9 Month Faculty Parental Leave Policy Proposal

February 19, 2019
The University of Alabama Faculty Senate


Whereas, the fourth pillar of The University of Alabama’s strategic plan is to provide opportunities and resources that promote work-life balance and enhance the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff; and

Whereas, parental leave policies have been found to improve morale, productivity, recruitment and retention rates1; and

Whereas, studies have found that fathers who take time off after a birth are more involved in their child’s care during early childhood2, and that there is a positive correlation between leave taken and income of mothers; and

Whereas, discrepancies in leave implementation disadvantage some faculty3 as well as provide challenges for effective family planning; and

Whereas, a policy that is not limited by gender or sexual orientation is in line with The University of Alabama’s mission to create an accepting and inclusive work environment;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Faculty Senate of The University of Alabama that the University is encouraged to adopt the following policies regarding parental leave for 9-month full-time faculty members:

Policy for Parental Leave for 9-month Full-time Faculty Members

Those eligible for paid parental leave are 9-month full-time faculty members who are tenured or tenure-track, or those faculty with a renewable contract status who have given or are going to give birth to a child/children, or become a parent of a newly born, fostered or adopted child/children, or who are recovering from miscarriage, abortion, or any pregnancy or childbirth related health outcomes. Colleges will provide eight weeks of paid leave provided the child is born, fostered or adopted during the academic year or less than eight weeks prior to the beginning of the academic year, but this time can be extended if needed by the faculty member. This policy does not apply to temporary faculty, part-time faculty, graduate assistants, or post-doctoral associates. The following policy is intended for deans, department heads/chairs, and center/institute directors in implementing the paid parental leave policy for faculty members.

  • This policy is only for 9-month faculty members who do not earn sick or annual leave.
  • Leave is granted to cover the time necessary for the medical recovery period as defined by the individual’s health provider and/or to provide time for initial bonding with a newborn, fostered or adopted child. Under usual circumstances this time is eight weeks of paid leave. Unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave (FML) Act still applies, which means that the faculty member(s) can take additional unpaid time of up to 12 weeks as needed, as long as the FML is granted.
  • Leave runs concurrently with FML. If eight weeks are insufficient, the faculty member who has been approved for FML can request an additional four weeks as unpaid leave.
  • After the eight weeks of paid leave and in either the semester in which the 8 weeks of leave is being taken or the subsequent semester, the faculty member will be relieved of classroom and online teaching and on-campus obligations. Faculty members on such a modified duties status may, should they wish, fulfill their other professional responsibilities during the period of modified duties, including those responsibilities for which the faculty member is uniquely qualified, such as advising doctoral candidates and managing ongoing research projects. Except under extraordinary circumstances and as approved by the provost, no faculty member will be relieved of teaching responsibilities for both the fall and spring semesters. No faculty member will have teaching, administrative, research, or service expectations increased in subsequent terms as a result of his/her/their choosing to take family leave. The semester of modified duties may be concurrent with or following the paid leave period. For example, if the child is born, fostered or adopted on October 15, the faculty member may use paid leave through the end of the fall semester and receive modified duties for the spring semester. If the child is born, fostered or adopted during the summer term in which paid leave does not apply, the faculty member will receive modified duties for the fall semester.

Procedures for Requesting Leave

  • As soon as possible, the faculty member(s) should notify his/her/their department chair/head and dean of the due date/arrival date/adoption date and request assistance in planning a workload that accommodates the parental leave.
  • The department chair/head, in agreement with the faculty member, should propose a work load that accommodates the semester of modified duties.
  • This plan will be sent to the dean for review and commentary and then forwarded to the provost for final approval. All faculty leaves must be approved by the provost under the provisions in the Faculty Handbook.
  • Simultaneously, the faculty member should follow the FML approval process through their benefits partner in Human Resources. Faculty members who are not FML-eligible still must go through this process to provide the documentation required for the provost to approve the requested leave. The FML process must be initiated at least 30 days prior to the anticipated date that the faculty member will begin the leave. No leave can be approved by the provost until the faculty member has been approved for leave through the FML process.
  • Faculty members and their supervisors must document leave time, and colleges/schools should initiate a conversion to unpaid status if the faculty member does not return to work at the end of the approved paid leave period and/or FMLA period, unless subsequent medical complications or other complications following childbirth exist, which would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

1 The National Bureau of Economic Research https://www.nber.org/papers/w23069

2 Huerta, M. C., Adema, W., Baxter, J., Han, W.-J., Lausten, M., Lee, R., & Waldfogel, J. (2014). Fathers’ Leave and Fathers’ Involvement: Evidence from Four OECD Countries. European Journal of Social Security, 16(4), 308–346. https://doi.org/10.1177/138826271401600403

3 Gunn, C. M., Freund, K. M., Kaplan, S. A., Raj, A., & Carr, P. L. (2014). Knowledge and perceptions of family leave policies among female faculty in academic medicine. Women’s Health Issues, 24(2), e205-e210.

Passed unanimously, with two abstention, by the University of Alabama Faculty Senate on February 19, 2019.

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Contact: Sarah Miesse, semiesse@culverhouse.ua.edu

Undergraduate Council Proposal


Review, evaluate, and provide recommendations to the Provost on proposals for new undergraduate academic programs and significant changes to existing academic programs; engage in review of existing academic programs; promote quality in undergraduate academic programs; and review and develop University-wide policies for undergraduate students including the areas of admission and retention, scholarships, advising, and financial aid.


