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Work-Life Balance

We appreciate the challenges of managing one’s professional career while also caring for family members. For the past two decades, Duke has worked to offer more flexibility to help faculty balance their professional and personal roles. As a result, faculty members may take advantage of several Duke policies to reduce the stress of having and raising children, caring for ill family members and planning for retirement. The policies apply to women and men; we tolerate no stigma for taking advantage of them, and our data show that our faculty find these policies to be helpful.

  • The Parental Leave Policy for regular rank faculty allows one semester (12 weeks in the schools of Medicine and Nursing) of leave for the birth or adoption of a child. If the faculty member is pre-tenure, an automatic one-year extension of the tenure clock is provided.  If both parents are tenure-track faculty, they can both apply for the one-year extension.

  • Tenure Clock Relief is also extended for a number of other reasons, such as caring for an ill parent, partner or child; personal illness; a house fire; or heavy administrative responsibilities. The faculty member requests this relief.

  • The Flexible Work Arrangements Policy allows regular rank faculty members to request alterations in their work responsibilities to suit their professional/personal needs, ranging from a single semester to three years at a time, renewable with approval. This policy seeks to help faculty care for young children or for an ill parent, child or partner. It can also ease the transition to retirement. A memorandum of understanding between the faculty member and the department chair/dean details the terms of the arrangement. The Provost’s Office centrally monitors the implementation of the policy.

For the details of these policies, consult the relevant sections in Chapter 4 of the Faculty Handbook.


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