Professors and lecturers in ongoing or tenure-track appointments with one year of service at the College who have primary or coequal responsibility for the care of a newborn or a newly placed child under age six are eligible for a two-course reduction in teaching load with no reduction in base salary or benefits. The professors profiled below belong to the first wave of couples who have taken advantage of Bowdoin’s enhanced parental leave policy. Having a semester free from teaching responsibilities afforded them the time they needed to continue their research while taking care of their new child.
"Parental leaves were critical for me. The demands of parenting (especially in the early going) forced me to shorten my workdays and to prepare myself for unpredictable interruptions to my schedule. Had I needed to maintain my standard teaching schedule, my research, by necessity, would have to have been placed on the back burner. That would have been very problematic for me because I maintain several collaborations with scientists from research institutes and large universities. They all understood the demands on a new parent, however, even without those added demands, my teaching obligations (generally far greater than theirs) make it challenging for me to "keep up" and contribute to our joint efforts on an on-going basis.
If I am to maintain these collaborations, I need to 'nourish' them routinely. I can't 'check out' for semesters at a time. Parental leave made it possible for me to stay engaged with my collaborations. As a consequence, I was able maintain research momentum in a manner that will positively impact Bowdoin students long after my leave has passed."
"My daughter was born in the beginning of January and I remained chair of the geology department over that spring semester, but taught no classes. The College was able to hire a visiting professor to teach my course who greatly enriched our offerings by adding an expertise in biogeochemistry that we didn't have at that time. So I felt that the department was in good hands.
During that semester, I attended department and college meetings, advised a student on his honors project, and started two new research collaborations. I did some work from home, and when I came in, I carried my baby in a front pack.
Sometimes, people who work in field and laboratory research have difficulty in balancing parenting with careers. Being a mother is incredibly important to me, and Bowdoin's policy and flexibility toward parental leave has been most welcome. It's an attitude that, 'We have confidence that you're going to return and do well.' "
"When my daughter was born, I chose the option of teaching half time all year. It was wonderful in those zombie days of being a new parent, while getting two hours of sleep, to teach just one class. And there were a lot of students who I wanted to continue to work with, so that way I could still teach them.
It also gave me some time to reflect on the ways I was teaching courses especially composition. I decided to dedicate a day each week to lab work, which allows for regular critiques and performances of students' work, and bringing in guest lecturers and performers.
But the main thing is that it really allowed me to see my baby grow for the first year of her life. The way my wife and I worked it out, I had full responsibility for her for two and a half days and for all the nighttime stuff. She bonded pretty equally to the both of us. Even to this day, I'm the first person she sees when she gets up and the first to put her to sleep. I'm hoping that being able to spend that much time with my daughter at that stage of her life planted seeds we'll be able to draw on for the rest of her childhood and her life."
The Bowdoin College Children's Center is a warm and caring environment that stimulates children in their discovery of themselves, others, and the world around them. The Bowdoin College Children's Center was founded in the fall of 1988 in response to the strong need for a high-quality early childhood program for children of faculty, staff, and residents of surrounding communities. The non-profit center is licensed by the Maine Department of Human Services, and is nationally accredited, validated every five years by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
The following is the official policy text from the 2009-10 Bowdoin Faculty Handbook
A summary of Maternity and Parental Leave options for all employees can be found below: Appendix B of this Handbook.
1. Course Reduction
a) Faculty and lecturers in ongoing or tenure-track appointments with one year of service at the College who have primary or coequal responsibility for the care of a newborn or a newly placed child under age six are eligible for a two-course reduction in teaching load with no reduction in base salary or benefits. In the case of faculty who are parents of the same child, the course reduction may be shared; however, the total reduction in teaching load may not exceed two courses per birth or adoption event. Faculty members may take the total two-course reduction during the semester in which the birth or adoption occurs, during the semester following the birth or adoption, or may spread the two-course reduction over those two semesters (i.e., one course reduction in each semester). In the case of departments which have a variance from the normal four-course load per year, it is anticipated that the two-course reduction will provide complete release from teaching if taken in a single semester. For tenure-track faculty or lecturers with on-going appointments in their first year, a two-course reduction may be granted by the Dean for Academic Affairs in consultation with the relevant department chair or program director. Faculty on visiting appointments are not eligible for course reduction.
