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May 8, 2007, Volume 53, No. 33

Since 1991, the University has had a policy permitting standing faculty to take a reduction in duties of up to 50% for a period not to exceed six years. The policy currently in effect takes into account the impact of a reduction in duties on the length of the probationary period, but requires a substantial reduction in duties before an extension is granted. For junior faculty in their probationary period, a reduction of duties of 50% for two years qualifies them for an extension by one year of the probationary period. Seeking more flexibility in managing their work-life balance, some junior faculty members expressed the desire to take a more modest reduction in duties over a longer period of time, for instance a 20% reduction over five years, and still be able to qualify for an extension of the probationary period. In response, Deputy Provost Janice Bellace convened a group of associate deans to draft a proposal, and initiated a consultation process that included the Council of Deans, the Academic Planning and Budget Committee, and the Faculty Senate Committee on Administration. The process culminated in the re-drafting of the reduction in duties paragraphs in section II.E.2 of the Faculty Handbook. (One reason for a total redraft was simply to provide an easily comprehensible description of the policy). The main substantive change relates to the greater flexibility in qualifying for an extension of the probationary period. The revision also lists some “good and sufficient” reasons for a reduction in duties, as the Provost’s Office has become aware that many faculty do not realize that reasons such as elder care qualify. The policy on reduction in duties in anticipation of retirement is found in section II.E.9, on Phased Retirement. Faculty wanting more than a 50% reduction in duties for personal reasons should consider taking the leave of absence as described under section II.E.2.

The following is the new policy, which will take effect as of July 1, 2007, and will replace the current reduction in duties paragraphs in section II.E.2.


II.E.2. Faculty Leaves of Absence

Reduction in Duties

(Source:  Provost’s Memorandum January 23, 1991; revised January 2006, April  2007)

Members of the standing faculty, the research faculty and Academic Clinicians may request a reduction in duties for a period not to exceed six years. Such a reduction is granted only for whole years and requires Provost approval prior to the start of a reduction in duties. The Provost’s approval of a reduction in duties is for renewable terms of one year, although faculty who are aware they will require a reduction in duties of more than one year should indicate the anticipated period of reduction in their initial request. A reduction in duties will generally be granted for good and sufficient reason such as serious illness or injury, care of an ill family member, care of dependent children, or elder care. A reduction in duties is for a percentage of full duties not to exceed 50%. Reduction in duties is always accompanied by a proportional reduction in salary and in those benefits, such as life insurance and retirement contributions, that are salary-based.

For untenured members of the standing faculty on the tenure track, assistant professors on the clinician-educator track, and assistant professors on the research track, the probationary period will be extended, subject to Section II.E.3 Policy on Extension of the Probationary Periods, as follows:

1) a reduction of duties of 50% for two years results in the extension of the probationary period by one year; or

2) a reduction of duties of less than 50% (.50) may result in extension of the probationary period if the sum of the proportion of reduction multiplied by the number of years for which reduction is taken equals or exceeds 1. 

For example, all of the following would allow a one year extension: 33% (0.33) reduction for three years; 25% (0.25) reduction for four years; 40% (0.40) reduction for three years; 30% (0.30) for four years; and 40% (.40) for one year and 30% (.30) for two years. An extension of the probationary period by one year does not take effect until the reduction taken equals 1. The timing of any scheduled reappointment review will be adjusted as appropriate, subject to the approval of the Provost.

[Other related Provisions: Section II.E.9 pertaining to faculty contemplating move to emeritus status. Section II.E.2, pertaining to personal leaves for child care or elderly care.] 

Almanac - May 8, 2007, Volume 53, No. 33