penalty during tenure review. Recognizing that child rearing is an issue for both men and women, some universities provide tenure clock extension to all assistant professors who have substantial responsibility for the care of young children.108

As shown in the Duke University example above, providing access to day care and other assistance with child rearing may also help to ease the burdens of parents seeking tenure or otherwise coping with juggling the competing demands of work and family. Recommendations include providing affordable child care, facilities for sick children, safe environments for children within the workplace, after-school care, child-care cooperatives, and lactation rooms.109 Universities could also establish part-time tracks for parents during early child-rearing years that would allow parents to reenter full-time work.110 In addition, many institutions have adopted “active service-modified duties” policies so that workers can reduce their workload during busy times but still receive full pay.111 These and other suggestions are summarized in the ACE report An Agenda for Excellence: Creating Flexibility in Tenure-Track Faculty Careers (see Box 5-8 above).

Even with parental leave and tenure clock extension policies in place, women have been reluctant to take advantage of the programs for fear of experiencing a backlash. Suggested remedies include making it clear that tenure clock extension and active service-modified duties policies are entitlements.112 Instituting a minimal maternity leave policy and making tenure clock extension automatic upon granting maternity leave may ease this issue.113 For example, since 2001 MIT has automatically extended the tenure clock for women tenure-track faculty who bear a child. Princeton University recently established an automatic extension for men and women for both birth and adoption. And UC-Berkeley includes in its letters asking for review of a candidate that reviewers must ignore any time extension due to family responsibilities.

Still, some fear that if leave policies and tenure clock stoppages are offered to both men and women, women will use them for their intended purpose, whereas men will use them to engage in scholarship, resulting in “upping the ante for tenure instead of leveling the playing field.”114 Drago


Mason et al. (2005), ibid.


Association for Women in Science. Academic Climate: Addressing the Climate for Women in Academia. Recommended Strategies, ibid.


Mason and Goulden (2002), ibid.


American Association of University Professors (2001), ibid; Mason et al. (2005), ibid.


Mason et al. (2005), ibid.


Harvard University (2005). Report of the Task Force on Women Faculty.


LK Kerber (2005). We must make the academic workplace more human and equitable. Chronicle of Higher Education 51(28):B6.

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