[Parentsgroup-list] family-friendly policies, GSAS?

Christine Dianne Wenc wenc at fas.harvard.edu
Sat Mar 4 12:31:24 EST 2006


Have you both taken leaves of absence, or was your extra time just part of
not taking a leave and having kids?  There is a difference between the
registrar's year and your year in residence, if you've taken leave.  For
instance, according to the registrar I am a G5, but in my dept I am a G4
because I took 1 semester off and was part-time for 2 semesters.  At the
GSAS women's group meeting a couple of months ago with Dean Skocpol, Rise
Shepsle from the student affairs office emphasized that this IS actually
in your official records; in my case it would look something like this:
Christine Wenc G5 (G4).  Cynthia Verba, the fellowships director, strongly
emphasized that the year in *residence* is the year they go by when making
funding decisions.  Though I expect it might be a good idea to note any
time off on your applications for $.

I would think that since you don't get funding while you are on leave
that this wouldn't affect the new G8 rule idea.  And frankly, it might be
a better idea to take a leave or go part-time for a semester anyway when
you have a new
baby if it's at all possible--since you're not likely to get a whole lot
of work done anyway. :)

In my dept, the G8 rule might actually improve the chances for TF
appointments and probably other funding as well, since it could reduce the
competition.  Right now we're admitting almost twice as many grad students
as we did a few years ago, but since the number of TF spots hasn't changed
(or gone down) it's created some tension for the G3s and G4s.  And when
they rank applications for merit grants, obviously it's harder to be in
those top 3 or 4 spots if there are twice as many people applying.

Also, would the new rules apply retroactively, or just for new students?
Perhaps (if they've thought about it) they are recognizing that part of
the reason student parents can take so long to graduate is the lack of
institutional support.  I know that having to work another job along with
being a TF way more than I want to be, so I can pay for housing, insurance
and child care, has definitely added at least a year to my time here.  In
any case, if they DO decide to apply this rule without making these basic
changes, we have another good reason to get what we want to happen.

If anyone's individual departments are giving them a hard time about this,
I would first try to talk reasonably with them, and then if that doesn't
work to check in with Dean Gill or Skocpol.  I will also add clarification
of this issue on our list of things to do.  In my experience, as long as
the chair of grad studies & your advisor know that you ARE working, even
at a reduced rate, they are OK with taking a little extra time if you have
a good reason.  It is a big mistake, though, to slack off and just not
tell anyone about it, even with a good reason.  Communication is key.

My sense is that they are trying to deal with the people
who just sort of disappear after year 8--to force each dept to stay on top
of people who might be wandering for unknown reasons, rather than to force
student parents out of grad school.

--Christine



On Sat, 4 Mar 2006, Diego Miranda wrote:

> That pressure is already being excercised, FYI, via official letters from
> the Government Department, at least. According to such letters, what you
> describe as being debated is already a fact, Diana.  Furthermore, it is
> asserted that no funding will be available for g7+.
>
> I have seen how Harvard's incipient family-friendly policies combine with
> the g7+ policies, and it seems to me they do not match at all.  Surprise
> surprise.
>
> As for that extra year (2 in my case?) well... I am still trying to see
> what that means in reality.  So far it hasn't meant anything.
>
> Diego
>
> On Sat, 4 Mar 2006, Diana Ramirez wrote:
>
> > Remember how good the talk surrounding the 'extra year' for students who
> > need to work at a reduced rate due to pregnancy or the need care for small
> > children sounded back in December?
> >
> > Aparently, Dean Skocpol, while emphasizing that we 'get this extra year' is
> > now also proposing a new regulation to reduce the number of G8+ students.
> > According to the representative for my department (architecture and urban
> > planning) attending Monday's GSC meeting, there was mention that "If this
> > proposal is accepted, the number of offers that a department can make will
> > be reduced by the number of its G8+ students. Translation: if a department
> > typically admits four students but has two who are G8+, it will only be able
> > to make two offers that year. This has not yet been approved, but it is
> > being debated."
> >
> > Which seems to mean that even when in theory our 'thesis clock' can be
> > stopped during pregnancy or while caring for small children, in practice it
> > could actually be prevented from clicking past the 7th year. And of course,
> > I can also imagine departmental pressure being exerted over those who take
> > this "extra" year without officially stopping the clock...
> >
> > Has anyone heard from Skocpol or other officials at GSAS about how their
> > incipient family-friendly policies might combine with the g8+-unfriendly
> > ones?
> >
> > Diana
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > from Christine Dianne Wenc
> > > <wenc at fas.harvard.edu> -----
> > >     Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2005 10:05:56 -0500 (EST)
> > >     From: Christine Dianne Wenc <wenc at fas.harvard.edu>
> > > Reply-To: Christine Dianne Wenc <wenc at fas.harvard.edu>
> > >  Subject: Re: [Parentsgroup-list] seeking fellowship proposal advice
> > >       To: Jenny Kirsten Ataoguz <jksmith at fas.harvard.edu>
> > >
> > >
> > > A few answers to this question:
> > >
> > > 1. The one benefit we actually have here officially is the ability
> > > to stop
> > > the 'thesis' clock when we have kids.  From the 2004-05 GSAS Handbook
> > > (everyone gets one every year at registration), p. 51:
> > >
> > > "The department's 'thesis clock' should stop for students who take
> > > maternity or parental leave, as well as for students who must work
> > > at a
> > > reduced rate because of pregnancy or the need to care for small
> > > children,"
> > > as well as for other personal and family difficulties.
> > >
> > > 2.  Dean Skocpol explicitly emphasized at that meeting that we get
> > > this
> > > extra year.  If anyone in your dept. is not aware of this and is
> > > telling
> > > you otherwise, they can talk with her, or just show them the handbook.
> > >
> > > 3.  Both Cynthis Verba (dir. of fellowships) and Rise Shepsle (the
> > > person
> > > who approves leaves) emphatically emphasized the flexibility of your
> > > official G year.  In fact, they actually record it in 2 ways, with
> > > your
> > > real year in parentheses if you take a leave.  For me, for
> > > instance, I'm a G5 (G4).  I'm a G5 in calendar years, but a G4 in
> > > residence.
> > >
> > > Even if you didn't take a leave, Cynthia also very emphatically stated
> > > that of COURSE they will take into account the fact that you had a
> > > baby!
> > > (or other major issues) and that you should absolutely not be
> > > afraid of
> > > mentioning this on applications.  (I mean, I wouldn't go on at
> > > length about all your trials and tribulations, but just state the
> > > facts.)  Again, if your advisor or someone in
> > > your dept. is telling you otherwise, the best way to clear this up
> > > would
> > > be to just make an appointment with Cynthia and talk with her.
> > > She's very
> > > accessible
> > > and helpful--her full-time job, after all, is to help students with
> > > grant
> > > applications.  And perhaps she could set the record straight with
> > > whoever
> > > is telling you otherwise.
> > >
> > > My feeling is that plenty of people, even those who award grants, have
> > > kids.  They will be extra impressed to see how good your work is
> > > AND that
> > > you also had a baby in the middle of it, and they are not going to
> > > fall
> > > apart when they realize you are a year or so behind.
> > >
> > > Cynthia Verba's email is cverba at fas.harvard.edu.
> > >
> > > By the way, what dept. are you in, Kirsten?  I wonder sometimes if the
> > > sciences are not as open to this stuff as the humanities.
> > >
> > > Christine
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On Thu, 22 Dec 2005, Jenny Kirsten Ataoguz wrote:
> > >
> > >> dear All,
> > >> One of the messages on this list, describing a meeting with Dean
> > >> Skopcol,
> > >> includes the following:
> > >>
> > >> "Cynthia Verba, who is the Director of Fellowships, really
> > >> emphasized that
> > >> if something major happens to you that affects your G year, it is
> > >> absolutely
> > >> fine to indicate this on any applications."
> > >>
> > >> I never took any time off for the birth of my daughter and have
> > >> even been
> > >> told not to mention any such personal things in my application,
> > >> although it
> > >> has certainly impacted my 'G year'.
> > >>
> > >> Does anyone have any insight or experience in this matter?
> > >> Thanks in advance,
> > >> Kirsten
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> _______________________________________________
> > >> Parentsgroup-list mailing list
> > >> Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> > >> http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
> > >>
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Parentsgroup-list mailing list
> > > Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> > > http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
> > >
> > > ----- End forwarded message -----
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Parentsgroup-list mailing list
> > Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> > http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Parentsgroup-list mailing list
> Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
>


More information about the Parentsgroup-list mailing list