Consists of faculty members elected by the faculty within each college or school providing undergraduate degrees on the basis of one member for each 1,000 undergraduate majors, with each qualifying college/school having at least two members. The Honors College will also select one member from its faculty. The Provost (or designated Associate Provost) will serve as chairperson. One student member is appointed by the SGA and one non-Greek student representative is appointed by the Vice President for Student Life. One faculty member is appointed by the Faculty Senate. The following shall serve as liaison members: Dean of University Libraries (or representative), University Registrar, the Dean of Students, and the Director for Institutional Effectiveness.




Provost (or designated Associate Provost)

~32 elected members from colleges granting undergraduate degrees

Elected faculty member from Honors College


Dean, University Libraries or representative

University Registrar

Dean of Students, Student Life

Director, Institutional Effectiveness


Representative appointed by SGA

Representative appointed by Student Life​


Representative appointed by Faculty Senate

Membership from colleges if elected currently:

A&S 8

Commerce Business 8

Communication Info Sciences 2

Education 2

Engineering 5

Honors College 1

Human Environmental 3

Nursing 2

Social Work 2

Total 33

Note: As elected members of the undergraduate council will serve three years terms, only one-third of the members will be elected each of the first three years after the council is established so that members will have staggered terms.

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Proposal to establish a: Commission on Race, Slavery, and Civil Rights at The University of Alabama

October 16, 2018

The University of Alabama Faculty Senate

We the members of the Faculty Senate at The University of Alabama propose that the University establish a formal commission to investigate the history of race, slavery, and civil rights on our campus, to publicize and to share the results, and to make recommendations for a comprehensive and responsible plan for curating, teaching, and promoting sustained dialogue on the history of The University of Alabama.

The purpose of this commission would be to share the rich and diverse history of UA from its slave past to its continued trajectory toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive campus since the first African American students enrolled. The commission will build on previous efforts that resulted in the Little Round House/Guard House historical marker, slavery apology marker, Hood-Malone Plaza, and the recent Autherine Lucy Foster historical marker. The intent is to encourage sustainability and continued engagement through:

  • Exploring the role of slavery and its legacy at The University of Alabama;
  • Promoting scholarly research using manuscript collections, conferences, and symposia;
  • Creating the necessary infrastructure for institutionalizing alternative campus tours (guided and self-guided);
  • Updating current campus tours to include more accurate and inclusive historical information about the university;
  • Examining the commemorative landscape for potential additional markers and signage that will better represent university history;
  • Creating permanent museum displays, library displays, and digital exhibitions on slavery and civil rights at The University;
  • Making recommendation for the undergraduate curriculum and/or orientation programs (BAMA Bound) regarding possible inclusion of the University history;
  • Creating strategic co-curricular activities for students;
  • Coordinating with other community groups and institutions doing similar work; and
  • Securing federal, state, and private funding for supporting proposed efforts.

The work of the proposed commission will be ongoing and transparent. The collaborative efforts will ensure that all campus stakeholders – students, prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors –can learn about Alabama’s history and engage in valuable conversations with empathy and respect. Moreover, the work will not belong to one individual or entity but will create the necessary institutional infrastructure for sustainability. It will fulfill several of the recommendations entailed in the October 2017 Diversity Mapping Project report. Possible Task Force Members:

  • Faculty currently engaged with researching campus history (individuals have choice to participate or not)
  • Faculty Senate representatives UA Museums and Libraries representatives
  • Black Faculty and Staff Association representatives
  • Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Division of Student Life Passed unanimously, with one abstention, by the University of Alabama Faculty Senate on October 16, 2018.

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Karen Steckol Academic Regalia Loan Project

To encourage the participation of faculty at commencement exercises, the Faculty Senate has assembled a collection of academic regalia. This project was initiated by the late Dr. Karen Steckol, former President of the Faculty Senate, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Communicative Disorders; in her memory the program was named the Karen Steckol Academic Regalia Loan Program.

The regalia are maintained by the Senate and loaned to faculty on a first-come, first-served basis immediately prior to each commencement ceremony.

Please contact Linda Knowles (lknowles@cba.ua.edu; 348-6635), Administrative Secretary to the Faculty Senate, to reserve regalia and to arrange pick-up.  Clean regalia must be returned to room 401 Martha Parham West between 8:00 am and 4:45 pm on Tuesday or Thursday of the week immediately following Commencement.

Regalia donations may be delivered to room 401 Martha Parham West between 8:00 am and 4:45 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Please contact Linda Knowles (lknowles@cba.ua.edu; 348-6635) to ensure that she is available to accept the donation or the return of borrowed regalia.

Results of the Faculty Climate Survey

A Faculty Climate Survey was administered to full-time and part-time faculty by the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama during April 2015. The survey itself was written by the Faculty Life committee of the Senate during the 2014-15 academic year, with the goal of gathering the opinions and interests of the faculty with regard to a set of key issues. The survey was designed so that it might be administered in a similar form in future years, so as to gather comparative data.

The survey results are in two documents:

Faculty Climate Survey 2015 – tabular data

Faculty Climate Survey 2015 – narrative comments