b) In the semester(s) in which the course reduction is taken, a faculty member is expected to continue with non-teaching responsibilities to the department and College such as advising, committee assignments, and independent studies or honors projects. Departments will be responsible for providing whatever coverage of these duties might be necessary if the faculty member is unable to perform them for a short period of time.
c) A faculty member should notify the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs of a birth or adoption event with as much advance notice as feasible. The Dean’s office will meet with the faculty member and then consult with department chairs and/or program directors. The specific distribution of the two-course reduction must be approved by the Dean in consultation with the faculty member and department chairs and/or program directors.
d) A faculty member receiving a course reduction affirms him/herself to be the primary or coequal caregiver of the child during the time of the course reduction. Course reductions are only available to faculty in the role of primary or coequal caregivers.
e) Faculty who are not primary or coequal caregivers may request exemption from non-teaching duties for the semester in which her or his child is born/adopted or the following semester, upon timely notification of the Dean’s Office of an anticipated birth or adoption. Departments will be responsible for providing whatever coverage of these duties might be necessary.
f) Other leave time may be available, based on College and federal policies, for female faculty during pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum. If a leave is needed for medical reasons, the College’s paid sick leave for faculty applies. As with any other short-term medical event, the expectation is that departments or programs will cover classes in such instances without additional resources from the College. Other leave time is available to mothers and fathers following childbirth or adoption through the Family and Medical Leave Policy. The policies described in 1-4 above are in addition to federal and institutional leave policies. A mother or father who takes a FMLA following birth or adoption remains eligible for up to a two-course reduction in teaching load during the semester following the leave.
2. Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period
a) Any faculty member who becomes a parent through birth or adoption, regardless of whether s/he takes a parental leave, will receive an extension of the tenure probationary period for a period equal to a parental leave (one semester) for each birth or adoption event. The faculty member should notify the Dean for Academic Affairs in the semester of the birth or adoption event, at which time the tenure probationary period will be officially extended. Because the tenure process at Bowdoin is on an annual calendar, each such one-semester extension will round to an additional year on the tenure clock. This automatic extension of the tenure probationary period does not preclude a faculty member from seeking earlier consideration for tenure (i.e., any time before the tenure clock expires).
b) A standard letter will be placed in the file of a faculty member whose tenure probationary period is extended because of a birth or adoption event, and included in the materials for reappointment and tenure. The letter will outline the policy on extension of the tenure probationary period for a parental leave and state that the criteria for review and the expectations for research and teaching are identical for all faculty members at the conclusion of the tenure probationary period.
7 Approved by the faculty May 7, 2007 (07-5-3).
This section summarizes provisions of the Employee Handbook and provides a framework for translating the terms of paid parental leaves to the circumstances faced by faculty members. See also Section I.H. of the Handbook for the faculty policy on parental leave and provisions for ongoing faculty members.
Taking a leave of absence for maternity (or a related medical condition) or adoption of a child in an employee’s home may actually be a combination of one or more types of leaves: medical leave which can be paid through the use of sick time (for a birth mother); family medical leave as mandated by federal and state law; paid parental leave; and unpaid leave.
Your medical leave begins when your doctor determines that you are unable to work due to your pregnancy, childbirth, or related complications. At this point, the College requires a doctor's note indicating when your leave should begin as well as an estimate of how long it will extend.
You may use paid sick time for the leave period designated by your physician (please refer to Employee Handbook for eligibility for paid sick time). Once your doctor determines that you are physically able to return to work, your use of sick time ends and the medical leave portion of your leave is over. For this reason, you will need to provide another doctor’s note releasing you to work even if you do not return immediately. When your medical leave ends, you are eligible to use your parental leave.
