Work-Life Balance Issues (Child Care Proposal) at CCSU
Submitted by Leah S. Glaser (History) and Beth Frankel-Merenstein (Sociology), Child Care Sub-Committee, Committee for the Concerns of Women Central Connecticut State University, May 2008
As more women have entered the workplace out of choice or out of financial necessity, university campuses across the country have begun programs and initiatives in support of “family-friendly” policies and culture. Many of these ideas follow those of businesses and law firms who have recognized that in order to attract and maintain the top talent, workplaces must recognize and support ways for employees to succeed in both home life and workplace. Several universities have coordinated their efforts through the College and University Work Family Association (CUWFA) which maintains an active website and listserv and holds an annual conference each year. The association, along with several other resources and publications, essentially provides advice and support for Work-Life initiatives at institutions of higher learning. For the last two years, Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven has hosted the CSU Women and Work-Life Balance Conference, but the “work-life balance” or “work-family” movement has been growing for over a decade. As a public university that includes non-traditional students and a diverse faculty, the Child Care Committee of the Committee of the Concerns of Women (CCW) recommends that this is a trend Central Connecticut State University should seriously consider. 1
Other universities in Connecticut have begun to pursue such family-friendly policies. Yale University has hired a part-time employment to maintain and develop program consistent with work-life needs. For the third semester, Southern has awarded a faculty member reassigned time to work with Human Resources for the third semester this fall in order to bring SCSU closer to other universities with work-life balance policies and programs. This person, with the Director of the SCSU Women’s Center, participates in a new University Work-Life Committee, and they serve on committees that are taking a closer look at child care and related issues. Eastern Connecticut State University has recently expanded its child care center and created a model for maternity leave request in accordance with the AAUP contract.
A CSU Parental Leave Committee and “Committee-W” (the women’s committee of the CSU-AAUP with representatives from all four campuses) have also started examining ways to make the CSU campuses “family-friendly.” They have discussed expanding maternity leave options beyond the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The proposed name for the initiative is “4 Campuses for Families,” or 4C4F.
Universities have most often discussed policies that allow faculty to stop or extend the tenure clock, come back to work part-time, modify job duties, take leave, or negotiate academic appointments for spouses or partners at hiring. Carol Hollenshead, et. al Family-Friendly Policies in Higher Education: Where Do We Stand? The Center for Education of Women, University of Michigan, 2005. Also see Michele Vancour, Motherhood ideology, role balance, and health-promoting behaviors of academic mothers (PhD Dissertation, New York University, 2005.
Recommendation for Promoting a Campus Commitment to Work-Life Balance Policies and Programs at CCSU
Work-life and child care issues are clearly not simply women’s issues, but working women have more often borne the responsibilities, stigmas and pressures of wanting, or more often needing, to be both responsible caregivers and career professionals. CCW therefore believes work-life initiatives fall within our purview. However, CCW is an advocacy group and would plan to delegate the program duties to a campus Work-Life Coordinator as both Yale and the University of Connecticut have done. Therefore, the Child Care Committee makes the following long-term recommendations: 1....
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