Faculty Worklife Balance

The ISU ADVANCE Program recognizes the importance of work-life issues to recruitment and retention of excellent faculty. In partnership with the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, the ISU ADVANCE Program has developed resources and initiatives to improve work-life at ISU.

The website of the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost provides resources for managing personal and professional lives at Iowa State University, including resources that support faculty flexibility, such as Dual Career Resources to accommodate faculty partners, part-time appointments for tenure-eligible and tenured faculty and resources for new parent employees. Following is a link to the guide created by Dr. Mary Harris:


ISU ADVANCE Initiatives

Our national conference in October 2008, The New Norm of Faculty Flexibility: Transforming the Culture in Science & Engineering, focuses on ways that faculty and administrators can work to re-create academic careers, careers that allow for the management of both professional and personal lives.

During Collaborative Transformation work in the first three focal departments, work-life emerged as one of six critical issues, as reported in the Collaborative Transformation Synthesis Report (Executive Summary) (PDF, 59KB):

"ISSUE: ISU's 'family friendly' policies have gained recognition in recent years and are generally supported by faculty. Many faculty members, at the same time, are unaware of the extent of these policies and how they are operationalized. And among those faculty who are aware of the policies and how they operate (most of whom are women but also some men), a general consensus exists that parental leave provisions (including the tenure clock policy) are well-meant but impractical and that child care facilities are woefully lacking due to cost and limitations on enrollment" (Bird and Debinski 2008, p.vi).1

1 Bird, Sharon R. and Diane M. Debinski. 2008. "Executive Summary." Pp. ii-vi in ISU ADVANCE Collaborative Transformation Project: First Round Focal Department Synthesis Report (March 2008) by Sharon R. Bird and Florence A. Hamrick. Iowa State University ADVANCE Program.

Each year the ISU ADVANCE Program has identified a theme for our campus activities and the theme for Year 3 (2008-09) (PDF, 34KB) was Recruiting the Best: The role of work-life flexibility.

Dr. Mary Harris, the ADVANCE Faculty Fellow for 2008-09 (supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost), focused her activities on work-life issues. In this Administrative Fellowship, Dr. Harris focused on enhancing the university's programs and materials on work-life balance and flexible faculty careers, particularly for faculty in STEM disciplines. She worked with others in the SVPP's Office, in the ISU ADVANCE Program, and in colleges and departments to create, refine, and communicate work-life policies and practices. She presented her findings at two events in the Fall of 2009, sponsored by the ISU ADVANCE Program and the Senior Vice President and Provost's Office.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Workshop on Resources for Chairs and Deans on Flexible Faculty Careers
ISU ADVANCE Workshop for Chairs and Deans (by invitation)

Dr. Mary Harris, faculty fellow in 2008-09, will report on her work on faculty flexibility, which supports the theme for the ISU ADVANCE Program last year, "Recruiting the Best: The Role of Work-life Flexibility." Mary has prepared a Handbook on Faculty Flexibility at ISU for Deans and Chairs.
PowerPoint (PDF), 36 pages

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
ISU ADVANCE Lunchtime Discussion on ISU Resources and Policies That Support Faculty Flexibility

Dr. Mary Harris will lead a lunchtime discussion for the campus community, during which she will present resources that are available to ISU faculty, including policies and guidelines for increased flexibility to balance work/life demands.
Printable flyer of the event (PDF)
Slides (PDF), 23 pages