February 28, 2011

Present: Sonia Ananthakrishnan, Emelia Benjamin, Peter Cahn (recorder), Isabel Dominguez, Michael Ieong, Angela Jackson, Stephanie Lee, Jane Liebschutz (chair), Matt Russell

I. Family leave policy update (J. Liebschutz). Outcome: clearer communication of applicable policies

Boston University Faculty Practice Plan
Unpaid leave (all faculty per FMLA) 12 weeks 12 weeks
Paid leave for childbirth (women faculty only) 6 weeks 8 weeks
Paid full workload reduction (not including work related to grants) 14 weeks none
Paid half workload reduction (not including work related to grants) 28 weeks none

Background: BU recently approved a new parental leave policy that allows for extended teaching relief. Even so, it does not take into account basic scientists.

Discussion: The committee recommends interpreting the BU and FPP policies and summarizing them in a grid to post on the website. The grid will make clear if paid leave must be taken consecutively and uncouple the FMLA from the institutional policy. The site will also add a link to NIH policies for parental leave.

Action items:

  • Revise grid for inclusion on website (P. Cahn)
  • Consult the AAMC and area hospitals for practices elsewhere (P. Cahn)
  • Draft language to encourage the FPP to include adoption and other caregiving relationships under the maternity policy as well as offer options for reduced workload (Jane Liebschutz, Michael Ieong)

II. Research prefix for faculty (P. Cahn).  Outcome: recommendation to the A and P committee

Background: Faculty with the research prefix may be dismissed with only 30 days’ notice. The Vice Chair of Research is soliciting ideas for reducing the number of faculty with the research prefix and instead assigning researchers who support a PI the nonfaculty title of “research scientist.”

Discussion: Without a faculty appointment, researchers stand almost no chance of earning NIH funding. Nonfaculty status is appropriate for researchers who will never be PIs, but how can you determine who might get funding in the future? It’s important to keep the Research Assistant Professor title as an option for Ph.D. faculty who do not secure independent funding after two years at the Instructor level.

Recommendations:

  • Send a letter to Research Assistant Professors or have Barbara Corkey make clear in meetings with researchers what the expectations for the job are.
  • Make faculty aware in the letter of appointment that the benefit and risks of a research prefix are.
  • Solicit input from more Ph.D. faculty on the committee.

III.  Faculty Development Grants for researchers

Background: Few Ph.D. faculty apply for grants.

Discussion: They are too busy to attend off-campus trainings. A grant could support bringing in an expert to lead a one-day workshop on leadership in the lab. The curriculum has to be initiated by researchers.

Actions:

  • Peter Cahn will announce the next grant deadline at the researchers’ lunch in March.
  • Isabel Dominguez will ask other Ph.D. faculty about which topics interest them.

IV.  Website review (P. Cahn). Outcome: suggestions for improved ease of use (Tabled)

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