U I C WISEST - Women in Science and Engineering System Transformation

Life-Friendly Policies and Programs

We recognize the importance of life-friendly policies in attracting and retaining talented faculty. The academy must be perceived as expecting the highest level of scholarship and teaching while extending its welcome and support throughout the life stages of its faculty. WISEST will examine the current policies and identify opportunities to warm the climate to address the current needs of faculty, and make life-friendly policies more accessible and understood. Specifically, WISEST will:

  1. Assess the Impact of Support Policies
    The effectiveness of current policies will be examined with campus partners, and recommendations will be made to the Provost where there is opportunity for improvement.

  2. Increase the Knowledge of Support Policies
    The UIC Work Climate Survey indicated that many faculty are unaware of major support programs. WISEST will seek to increase faculty awareness.

  3. Standardize Policy Implementation
    Comprehensive communication on the availability and use of policies will be provided to faculty and department heads to facilitate consistent and appropriate use of life-friendly policies.


Below is a sampling and short overview of current life-friendly policies and benefits to support career excellence and the worklife of the faculty. For a complete list and full description of all UIC policies, see the Faculty Handbook.

Life Work Friendly Policies
(Listed under Appendix IV:  Life/Work-Friendly Policies and Programs of the Faculty handbook). It is the policy of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to support faculty who face such issues as childbirth, adoption, child care and caring for ill children, spouses, partners, and parents.  This appendix attempts to consolidate the life/work-friendly policies and programs available to faculty as a result of University, state, and federal laws and policies. Complete information regarding a policy or a program is not listed in this appendix.

Modified Teaching Duties 
The purpose of this policy is to address the situation involved when a faculty member is responsible for semester-long teaching responsibilities after a new child enters the home. This policy enables the primary caregiver (or co-equal primary caregivers) of a new child to spend more time with the child in the first year the child is home.

Tenure Hold Policy
In the event that the undertaking of certain responsibilities leaves a tenure-track assistant professor unable to perform the functions of his/her position, the tenure probationary period for the faculty member may be interrupted. These responsibilities include those following the birth or adoption of a child, or those associated with a serious health condition or the care of a family member with a serious health condition.

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
This policy provides time-off for a serious health condition of the employee, spouse, child, or parents, and for childbirth or adoption.

Sabbatical Leave
Sabbatical leaves of absence with pay are available to enable faculty to acquire additional knowledge and competency in their respective fields.

Tenure Track Rollback 
There is flexibility in the tenure track to address life circumstances in certain situations.

Partner Accommodation 
(Listed under Section VI. Policies Governing Faculty Appointments of the Faculty Handbook). In today’s world, successful recruitment and retention of a faculty member may be dependent upon the availability of a suitable position for the spouse/partner. 

Greater Chicago Higher Education Recruitment Consortium Online
Studies have shown that eighty percent of faculty members have spouses or partners who are working professionals—and 35% of these men and 40% of these women have partners who are academics. The right job for a spouse or partner can be a key factor in successful recruitment and retention. UIC is a founding member of the Greater Chicago Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (GC HERC), an online program built to  support member institutions in recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, administrators and staff through the sharing of information and resources. GC HERC's website, gcherc.org, features a database of all job openings at member institutions, including faculty, staff, research and medical positions. Its search engine allows prospective employees to search for jobs by geographical area, job type, or institution. As of September 24, 2007, there were 22 member institutions, giving users access to a huge listing of job openings. In addition, the site will soon offer relocation information on schools, childcare centers, cultural amenities and local events, making it the most comprehensive local dual career resource for positions in academic and research institutions.  For additional information, visit gcherc.org or contact Mo-Yin Tam, Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, at moyintam@uic.edu or 312-413-3470.

Infant/Toddler/Child & Elder Care Resource & Referral Program
Between April 5, 2010 and April 4, 2011, eligible faculty may speak with a child or elder care consultant by phone or access a special website to obtain referrals, information, and consultation from the two-time award winning company of the AWLP Innovative Excellence Award, WorkLife Innovations, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nurtur Health, Inc. This new life-friendly program pilot will help recruit and retain faculty and confirm UIC's commitment to a diverse campus.

On-campus Child Care 
There are two child care centers on the west and east campuses that are accredited by
the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Domestic Partner Benefits 
(Listed under Section X. Benefits and Services of the Faculty Handbook). Health, Dental and Vision insurance are available to the same-sex domestic partner of benefits- eligible University employees.

Employee and Child-of-Employee Tuition Waiver 
(See "Tuition Waivers" under Section X. Benefits and Services of the Faculty Handbook). When certain requirements are met, tuition waivers are offered to University employees and to their children.

Adoption Assistance
(Listed on page 29 of the University of Illinois Benefits Summary guide). Assistance is available for eligible employees who are adding to their family.

(Listed under Section VI. Policies Governing Faculty Appointments of the Faculty Handbook). Junior and mid-level faculty are matched with senior faculty to network and informally exchange career enhancing information.

Underrepresented Faculty Recruitment Program (UFRP)
(See "Under-Represented Faculty Recruitment Policy" under Section VI. Policies Governing Faculty Appointments Policies Governing Faculty Appointments of the Faculty Handbook). The aim of this effort is to recruit underrepresented faculty to mirror our diverse student population.

WISEST photo rotator

Women in Science and Engineering System Transformation (WISEST)

The goal of the WISEST Initiative is to increase the number, participation, and leadership status of women — majority and minority — in academic science and engineering through institutional transformation at UIC.