TitleCentralized Faculty Modified Duties Funding Pool Request Date2012-11-19
Departmentacademic affairs
RequestorWendy Stock, Jessi Smith Phone994-7984
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts All
Proposed Dates Start: Spring 2013 End:  
This proposal seeks funding to provide consistent faculty modified duties accommodations (FMDA) at MSU. Examples of FMDA include course buyouts associated with pregnancy and childbirth. FMDA are currently funded at the department and college levels and are often inconsistently awarded. Units with adequate budgets are able to provide accommodations for FMDA-eligible faculty; units without such resources or in tight budget years cannot provide similar FMDA. Having a centralized funding pool can mitigate the inconsistent award of FMDA across units and can help avoid potential future lawsuits against MSU arising from the ad-hoc nature of FMDA.
The proposal addresses the Stewardship objective S.1 (attract, develop, and retain the best faculty and staff to achieve the MSU mission). Women faculty currently leave MSU at twice the rate than men do, and the recent ADVANCE grant includes an institutional commitment to create a modified duties policy and program, and a centralized FMDA pool will help MSU reach that goal.
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Salaries       60000       
Benefits       19614       
Materials & Supplies              
Contracted Services              
Other Operations              
TOTAL 79614     
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

This budget includes $60,000 in personnel and 32.69% benefits.  The $60,000 is enough to provide ten 3-credit course buyouts per year at the rate of $6,000 per course.

Describe the Proposal

This proposal seeks permanent base funding to provide consistent faculty modified duties (FMD) accommodations across departments and colleges at MSU.  Examples of FMD include course buyouts associated with pregnancy, childbirth, adoption, and family caregiving.  As stated in the tenure track collective bargaining agreement,

“Faculty Modified Duty is based on the current, common practice of faculty duty modification as applied to teaching, scholarly activity or service. That practice and the FMD option are derived from the authority of the department head and dean to fairly assign teaching and other duties consistent with the provisions of the individual employee contract.

The FMD option shall allow eligible faculty up to one semester of modified duties in any academic year whereby elimination or reduction of any duty in exchange for enhancement of another duty constitutes an FMD accommodation. The dean shall arrange the terms of an FMD accommodation in consultation with the department head and faculty member. Consistent with all other provisions of the CBA, no faculty shall experience reprisal for exercising the FMD option.”

In practice, faculty modified duties including maternity leaves are funded at the department and college levels.  Because of this, FMD accommodations are inconsistently awarded across departments and colleges.  Colleges and departments with adequate budgets in a given year have been able to provide a one or more course buyout for FMD-eligible faculty, while departments without such resources or in tighter budget years have not been able to provide teaching release for pregnant and other FMD-eligible faculty.  The inconsistent award of course buyouts for maternity leave, in particular, is troublesome for many faculty members.  By having a central pool to fund FMD accommodations, the inconsistent award of FMD across departments and colleges can be mitigated, and potential future lawsuits against MSU arising because of the ad-hoc nature of FMD can be avoided.

This proposal assumes that an average of 10 faculty members would be eligible and apply for FMD accommodations each year. 

Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

In addition to bringing MSU into compliance with the spirit of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the ADVANCE grant, the centralized pool of base funding for FMD will provide clarity, transparency, and consistency to the maternity and family leave accommodations made by MSU to its faculty.  Department heads who are recruiting new faculty members are often asked (particularly by female faculty members) about MSU’s maternity leave policy.  At present, department heads are faced with answering that maternity leave “depends on available department and college resources at the time of the maternity leave”.  This proposal would help MSU to better compete for female faculty by having funding set aside for FMD to be applied consistently.

Implementation Plan

Funds could become available for FMD beginning in Spring 2013 semester.  As stated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, “Regarding implementation and ongoing application of FMD: Faculty wishing to exercise this provision must submit an application form to the Dean for determination of eligibility.”  The ADVANCE grant personnel and the President's Commission on the Status of University Women can help advise the implementation of the program. Thus, the groundwork for implementation is in place already.  What is lacking is a centralized pool of resources to fund FMD.

Assessment Plan

The assessment of the centralized FMD funding could be accomplished by the Department Heads, Deans, ADVANCE grant personnel, the President's Commission on the Status of University Women, and the Provost.  The goal of the centralized funding is to generate consistency and fairness to faculty members seeking family leave, and assessment would take place by reporting the FMD accommodations to the Provost. Inconsistency in the award of FMD benefits could then be mitigated.

If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?


Dean/Director: Paula Lutz (
Executive/VP: Martha Potvin (