Note: Thank you for your interest in ADVANCE Project TRACS, our NSF funded Institutional Transformational Grant which ended August 31, 2017. The pages that follow are historical documents for informational purposes only.

ADVANCE generated new programs, such as a dual career assistance program, and built on existing programs, such as the donated sick leave pool, providing more flexible solutions for work-life integration in general and during major life transitions. Many of these programs are sustained through the Family Advocate in the Provost's Office or in HR's Family Resources. Below are some resources to get you started at your own institution.

Family Advocate Program

The Family Advocate position was established in 2009 with support from the President's Office, the Provost's Office, and the Women's Faculty Caucus. First titled "Parent Advocate", the name changed in 2011 to better reflect the diversity of family issues experienced by faculty, students and staff across the lifespan. The role of the Family Advocate is to: 

  1. Help parents and other family members navigate the University System and learn about MSU's policies and programs available to meet their individual and family needs. 
  2.  Serve as a "first stop" for faculty, students, and staff to receive information regarding who to contact with questions about current programs such as:
    1. Family and medical leave across the lifespan 
    2. Child-birth and adoption  
    3. Breastfeeding
    4. The Family Care Room 
    5. Child Care on Campus

The program consists of a University Family Advocate, two Faculty Candidate Family Advocates, and a Student Family Support Program Manager (through the Return to Learn Program). The program is sustained through the Provost's Office and the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success.

Sick Leave Donation Pool

It takes new faculty hires about three years to save up enough sick leave to cover an extended family caregiving leave. In the meanwhile, many faculty members who have been here for years have accrued myriad sick leave hours they will never use. This program allows those with leave to donate into a common pool, which eligible MSU faculty and staff can draw on as needed. The previous donated sick leave model at MSU allowed for “direct grants” of leave only, from one named donor to one named recipient. The policy (1045.00) was approved in 2013 and is managed by HR as part of its Family Resources. Yearly communications are sent out in November to solicit donations to the pool.

Modified Duties for Family Caregiving Leave

Faculty Modified Duties (FMD) provides a process and policy around family caregiving. FMD is intended to assist faculty experiencing major life transitions by providing a release from teaching or other appropriate duties for up to one semester once per triggering event without a reduction in pay and without an expectation of enhancement of other duties. The policy was incorporated into the new Faculty Handbook with an effective date of July 1, 2017. The process is managed through the Provost's Office.

Dual Career Community Placement Liaison

In order to recruit excellent faculty or staff, it is increasingly important to consider the employment needs of the spouse or partner. ADVANCE Project TRACS worked with HR to create  a Dual Career Assistance Program with a Community Placement Liaison position. The Community Placement Liaison provides assistance in finding positions for accompanying academic partners as well as partners seeking employment off campus. This program is designed to aid the spouses or partners of newly recruited or recently hired faculty and staff to identify potential employment opportunities in the Gallatin Valley or at Montana State University. The program works together with the Partner Accommodation Process (see below).

Partner Accommodations

The purpose of the partner accommodation is to recruit or retain faculty members by making every effort to find creative solutions for the partner. The team developed a form and process for requesting and negotiating partner hire accommodations. The process is now overseen by the Provost's Office and the form can be found on the Provost Office website under "Hiring Faculty".

Opt out of Stop-the-Clock Policy Change

Previously at MSU, tenure clock stoppage was on an "opt in" basis – the faculty member must have known about and initiated the request for a revised schedule. The team worked to create an "opt out" policy that treats a one-year clock stoppage as the default, and thus "normal" and not stigmatized. Under the "Extending the Tenure Review Period" policy, there is now an "Automatic Extension" for a number of life events, including childbirth. The policy was incorporated into the new Faculty Handbook with an effective date of July 1, 2017.