Comments on: Maternity leave: a request for strategies and advice History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:24:08 +0000 hourly 1 By: pregnantinnc Tue, 07 Apr 2009 03:30:09 +0000 God, I wish I worked at a real university. Here in the middle of nowhere NC, the community college thinks a 25 hour load (I am not kidding) is normal. My “other duties” are nonpaid (direct and costume a full length show every semester).

Ok…enough bitching.

I am due mid-semester.

When I told the uppers, they said, “What are you going to do?” And I replied, “Have it.”


By: Professor Zero Sun, 17 Aug 2008 01:05:42 +0000 I favor the year off at 90% pay.

On the 60 hours – well ours is in the faculty handbook and it is used to evaluate annual reports, calculate merit evaluations, and so on.

A 3 hour course is theoretically worth 12 hours. If you are an instructor with no research, service, or administrative responsibilities, your course load is 5 3 hour courses per semester. 5 x 12 = 60.

If you are a professor with teaching responsibilities defined at 50%, then you teach 5 3 hour courses per year. The remaining 30 hours a week are for research, service, and administration (if any). There are some guidelines about how many publications one should be able to get out in that time, too.

By: Knitting Clio Fri, 15 Aug 2008 21:17:31 +0000 I think this discussion demonstrates the relevance of disability studies/issues to ALL persons in academia — a good way of thinking of this is that in some ways we are all temporarily able-bodied (as some disability scholars have put it). Perhaps some of the activism regarding reasonable accommodations in this regard would be helpful.

By: Historiann Fri, 15 Aug 2008 11:38:06 +0000 Thanks for the updates, New Kid. The summer birth strategy is interesting. How many women arrive at late August cranky and irritable that they spent their summers nursing unappreciative and inscrutible infants, instead of writing a prizewinning book or doing research in a fabulous new location? (I’m just saying that there may be advantages to giving birth during the academic term, if you can work something out.)

And MS: Thanks for stopping by to comment. TAs can be very helpful, but only if you have them, and since the person in question has a 4-4 load, I’m doubtful that she’ll have all that many at her disposal. But, it’s another variable to consider.

Why can’t we just have a year off at 90% pay as Canadians do? And yet, their dollar is as strong as ours these days…

By: New Kid on the Hallway Fri, 15 Aug 2008 04:08:30 +0000 The problem with the FMLA thing is that 1) not everyone can afford to take 12 weeks off without pay, and 2) semesters are usually 14-16 weeks, so getting the 12 weeks off still leaves you figuring out how to negotiate the other 2-4 weeks (perhaps the only situation in which quarters are superior to semesters? ;-D). Plus, if you can’t time your baby conveniently :-P and the 12 weeks are divided between 2 semesters, it can be hard to navigate, too. (There was a column in the Chronicle sometime in the last few years about the growing tend of professors’ children all being born in the summer. Obviously planning doesn’t always work, but every academic mom I know has *tried*, with a planned pregnancy, to give birth in the summer.)

I liked the comment from H-Women about UK policies. Canada gives you a year of leave. Sigh.

Oh, profgrrrl just posted recently about how she worked out maternity leave for next spring, here

By: MS Fri, 15 Aug 2008 01:37:37 +0000 (Doesn’t FMLA entitle you to 12 weeks of unpaid leave?)

Can you make this into an “opportunity” for the graduate students in your department to take over a couple of your classes each, taking responsibility for teaching mini-units or whatever?

By: Ann Bartow Thu, 14 Aug 2008 19:32:39 +0000 Another can of worms: Bringing babies to work. People feel like they ought to be free to do this, especially if they have their own offices, which is very understandable. But the noise/disruption factor sometimes creates a LOT of angry feelings in colleagues that can blow back later.

By: Indyanna Thu, 14 Aug 2008 18:48:36 +0000 Prof. Zero: I’d be curious to know what it means to say that your U’s work week is “defined” as sixty hours? Would any employer admit officially that it envisions a non-executive category of its staff as being on-clock half again as long as the American average week has been understood for generations? In our state system we fill out mandated reports each semester estimating our time in various categories. We run up all sorts of law associate numbers (and maybe even work more than that). But since it’s just a self-reported estimate that disappears into the data hole, who knows what it means? Do universities typically put in print a quantitative definition of the faculty work week? If so, and it’s anything like 60, that might be a very useful number to have “out there” in the supposed public debates about the academy and its worth.

(These numbers, of course, presumably include what we sometimes like to call “my own work…,” which I suppose we really ought to be paying THEM for the privilege of doing under their auspices, right? :))

By: Historiann Thu, 14 Aug 2008 01:26:11 +0000 Prof. Zero–thanks for the thoughts on disability leave–that’s a good one.

And Tracy, thanks for stopping by to comment. I think you’re exactly right that no one at work will ever appreciate or even notice that you’re killing yourself to get back to work right after you deliver. I curse those senior women who were dismissive of your reasonable need for accomodation. (How nice that they feel it all worked out OK for them–but there are no guarantees. Some people end up on mandatory bed rest. Some of us have children who live in the NICU for a month or two. Some people have traumatic birth injuries that need to be repeatedly fixed because they’re not healing properly.) That’s just bullying in defense of their failure to change the system or become your advocates. And *please* don’t beat up on yourself. The system is clearly rigged to make it very difficult to request a maternity leave, let alone negotiate it all by yourself.

Indyanna, I hear what you’re saying about our unique, irreplaceable selves, but I’m sure that most of us would be relieved not to have the responsibility of overseeing our classes from a distance while recovering from heart attacks/surgeries/childbirth/etc. I’d feel perfectly happy about being replaced without any sweat or anxiety on my part! (Hey–what do we pay administrators to do anyway? Like you said, it happens all the time in every other line of work, and yet the earth still rotates on its axis…)

By: Professor Zero Thu, 14 Aug 2008 01:02:13 +0000 This is really important:

“…no one will ever appreciate the fact that you came back quickly and sacrificed your family life to alleviate the burden on the institution. No one. Ever.”

You might also check to see what sort of paid *disability* leave you have – this is sometimes different from and (maybe) in addition to sick leave.

You might also talk to the business office / HRM before you talk to the dean. They (if they are on their game) will be aware of solutions, at least in terms of how leave is calculated etc., that the dean is not.

For example, by state law, my university can give partial sick leave. That is: if I have accrued 6 weeks of paid sick leave, and I have an illness or health issue such that I can work part time, but for the convenience of everyone, need to have that schedule for the entire semester (i.e., part time all semester as opposed to 6 weeks gone and then back full time), the 6 weeks of leave can be broken up into hours and spread out over the semester.

I did this once because of an injury, and my own school didn’t know it could be done and couldn’t have told me.
I knew about it because the HRM office at another state school did. My school was then glad to find out, because it was more convenient for them and it was useful to know about.

Illustration: In my case what I needed was one course release so I could have time to make physical therapy appointments (in the second half of the semester) and have time to compensate for my slowness, given that my right arm (I am right handed) was in a rigid cast from fingers to shoulder for the first half of the semester.

One course was considered to be 12 hours a week, and 12×15 is 180, and 180 divided by 60 (our work week is defined as 60 hours) is 3, so I only had to take 15 days of leave to get released from one course.

It worked out nicely – the course I was released from was a multisection one a lot of people teach, so one of the instructors got paid overtime, out of the general fund, to give my section of it in addition to hers.