June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Women in Engineering
11.394.1 - 11.394.8
DEMYSTIFYING FAMILY-FRIENDLY POLICIES FOR FACULTY: RESOURCES FOR DEPARTMENT CHAIRS Introduction
Family-friendly policies for faculty are no longer the exception, but rather are becoming the norm on many campuses. Yet, the existence of such policies is not enough to bring about a cultural change. In addition to changes in policies, institutional transformation requires a significant amount of change in attitudes and practices throughout the university community. A top-down policy change can rarely transform an institution. Rather, the success of institutional change hinges largely on the extent to which (attitudinal and practical) change occurs at the academic department level.1, 2 Department chairs are the critical point of influence at the department level.
Yet academic department chairs are not often prepared to be change agents or administrative managers.2-4 Faculty who have risen to the department chair position are usually recognized leaders in their scholarly fields and have been trained to be scholars, not managers. Moreover, academic department chairs are generally not equipped to navigate policy changes nor the attitudes and prejudices that impair effective policy implementation. Nevertheless, they are precisely the ones who can affect such changes since, as noted by Etzkowitz, Kemelgor and Uzzi, “Policy change cannot affect inherent attitudes and prejudices. Change of that nature appears to emanate from those in power within the department. They become the role model for the role models.”5
To help department chairs gain the skills and information needed to address department culture, which would then support the effective implementation of policies such as family-friendly policies, the University of Washington’s National Science Foundation-funded ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change (CIC) received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to pilot an annual two-day national leadership workshop for department chairs, deans, and emerging leaders. A particular emphasis of the workshop was work-life issues for faculty. The workshop was designed to address the disconnect that exists in American institutions of higher education between the adoption of flexible career options as a means for recruiting and retaining the “best and brightest” faculty, and the existing climate and culture of the academy that discourages utilization of these policies. But before department chairs can begin to address the aspects of department culture that influence family-friendly policy implementation, they need the background information to understand their own attitudes and they need information on policies and examples of effective implementation.
The purpose of this paper is to share information about the policy search process and to discuss the benefits of having family-friendly policy information easily accessible for department chairs and faculty. In collecting information about the family-friendly policies at the various institutions, it became increasingly clear that the information is often difficult to find and even more difficult to implement. Based on our experience, it is no wonder that faculty and department chairs need help demystifying such policies.
This paper begins with an examination of the current environment for care-giving faculty and the role that department chairs play in embracing flexible faculty careers. Next an overview of the
Riskin, E., & Quinn, K., & Yen, J. (2006, June), Demystifying Family Friendly Policies For Faculty: Resources For Department Chairs Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--631
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