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Faculty Affairs

Faculty - Parents - Caregivers

Resources for Faculty

Fresno State is committed to supporting faculty who are balancing their academic and family lives through family-serving practices and policies that promote equity, retention, and belongingness. Explore the links below for resources, policies, and recommendations for equitable practices that support faculty with caregiving roles. Caregivers are defined as someone who regularly looks after and provides a broad range of support for a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person. 

Recommendations by Faculty

The recommendations are designed to create conditions for faculty retention and success. Deans and department chairs have special opportunities to nurture a culture of care in their colleges through normalizing conversations about caregiving and institutionalizing support for caregivers through policy and strategic planning. Humanizing practices that center the needs of caregivers often benefit faculty lives more broadly.

Meeting suggestions:

  • Schedule required meetings and professional development opportunities on weekdays between 9am and 3pm to accommodate school drop-offs and pick-ups among working parents. If the meeting is in person, provide a Zoom option so at-home caregivers can join.
  • Tenure-Track Faculty and Lecturers may feel that their positions are too vulnerable to say no to meetings scheduled at 8am or 5pm. If you are a tenured faculty member or administrator, point out the difficulties that others may experience (as well as the additional cost of childcare) when meetings are scheduled before or after these hours, and request that they be rescheduled.
  • Include options for participating in meetings over zoom to accommodate caregivers who are caring for dependents at home
    Be open to children being present at meetings when meetings are in the evenings or when childcare is unavailable. Search for spaces that can safely accommodate children
  • Be supportive of faculty with children who need to turn off video/audio during Zoom meetings and allow them to participate through the chat function. This would support faculty whose children are breastfeeding, napping, eating, crying, etc.
  • Limit meetings to one hour; meetings in excess of one hour are especially challenging for faculty with young children

Teaching & Scheduling

  • Regularly notify faculty members about their option of an online modality, when appropriate, for a day/class when children or other dependents are sick or otherwise need to stay at home. (APM 206: https://academics.fresnostate.edu/facultyaffairs/documents/apm/206.pdf)
  • When developing teaching schedules, provide faculty members the option to request/avoid particular teaching schedules, and rotate unpopular teaching times equitably among faculty members. (Examples of preference sheets used to request faculty input here and here)
  • In response to new and challenging family circumstances, minimize the number of new and multiple preps for faculty, including by assigning a faculty to multiple sections of the same course where appropriate.
  • Encourage a culture of resource-sharing, including powerpoints, tests, quizzes, writing assignments, lecture notes, and in-class activities
  • Be cognizant of how University teaching days may conflict with area school days off and K–12 start/end dates.
  • Encourage the practice of not expecting responses to email outside of working hours
  • Consider developing contingency plans at the beginning of the semester for faculty who need time off unexpectedly
    • Develop procedures
    • Consider Lecturers as paid substitutes
  • Create a pool of teaching assistants/graders to provide teaching support for faculty experiencing personal challenges or during times of crisis
     

Service

Be flexible with types of service that could count toward RTP and coach faculty to document all forms of service, particularly that which is not related to a traditional committee
Regularize nominating backup committee members for faculty who need to take temporary leave 
Tenure-Track Faculty and Lecturers may feel that their positions are too vulnerable to say no to committee assignments. If you are a tenured faculty member or administrator, encourage open discussion of current service obligations and availability before asking faculty to serve on another committee. Note: Lecturers are not contractually obligated to participate in university service.
When inviting faculty parents to committees, consider the equity implications of the various committee assignments and that not all committees require the same amount of effort and time 
Be aware that standing committee meetings outside of K-12 and childcare hours may limit the participation of faculty parents 
Consider the challenges that ongoing service commitments during parental leave may have on parents 
 

Research & Scholarly Activities

Allow faculty to use professional development and similar funds to cover childcare costs while attending conferences and other professional development activities, or while conducting research
Encourage collaborative and co-authored publications
Encouraging work with local communities, sites to reduce travel time for research and need for childcare (this may be a shift in research direction which should be encouraged if it supports more sustainable research long term). 
Support faculty who pursue research trajectories that align with shifting work-life realities and interests 
Regularly notify faculty about their options to take paid and unpaid family leave, stop their tenure clock, or modify their probationary plans.

Childcare centers:

Afterschool Care