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Best Practices

Stanford University

Stanford University, located in Palo Alto, California, has been among the forerunners of instituting family-friendly policies for its faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students. The policies for faculty include multiple child care subsidy programs, child care programs including onsite centers, emergency and back up care, and grants to defray the cost of child care while traveling for work. The university also offers elder dependent care and general parenting resources. The Faculty Development & Diversity Office supplies an online listing of these programs as well as a downloadable handbook, Family Matters @ Stanford for Faculty, which lists also contains information on tenure clock extension, extended leave, part-time appointment policies, dual-career services, etc., in one place, ensuring that faculty can easily find and understand what programs are available to them without having to search multiple websites.

A similar handbook is available for postdoctoral scholars. This handbook outlines the rights and responsibilities of postdoctoral scholars, who are registered as non-matriculated, non-degree seeking students with the University. The classification of scholars as students, among other things, allows deferment of student loans. Postdoctoral scholars are also guaranteed a minimum yearly salary based on number of years of research and a six week paid maternity leave period, among other benefits which are outlined in the handbook.

For graduate students, the Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures handbook (the GAP handbook) contains a compilation of university policies and other information related to the academic progress of Stanford graduate students -- from their application and admission, to the conferral of degrees and retention of records. It also contains information on leave, salary, and benefits. This information has been compiled from multiple sources, removing the burden of researching policies from graduate students and ensuring that conflicting or ambiguous policies are not posted at different sites.

In 2005, Stanford University’s chemistry department adopted a policy which made pregnant graduate students eligible for an academic accommodation period of up to two consecutive academic quarters (in total) before and after the birth. This policy now applies to all Stanford graduate students. During the accommodation period, the student may postpone course assignments, examinations, and other academic requirements, while retaining their full-time status and their eligibility for health insurance, student housing, and access to Stanford facilities. Students supported by grants or teaching assistantships are eligible for relief from duties with pay for six weeks. The University set aside a fund to supplement those students whose external funding does not allow funding for maternity leave.

Stanford University Family Friendly Programs for Faculty

Stanford University Postdoctoral Scholars Handbook

Stanford University Childbirth Accommodation Policy for Graduate Students

This page last updated: August 9, 2018

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