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Unofficial Summary of University of Maryland Policies Relevant to Women Faculty and Students

The information on this page is correct to the best of my knowledge, and is based on information given on the linked sites and, in some cases, information provided verbally by the relevant offices.  Reading this should not serve as a substitute for checking the information, which may change over time, on the official sites.  This site simply tries to put much of it in one place for convenience (with links, since some of this can be difficult to find quickly), and to summarize the gist of the information.  Errors will happily be corrected upon notification.

On this Page:
Diversity Programs
Tenure Clock Stoppage | Classroom Teaching Relief
Part Time Option | Family Leave
Family Care Resource and Referral Service | Childcare
Postdocs | Tuition Remission
Lactation Room

The University of Maryland and departments within the Clark School have a number of family-friendly policies and resources, including:

  • tenure clock delay
  • classroom teaching relief
  • an option to work part-time
  • a family care resource and referral service
  • a lactation room

For further information, see below.

Diversity Programs

The University has a web page on equity and diversity and an equity and diversity organizational chart, and a directory of programs.  

There is a President's Commission on Women's Issues (PCWI ).  That site explains that in the early 1990s, the Commission started simply trying to hold onto ground already gained, and that now its profile is lower than it used to be.   In 1996, it got a new leader and started trying to figure out what to do next.  A research committeee was tasked to look into questions about salaries, hiring, and load.   It's not clear what came out of that, or the other monitoring activities that are described.   In fact, it's difficult to find reports on the situation for women at Maryland with data of any kind, although there are some tables on faculty gender composition and tenure outcomes.  (Briefly, "The females seem to not be moving up and sit at the Associate Professor positions." and there is "a large gap between the percentage of men vs. women who withdraw or resign from the tenure process, with the female percentage being higher.  Many women are withdrawing/resigning due to juggling research with the mundane daily tasks and small jobs handed to them."   Minutes of the PCWI can be found here

Tenure Clock Stoppage

In 2005, William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, wrote, in the American Council on Education, " Career flexibility for tenured and tenure-track faculty is no longer a nicety; it is a necessity.. ."  In 2006/7, the University adopted a policy allowing tenure-track faculty to request an automatic extension of the tenure clock due to childbirth, adoption, and other circumstances (illness, injury, care of dependents, death of a spouse).  The university recognized that "normal professional development".  From the Faculty Handbook of Policies and Resources:

  • "A tenure-track faculty member who has become a parent through birth or adoption of a child, will automatically be granted a tenure delay, upon mandatory written notification by the faculty member's unit." 
  • "NOTE that a second automatic extension for the birth or adoption of another child will be granted as long as the total number of all extensions does not exceed two."

Visit that site for more information, and also see the full policy.

Teaching Relief in Aerospace Engineering, BioEngineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, & Mechanical Engineering

It is the policy in these departments to automatically grant, upon the request of any faculty member in their departments, one semester of classroom teaching relief within the first year of the birth or adoption of a child, the cost of which will be covered by the department. There will be no requirement to double up on teaching in another semester to earn this.

Part Time Option

In 2009 the senate voted to approve a policy, which President Mote signed, to permit faculty to work part time due to chidrearing responsibilities. This temporary reduction to part-time status is provided in order to allow a family prepare for a newborn child and/or to care for a child under the age of five years, including children placed in the home as a result of adoption or foster care. The maximum period is 2 years for tenure-track faculty. Any faculty member who meets the eligibility requirements may request a temporary reduction of duties, and under ordinary circumstances this request will be granted.

Family Leave

Policies for faculty, non-tenure-track instructional faculty, and postdocs are described in the bylaws.  In summary, we are covered only by the federally-mandated Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  (See also this site.)  As outlined in the University's Consolidated USMH & UMCP Policies and Procedures Manual from 2003, a full-time faculty member can take up to 12 weeks (60 days) of unpaid leave for the birth of a child or to care for a family member.  This policy applies to those who have already been employed for 12 months.  One can also take unused holiday, personal, and sick leave.  While on leave, one maintains all employment benefits, such as health care.

Update as of summer 2012!
  The Regents approved a new Policy on Parental Leave and other Family Supports for Faculty and a Policy on Parental Leave and Other Family Supports for Staff that assures a period of paid parental leave of 8 weeks. 

For part-time faculty, this is pro-rated.  For part-time (50% or more) non-tenure-track instructional faculty, eligibility begins in the fifth semester of employment, as described in a technical amendment from 2004. 

--> Graduate students are not classified as employees, and are therefore not covered by FMLA or other employee policies.  

As described on this Graduate School web page, there is a Graduate Student Parental Accommodation Policy that allows a leave (a period "during which new parents may postpone completion of academic requirements") of up to 6 weeks after birth or adoption (so far, unpaid). Unlike a leave of absence, students requesting this benefit maintain their full-time student status. Students must submit a written application to the Graduate School signed by the advisor, graduate office, and chair.

