Faculty Childbirth/Adoption Policy

The philosophical basis of this policy is the following: Adoption, pregnancy, childbirth and recovery, and the substantial care required by an infant during the first year of life should not disadvantage a faculty member in the long term as regards

(1) compensation,

(2) procedures concerning faculty evaluation, retention, interim review, tenure, or promotion, or

(3) opportunities for her/his professional activity and development associated with her/his role as a faculty member as she/he deems desirable and appropriate.

The above statement is one of principles, and is not a guarantee of such outcomes.

As soon as an eligible faculty member, as defined below, learns there will be a change in family status (pregnancy or adoption), she/he should consult with the Provost regarding the options outlined below.


The following policies apply to full time tenure-track and tenured faculty from the beginning of their first year at Franklin & Marshall. The policies are considered a reallocation of time and duties to accommodate the less predictable schedule associated with adoption, pregnancy, childbirth and infant care within the context of a faculty member's two semester teaching schedule. The elements of these policies are independent and may be chosen or not at the discretion of the faculty member. They are intended to cover a range of adoptive or child-bearing situations.

The options outlined below are available to:

  • a tenure-track or tenured female faculty member who gives birth or adopts a child, and who is either pregnant or, after the birth, is the child's primary caregiver during the semester(s) in which a reduced teaching load is requested,
  • a tenure-track or tenured male faculty member who adopts a child or whose spouse/partner gives birth, when the faculty member is the child's primary caregiver during the semester(s) in which a reduced teaching load is requested,
  • a faculty member whose same-sex domestic partner gives birth or adopts a child, when the faculty member is the child's primary caregiver during the semester(s) in which a reduced teaching load is requested.

In the case of adoption, the options below apply when the child is age 5 or under.

In the case of faculty who are parents of the same child, the options may be shared if both faculty members are in a shared/split position at the College and both will serve as the primary caregiver, however, the total reduction in teaching load may not exceed two courses per child.

In extraordinary circumstances, the faculty member should consult with the Provost and the Director of Human Resources, for example, if childbirth or adoption occurs during an academic leave.


  • An eligible tenure-track faculty member who adopts, gives birth, or becomes a parent to one or more children during the tenure probationary period, may choose to extend that period by one year, per birth or adoption, up to two times within the probationary timeframe.
  • When a female faculty member learns she is pregnant, or an eligible faculty member as defined above learns that she/he is going to become a parent/adopts a child age 5 or under, she/he may elect to receive up to a two-course reduction in her/his teaching load with no reduction in base salary or benefits coverage, assuming she/he otherwise remains eligible for benefits coverage.

In the semester(s) in which a teaching reduction is chosen, the faculty member will normally be expected to take on other compensatory academic responsibilities determined by the Department and Provost's Office. These responsibilities should be characterized by flexible daily and weekly schedules and should not require a time commitment greater than what would be required to teach the foregone course(s). Department chairs should consult with the Provost when developing these responsibilities.

An eligible faculty member may take the total two-course reduction during the semester in which the birth or adoption will occur, the semester following the birth or adoption, or may spread the two-course reduction over two semesters (for example, a one course reduction each semester).

For the purposes of this policy, fall semester is defined as June 1 through December 31, and spring semester is defined as January 1 through May 31. If the birth/adoption is expected to occur in what would normally be a three-course semester, the faculty member may convert that semester to a two-course semester with a compensatory adjustment in teaching load within the next two years.

During the academic portions of the semesters in which a teaching reduction is chosen, it is expected that the faculty member will participate to the extent possible in departmental and College activities. A faculty member is not expected to supervise independent studies courses during the semester of birth or adoption.


A faculty member who wishes to request a schedule modification due to childbirth or adoption is asked to complete an "Application for Schedule Modification or Other Adjustment" and submit it to the Office of the Provost. You may click here: Application for Schedule Modification or Other Adjustment to download the application.  Applications are also available in the Office of the Provost.

Department chairs should request replacement faculty through normal Office of the Provost procedures.

Additional Information

Academic responsibilities and family issues, as they relate to academic responsibilities, should be discussed with the Provost. The Provost may arrange for further discussions with a faculty member who has shared experiences relevant to the family issue, in a mentorship role, as appropriate, and if requested by the faculty member.

Other leave time may be available, based on College policies, for female faculty members during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. If a leave is needed for medical reasons, the College's Paid Sick Leave Policy for Faculty applies. Other leave time is available to mothers and fathers following childbirth or adoption through the College's Family & Medical Leave Policy. The policy described here is in addition to federal and institutional leave policies. A mother or father who takes Family & Medical Leave following birth or adoption is eligible for up to a two-course reduction in teaching load during the semester following the leave.

Note: These policies apply to a faculty biological mother. They also cover a faculty adoptive mother, a faculty father (biological or adoptive), and a faculty member of either gender whose same-sex domestic partner (as defined in the College's health plan) gives birth or adopts a child. Additionally, these policies apply when a child age 5 or under is placed for adoption with a full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty member, and when an eligible faculty member becomes the legal guardian of a child age 5 or under through a court order. In each of these cases, however, eligibility is contingent upon the faculty member being the child's primary caregiver during the semester(s) in which the course(s) reduction occurs.

Related Policies

Breaks for Nursing Mothers

This policy can be modified or terminated at the discretion of the College, following consultation with Faculty Council.

Click to learn more about Highmark's Baby Blueprints program!

Policy Maintained by: Human Resources, Associate Vice President
Last Reviewed: July 25, 2016