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 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 student'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 a period of accommodation (lasting either a half semester or a semester) 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.
In most cases, the student will continue full time enrollment during the half semester or semester period. In some cases, depending on the coursework appropriate to the stage of the academic program, reduction to part-time enrollment may be more appropriate. This will require careful consultation, 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 of a newly born baby or a newly adopted child who are full time graduate students 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 may be taken for a full or half semester.
- Full Semester: Students who choose this accommodation will work halftime for the full semester. Departments will pay the student for work served as normal. Students will receive the balance of their stipend allotment in their normal paychecks. Students should enter only the actual hours worked on their timecards.
- Half Semester: Students who choose this accommodation will work fulltime for half of the semester. The department will pay the student for work served as normal. During their leave, the student will receive an amount equal to the other half of the stipend.
The start date for accommodation should be carefully calculated with at least one month notice in consultation with the graduate program director; however, all parties should recognize that an early or late delivery date or complications in adoption processes may affect timing in unpredictable ways.
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 3 documents.
- Students will complete the Parental Accommodation Application and submit to the Graduate School
- The GPD will complete and the Payroll Application
- 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 all 3 documents 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. The University will distribute the accommodation funds in installments according to the approved Payroll Application. 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 a half semester or a full semester. 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.