As stated on this Graduate School web site, a graduate student who is expecting a child may also request an unpaid leave of absence (click here to go to the form) for up to 2 semesters.  This request must be approved by the student's faculty advisor, their Graduate Director, and the Graduate Dean.  This stops the clock on degree completion requirements.  However, consider the following.

  • During the leave of absence, you lose your student status.  See the bullets below for the implications.
  • A graduate student who takes such a leave without pay loses their health insurance and other benefits.   "Students on approved leaves of absence are not registered at the University and, therefore, do not have the rights and privileges of registered students. "  Therefore, pregnant women better not take a leave unless they have other insurance.  Men whose wives are on their insurance better not take a leave, either.
  • Students with F-1 and J-1 visas must be enrolled full-time.  "The only possible exception that might allow a student to remain in the United States while on an approved leave of absence might be a serious illness or medical condition."  It does not appear that having a baby qualifies.  So, international students will probably lose their visas if they take a leave.
  • There may also be "a loss of future funding" if a student takes an unpaid leave.  "Some outside funding agencies frown on interruptions to a degree program."  Also, "a leave of absence may mean that students may have to join a new project upon return." 
  • Of course, in addition, the grace period on any student loans may expire during the leave period.
  • Students living in Unversity housing will, upon taking such a leave, no longer be eligible to live there.
  • And you will no longer have a valid student ID.

Family Care Resource and Referral Service

In the 2009-2010 academic year, the university senate voted to approve the creation of a referral service for childcare and elder care for students, staff, and faculty.  This was signed by President Mote, and the office has been established.  See this university web site for further information.

Childcare on Campus

For a list of child care resources, see this site.  On campus, the Center For Young Children provides care for small children (ages 3-5) of faculty, staff and students, but does not provide care for infants.   Enrollment is for the academic year (September - May), with a summer camp program in July.  There is usually a waiting list for open spots.  The University offers no other child care services.  Other local child care resources are summarized on the graduate student life handbook web site.

The PCWI site says that the PCWI "... has persevered in its efforts to convince the University to provide adequate childcare for its students and employees" since the CYC "could not pretend to fulfill the needs of a whole campus community."  And also that "The Commission has lobbied for a 'school's out' program to provide care for children whose schools are not in session, a flexible drop-in care program for students who need childcare during classes, and expanded full-time day care.  According to Campus Chaplain Elizabeth Platz, who in her ex officio capacity has worked on the issue of childcare for twenty years, the childcare committee is presently looking at an intergenerational center.  As envisioned by the Commission, the center would include four facets: a resource center, adult day care, childcare, and interdepartmental collaboration with internships and field experience."

The University's Strategic Plan commits to creating another child care center as part of the new East Campus initiative to create a new town center:  "The University will ensure the establishment of high quality day-care facilities as part of the Town Center project or elsewhere."

According to Douglas M. Duncan, VP of Administrative Affairs, the current plans (as of 6/19/08) are for the day care center to be housed in the City Hall of the University of Maryland's new East Campus site.  The plans are for a 12,000 sq. ft. center, which would be able to handle approximately 150 children, with the focus being on infants through toddlers.  There is, at the present time, no plan for accomodating older children, nor for elder care.  These plans were based on a market study that was done (it's not clear if this is public, or where to find it).  Faculty, staff, and students would have first priority for the available slots, and the remaining ones would be open to the College Park community.  The center is anticipated to open in about 3 years.  The center will not be managed by the University, but by a commercial company (to be determined).


Postdocs are usually classified by Human Resources as Faculty Research Associates or Faculty Research Assistants, which are positions that are covered by faculty leave policies.  The following information came from this Graduate School web site.

Postdoctoral Research Associates are employee-trainees who receive salaries funded by research grants and are employed as academic or staff personnel who work under a principal investigator whose research proposal is funded by the government or other external entity.  PRAs are eligible for benefits.

Postdoctoral Fellows receive stipends, rather than a salary, funded by either institutional or individual research fellowships, so they are no classified as employees.  They are therefore not eligible for benefits, but they can purchase health insurance through the University health plan (at a cost of $1300-$5500/year).  Fellows should register with the Graduate School.

Tuition Remission

Faculty and staff, and their spouses and dependents, are eligible for tuition remission benefits.

Lactation Room

Martin Hall has a Parental Use Room,  facility for breast-feeding, pumping, and other parent-related activities that require privacy.  Advance reservations should be made on the web site.


Related Pages

Other women faculty in the Clark School, and the women's community.


Women who historically made a difference at Maryland.


The Greer Report, from 1988: Making a Difference for Women