Nov. 7, 1996
Vol. 16, No. 5

current issue
archive / search

    University named leader in providing family support

    The University of Chicago is a leader in providing "family-friendly" benefits for faculty and staff, according to a study of U.S. colleges and universities.

    The study, conducted by the College and University Personnel Association Foundation and the Families and Work Institute, named 29 universities and colleges -- including the University of Chicago, Stanford and Harvard -- "Leadership Campuses" for their policies supporting families.

    "We are very pleased with the recognition because we have made a strong effort over the past few years to address family concerns," said Lele Paulson, Benefits Director. "We realized that both faculty and staff needed help with such issues as child care, elder care and health care, and we have taken steps to address those needs."

    Some of the University's family-friendly initiatives include:

    _ Establishing the position of Child Care Coordinator in the Benefits Office in 1991. Through Child Care Coordinator Ruth Levine, the University assists faculty and staff in finding quality child care and provides information about elder care.

    _ Sponsorship of pre- and after-school programs at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club and South Side YMCA for children of University employees.

    _ Offering all faculty and staff tuition remission for 50 percent of all tuition at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

    _ Providing spousal benefits for domestic partners, beginning in 1993. The University was one of the first universities in the nation to approve benefits for domestic partners.

    The University also offers such free classes as "Parenting in the '90s," "Dual Career Relationships: Balancing Work & Your Life" and "Learning More About Alzheimer's Disease" for faculty and staff. (For more information, see The Resource, available on the Web at http://www2.uchicago. edu/adm-uhrm/train/index.html, or call Human Resources Management at 702-9600.)

    "This study recognizes the University's wide array of family-support programs," said Henry Webber, Associate Vice President for Administration. "We believe the study helps us recruit and retain the best faculty and staff."

    Paulson added, "What it boils down to is making employees feel they are valued members of the University community and that the University will help them deal with issues of balancing work and family."

    Paulson strongly encourages University employees to take advantage of the resources the University has to offer. Searching for child care or elder care can be an enormous time drain, for example, when trying to do it alone. "Hours and days can be spent trying to track down information," Paulson said. "Now faculty and staff can call a single number and get a list of care providers. It saves them an enormous amount of time -- not to mention stress." For help in searching for child care or elder care, call Levine at 702-2318.

    Levine said the University, like many other major employers, is increasingly aware that work and family concerns are not separate issues. "The University recognizes that it's in our best interests to help employees resolve family-related issues, if only out of self-interest. Employees are more likely to be satisfied and productive on the job if they don't have to worry about what's going on at home," she said.

    With that recognition comes the continued effort to meet the needs of employees. "We're delighted to be affiliated with an organization that's taking these steps with the understanding that there's more to do," Paulson said. "There's a lot of work ahead of us, and we plan to meet the challenge."

    For more information about benefits offered by the University, see http://www2.uchicago.edu/adm-uhrm/ or call 702-9600.