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April 23, 2007

Stanford launches new childcare-assistance program for junior faculty

By Kathleen J. Sullivan

In an effort to help junior faculty cope with the twin pressures of raising families and winning tenure, Stanford has developed a new program to provide financial assistance for childcare to families with children ages 5 and under.

Provost John Etchemendy, who announced the Junior Faculty Child Care Assistance Program at Thursday's Faculty Senate meeting, said the seven years during which women are working toward tenure—a time when the university expects them to establish international reputations in their fields—coincides with the time when many of them are starting families.

"This intersection of the biological clock and the tenure clock can place extraordinary pressures on young faculty, and I am convinced that it is at least one important reason the percentage of women in academia has remained stubbornly low," he said.

"For this reason, I feel the affordability and availability of convenient, reliable childcare has demonstrably higher stakes for this particular group than for any other subset of our population."

Speaking to the senate, President John Hennessy described the new program as one of several steps Stanford is taking to further enhance efforts to recruit women faculty.

At Stanford, women accounted for 24.3 percent of the 1,806-member faculty in 2006, compared with 17.8 percent a decade earlier, according to the Office for Faculty Development and Diversity. Last year, the number of female faculty rose by 21—reflecting 37 new appointments and 16 departures—bringing the total to 439, compared with 264 ten years ago.

The new program was designed for junior faculty—men and women with spouses or same-sex domestic partners—in all faculty lines. A spouse or domestic partner must be working at least 30 hours a week or be looking for work if married to or partnered with a newly hired faculty member, or be a full-time student or be disabled.

Current faculty may file applications from July 23 to Aug. 17 for awards beginning Sept. 1.

To qualify, a family's adjusted gross income may not exceed $174,999 per year.

Award amounts for one child age 5 and younger will range from $5,000 to $20,000. If a family has one or more additional age 5 and younger, the total award will be increased by $1,000. Faculty will be reimbursed for child-care expenses with salary supplements that will be processed four times a year.

Detailed information on the program, including application periods, will be mailed to the faculty by May 31. The WorkLife Office ( will oversee the program.



Kathleen Sullivan, News Service: (650) 724-5708,


Patricia Jones, vice provost for faculty development and diversity: (650) 725-8471,


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