was asked by Deputy Provost Walter Wales to consider whether Penn should institute an extension of the tenure probationary period for junior faculty members who give birth. At present, such extensions are granted only in the cases of those who elect reduced duties with reduced compensation for child care and, occasionally, in situations of exceptional hardship.

The committee decided to broaden the scope of its discussion and undertook a full-scale review of Penn's parenting policies. This led to a preliminary report, which was discussed by the Senate Executive Committee on September 6, 1995 and published for comment in Almanac on September 19, 1995. After consideration of the responses to that report and further discussion, the Committee now recommends two distinct policies.

The first is a revision of the current Faculty Maternity Policy; it spells out more explicitly, for the benefit both of female faculty members and of chairs and deans, a uniform policy for reconciling the incapacity caused by pregnancy and childbirth with the demands of the teaching calendar.

The second is a new policy allowing extensions of the tenure probationary period, not only for faculty members who become parents, but also for faculty members who experience similarly career-disrupting events. In identifying those events, we have followed the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

1. Faculty Maternity Policy

A member of the standing faculty who bears a child will be relieved of teaching duties, without loss of salary or benefits, during an academic semester if incapacity due to the prenatal, delivery and recovery period would reasonably require her to interrupt the teaching of her courses in that semester for three or more weeks. For purposes of determining whether teaching would be interrupted, it is presumed that a woman will be incapacitated for six weeks following delivery. In such cases, the chair of the department or the dean of the school, in consultation with the Provost's Office, will make such arrangements as are necessary and appropriate with regard to covering her teaching responsibilities, including the canceling of an affected course or the employment of substitute instructors. This relief from teaching duties is not a leave of absence. Outside the period of incapacity, and as compatible with her particular situation, the faculty member will be expected to meet her other normal departmental and University responsibilities, including research, committee membership, and advising. The preceding sentence does not authorize assignment of additional such duties to compensate for the period of necessary absence from the job.

2. Policy on Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period

a. A nontenured member of the standing faculty shall be eligible for an extension of the tenure probationary period (or, in the case of clinician educators in the health schools, the promotion review that normally occurs in the ninth year) corresponding to the semester or year during which:

  1. a child is (or, provided that the child had not reached his or her second birthday, was during the immediately preceding semester or summer) born, adopted, or placed for foster care, into the faculty member's household;

  2. by reason of a serious health condition (as defined in Section 2611(11) of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993) persisting for a substantial portion of the period for which the extension is sought, the faculty member is required to act as the primary caregiver for a parent, child, spouse, or domestic partner (as defined in the domestic partner benefits policy); or

  3. by reason of a serious health condition (as defined in Section 2611(11) of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993) persisting for a substantial portion of the period for which the extension is sought, the faculty member is unable to perform the functions of his or her position.

b. The length of the extension shall be one year unless the faculty member requests a one-semester extension and the department chair and the dean agree to its feasibility in light of the school's tenure review process.

c. Extensions of the tenure probationary period shall be without prejudice to the obligation of the University to provide faculty members with twelve-months' notice of termination.

d. Requests for extensions of the tenure probationary period shall be made in writing, subject to timeliness requirements adopted and publicized by the faculty member's school. A timely first-time request will be viewed favorably by the University, and granted unless specific and compelling factors require its denial. A request from a faculty member who has already sought and obtained a prior extension may be denied in the considered discretion of the chair or dean, without a presumption in its favor. The recommendation of the chair or dean and the action of the provost shall be communicated in writing to the faculty member, and shall specify any revised date of tenure review and termination date of the probationary period, and (in the event that the request is denied) shall specify the grounds for the denial.

N.B. The statute defines a "serious health condition" as "an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves--"(A) inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or "(B) continuing treatment by a health care provider." "Health care provider" is defined ( 2611(6)) as: "(A) a doctor of medicine or osteopathy who is authorized to practice medicine or surgery (as appropriate) by the State in which the doctor practices; or "(B) any other person determined by the Secretary [of Health and Human Services] to be capable of providing health care services."

Janet A. Deatrick (nursing)
John C. Keene (city & regional planning)
Howard Lesnick (law)
Rob Roy MacGregor (medicine)
Sheila H. Murnaghan (classical studies), Chair
Paul Shaman (statistics)

ex officio
Senate Chair William L. Kissick (medicine)
Senate Chair-elect Peter J. Kuriloff (education)

staff: Carolyn P. Burdon (exec asst to the Faculty Senate Chair)


March 19, 1996
Volume 42 Number 24

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