In compliance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), Bowdoin allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a twelve month period for specified family and medical reasons, including the birth of a child of an employee or adoption of a child in the employee's home. You must have worked at Bowdoin for at least one year and you must have worked 1,250 hours during the 12-month period prior to the FMLA leave request to be eligible for FMLA leave. Although the College must track FMLA time as required by law, sick time (for birth mothers) and parental leave (for mothers and fathers) provide paid time off during many FMLA leaves of absence. Please see the Employee Handbook for more details about FMLA leaves of absence.
Paid parental leave is available to all employees who have been employed by the College for at least one year of continuous service in a benefits-eligible position at the time they have a child(ren) born or placed for adoption. The paid parental leave options for all eligible employees (options for faculty are outlined below) are either up to 4 weeks of full-time leave at full pay, or up to 8 weeks of leave at half pay, to be taken within 6 months of the birth or placement for adoption. Appropriate documentation must be provided (e.g., the same documentation required to add the child to the parent's medical insurance plan). In general, paid parental leave for birth mothers begins after the disability (medical leave) portion of maternity leave is over.
Paid time off for parental leave is considered part of the 12 weeks time off allowed under the Family Medical Leave Act.
See Section I.H. of this Handbook for specific provisions offered to ongoing members of the Faculty.
EXTENDING YOUR LEAVE for mothers and fathers
FMLA provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a twelve-month period. For mothers, the length of your medical maternity leave may be longer or shorter than 12 weeks. You may elect to return to work as soon as your doctor indicates that you are physically able to do your job (which signals the end of your medical leave). Before returning to work, if you had not done so earlier in your leave, you must provide a note from your doctor indicating that you are physically able to return to your job.
Mothers and fathers may elect to remain out until the 12 weeks of family medical leave expire. Once the twelve weeks of family medical leave expires, you are expected to return to work at your regular schedule unless your leave has been approved for a longer period of time.
If you are being paid through the payroll system (e.g., for sick time or parental leave), you are considered in a "paid" status. Your contributions for health and/or dental insurance plans will continue through payroll deduction and the College will continue to pay its contribution toward those plans. Premiums for all other insurance plans paid fully by the College (e.g., long term disability insurance, basic life insurance) as well as retirement contributions, will continue to be paid by the College.
During the first 12 weeks of unpaid family medical leave you will be responsible for only the amount that is normally deducted through payroll. After 12 weeks, you will become responsible for the full premiums for all of your maintained benefit plans. If you begin an unpaid leave of absence, you will be billed monthly for your benefits. Details about the full premium costs associated with each plan are available in Human Resources.
Health Insurance Plans: The birth or adoption of your child is a "qualified event" which allows you to add your baby to your health plan. You must do so within 31 days of the birth of your child or the health insurance carrier may deny claims (such as the nursery charges!). The change or new enrollment takes effect the day the child is born (adopted or placed for adoption). Please stop by Human Resources to pick up or fill out an enrollment form.
Medical and/or Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts: This "qualified event" allows you to either change or initiate a medical and/or dependent care reimbursement account providing that the changes you make to these plans are consistent with the event. You must initiate or make changes within 31 days. The change or new enrollment will take effect the first of the month following the date that you sign the enrollment form. This means that you can only submit bills for the amended or new amount that are dated the first of the month (or after) following the date of your signature on the enrollment form -- so plan this amount carefully. The IRS strictly regulates these plans and if you cannot claim reimbursement for eligible expenses, you will lose funds remaining in the account at year-end.
Beneficiary Changes: You may wish to change the beneficiaries on various life insurance plans as a result of the birth or adoption of your child. The College provides Basic Life Insurance (two times your annual salary rounded up to the nearest thousand) to you as a benefits-eligible employee. The Enrollment form has a section for you to indicate beneficiaries for this plan. If you are enrolled in Supplemental Life Insurance, you may change designation of beneficiaries on the same form.
To change the beneficiaries for your regular or supplemental retirement accounts, contact Human Resources for the appropriate form(s).