Childbirth & Adoption Accommodation
In recognition of the challenges of balancing the demands of graduate study and parenting a new child, this policy aims to improve the environment for Graduate Assistant (GAs) student-parents by addressing the conflicts and issues that may arise as the two goals of advanced education and parenthood intersect.
Childbirth/Adoption Accommodation Policy
The goal is to maintain the GA's full-time status in his or her academic program and to promote academic progress with reasonable adjustments to be negotiated within the department. The policy provides accommodation to ease the new parent's return to full participation in classes, research, teaching, or clinical training by reducing required stipend duties and offering appropriate flexibility for coursework, exam, and advisor deadlines. The success of this policy depends upon full and open communication and cooperation among the student, the faculty advisor, the Graduate Program Director, the department chair, and the Dean of the Graduate School.
Approval of Childbirth/Adoption requires careful consideration by the Graduate Program Director in consultation with the Graduate School to ensure that the implications for academic progress, visa status, loan eligibility and deferment, and other issues have been thoroughly examined in advance.
Male or female parents with Graduate Assistant status (GAs) of a newly born baby or a newly adopted child are eligible for this accommodation. In the case of two graduate student parents, there would be a limit of one accommodation per family. It is expected that the accommodation will be used only once during the student's time at Baylor, but special situations may be negotiated on a case by case basis.
The accommodation time should be no more than 6 consecutive weeks. The GA will receive full funding during this time, will continue to remain fully-enrolled, and will continue to be eligible for Baylor Graduate Student Health Insurance. The GA should be given clear beginning and ending dates for the leave.
If needed, the Graduate Program Director may apply to the Graduate School to assist with funding a replacement graduate student for an amount up to the half semester period at full stipend or the semester period at half-stipend. Any enhancement funds (e.g. Presidential Scholars or other enhancements) awarded by the Graduate School will be continued as usual at full amounts.
As early as possible, students anticipating childbirth or adoption should discuss their intent to apply for Childbirth/Adoption Accommodation with their faculty advisor and Graduate Program Director (GPD). Together the GPD and student will complete the following process:
- Step One: Students will gather 2 documents.
- Students will consult with their GPDs for the time range of the leave and submit an email to the Graduate School with the Graduate Program Director cc'ed. The email should state the name and ID the student, the request for Childbirth/Adoption accommodation, and the proposed dates for the accommodation.
- A statement of pregnancy signed by a health professional, a birth certificate, or a statement of adoption from the adoption agency or adoption attorney.
- Step Two: Student will submit the email with medical/legal document to the graduate school at least one month prior to the anticipated start date.
- Once approved, the student and GPD will be notified. During the semester of accommodation, the department will pay the student for work served as normal. Any enhancement funds (fellowships) will be paid in the usual ways, without interruption or deduction.
- Step Three: Additional Graduate School Support. The GPD may request from the Graduate School funding to cover the hiring of another graduate student to replace the accommodated student for the period. The Graduate School will award an amount up to the amounts outlined in the policy.
All correspondence to the Graduate School regarding the childbirth and adoption accommodation should be directed to Dr. Beth Allison Barr (Beth_Barr@baylor.edu) and Anna Henderson (Anna_Henderson@baylor.edu).
Other procedural and policy considerations
- In most cases, the student will continue full time study, with accommodations on deadlines for coursework, exams and other academic work to be negotiated within the department. This will allow international students to maintain their visa status and for all students to maintain financial aid agreements requiring full time enrollment status. During the period of accommodation, the student should remain enrolled so as to be eligible for full-time graduate student benefits including housing, health-insurance, student life center use, and library privileges.
- As a matter of policy, paid Childbirth/Adoption Accommodation is limited to 6 weeks. However, special considerations that require an unpaid extended accommodation will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the GPD and the Graduate School. Examples could include complications of pregnancy, with birth, or post-natal complications and may involve the negotiation of modified duties between the student and GPD.
- Those graduate students supported by fellowships external to Baylor must adhere to the rules of the granting agency in regard to leaves from work. If the granting agency defers to university policy regarding paid childbirth leave, the leave will be paid by the grant. If the granting agency requires suspension of payment during the leave period, the student will be eligible for substitute payment from the graduate school.
- This policy is intended for Graduate Assistants (GAs). If the GPD would like to request accommodation for a non-GA, please reach out directly to the Graduate School with the request.