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National Science Foundation

Policy and Climate Change

Policy & Climate Initiative

Objective: ENHANCE POLICIES FOR FACULTY SUPPORT AND IMPROVE DEPARTMENTAL CLIMATES

Accomplishments:

  1. A joint Faculty Senate-ADVANCE Policies and Climate Team has been formed to collaborate on proposed changes to policy that meet the ADVANCE goals and objectives.
  2. Drafted revisions to maternity/paternity and sick leave policies were made to increase their transparency and flexibility, and to link them with other related policies (such as Authorized Paid Leave). These policies include provisions to taking care of ill family members, not only children. These proposed changes were unanimously approved by the Faculty Senate in the Spring 2014 semester, and are currently pending review by the Academic Affairs Executive Team.
  3. The Dual Academic Career Hiring Program and Guidelines were developed by the ADVANCE team in consultation with the Faculty Senate, the Council of Chairs, and the Women’s Faculty Network. The related HOP policy regarding faculty searches was also revised to increase the flexibility to hire academic partners. The Program /Guidelines and the corresponding changes to the HOP were unanimously approved by the Faculty Senate and the Academic Affairs Executive Team in the Spring 2014 semester. This Program is expected to be implemented starting in the Fall 2014 semester.
  4. A modified instructional duties policy was developed and incorporated into proposed revisions of the Faculty Workload Policy (HOP 6.5.7), to allow faculty to bank courses from the fall to spring semesters or to adjust their teaching schedule to accommodate a necessary and planned leave. (UT System policy does not permit the course banking from spring to fall semesters.) These proposed changes were approved by the Faculty Senate in Spring 2014 and are under review by the AAET in Summer 2014.
  5. Changes to the tenure and promotion policies that allowed for more flexibility in stopping the tenure clock for one year were approved by the Faculty Senate and the Academic Affairs Executive Team; this accommodation was previously granted only under special circumstances. (UT System policy precludes the automatic stoppage of the tenure-track clock).
  6. A Lactation Policy Committee was formed in the Spring 2014 semester to develop a policy/guidelines regarding on-campus lactation and to identify potential space on campus for lactation rooms. The Lactation Policy was unanimously passed by the Faculty Senate, and is currently pending review by the Academic Affairs Executive Team.
  7. Through the New Faculty Support Program, workshops are now provided to both mentees and their mentors to increase the effectiveness of the mentoring relationship.
  8. Psychologically Healthy Workplace. The UTPA ADVANCE Program is based on the Psychologically Health Workplace, a framwork by  the American Psychological Association outlining five areas of focus:
  • Growth and Development: Provide employees with the opportunity to expand their knowledge, skills, and abilities and provide an outlet to apply these gained competencies.
  • Health & Well-Being: Maximize health of employees through prevention, assessment, and treatment of potential health risks.
  • Involvement: Allow employees to bring ideas and perspectives as a part of organizational decision-making.
  • Recognition: Reward all employees are rewarded for their contributions and achievements.
  • Work-Life Balance: Help employees balance the multiple demands in their lives.

Team

Dora Saavedra (Chair-Elect) saavedra@utpa.edu
Associate Professor of Communication
Cristina Villalobos (Co-Chair) mcvilla@utpa.edu
Professor of Mathematics and Director, STEM Education
Janis Feldman
Associate Professor of Social Work
Javier Kypuros
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Linda Matthews
Professor of Management, Management
Shirley Mills (Co-Chair of Womens Faculty Network)
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership
Thomas White (Immediate Past Chair)
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice