II - Extension of Tenure Clock for Childbearing

Preamble: The goal of this policy is to take away the career disadvantage that women currently face from pregnancy, childbearing, and nursing an infant. For example, travel is restricted by all of these aspects of a woman's biological role just at the time that attendance at conferences may be particularly important. Or, another example, women who work in areas near hazardous material may be hampered in carrying out their research.

Rationale: The problem that this policy is meant to address is the following:

Currently, 52% of women in the School of Engineering have children: 58% of the tenured women and 42% of untenured women. In the Sloan School, 29% of the women have children: 50% of the tenured women and 9% of the untenured.

Nationally, 82.5% (US Census Bureau, 1997) of women aged 40-44 have borne a child. The final Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Family and Work, 1990 showed that 82% of male faculty have children compared to 53% of female faculty who responded to the survey.

This policy is offered as an experiment for five years. It will be carefully monitored, and will be evaluated and reviewed at the end of the five-year period.

The Institute has always allowed faculty to request from the Provost an extension of the tenure clock for extraordinary circumstances. This policy allows adoptive parents, if warranted by the circumstances, to make such a request. It also recognizes that there may be occasions when a faculty member whose partner has borne a child is faced with extraordinary circumstances that justify such a request: e.g. triplets, death or incapacity of the mother, etc.

The assumption, however, is that this policy is meant to acknowledge the biological role of women and is not meant to lead to "clock creep": a slow extension of the tenure clock to 9 years.

Policy: In recognition of the effects that pregnancy and childbirth can have on a woman's ability to perform all the tasks necessary and expected to achieve tenure, a woman who bears one or more children during her tenure probationary period will have that period extended by one year. As in all tenure cases, a tenure review can take place prior to the end of the probationary period and that possibility should be assessed annually.

In recognition of the time and energy that adoption can take, adoptive parents (both male and female) may request such an extension from the Provost. The Provost will grant the extension if special circumstances warrant it.

As is generally the case, a faculty member whose partner has borne a child may make such a request to the Provost. The Provost will grant the extension if special circumstances warrant it.

 

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