Request a Modification of Duties
Request an Extension of the Tenure Clock
West Virginia University is committed to helping its employees achieve an appropriate work-life balance. The often conflicting demands between a significant personal circumstance and one’s professional responsibilities are recognized as a challenge.
A Modification of Duties is for full-time faculty (1.0 FTE) who do not accrue leave, normally those faculty who are tenured, tenure-track, or teaching-track.
A Modification of Duties may occur in a period of time, within the basic contract period, during which an employee’s traditional assignment may be changed to accommodate significant personal circumstances without salary modification. A Modification of Duties will normally result in a release from traditional teaching assignments for one semester. A Modification of Duties, if requested, will be considered upon the occurrence of a significant personal circumstance. A faculty member with a Modification of Duties will be expected to complete duties assigned during the contract period.
“Significant Personal Circumstance” is a personal situation that has, or will likely have, significant impact on a Faculty member’s productivity including, but not limited to, new parental responsibilities, caring for a parent, responding to serious illness of the Faculty member or someone in their immediate family, or some other extenuating circumstance.
“Parent(s)” is defined as a person(s) assuming responsibility for the new child, including but not limited to a biological parent, an adoptive parent, or a guardian.
Duration of a Modification of Duties
The duration of a Modification of Duties available to faculty members who do not accrue leave may be dependent upon a variety of factors, many of which are referenced below. This document identifies the normal length of the Modification of Duties available to the faculty member upon the occurrence of a significant personal circumstance. It is understood that a faculty member may wish to request a Modification of Duties less than the minimum for which she or he is eligible.
Modification of Duties
Upon request, a Modification of Duties shall be considered in recognition of a significant personal circumstance. During such part of the contract period, adjustment of one’s assignment shall include release from traditional teaching responsibilities.
In the event of a birth, the faculty member will be released from all teaching, research and service duties for a minimum of 6 weeks (30 working days) for a vaginal child birth or 8 weeks (40 working days) for a C-section, immediately following the birth of the child. The minimum of 6 weeks (30 working days) is also true for adoption or assumption of the guardianship of a child.
Normally, the release from the faculty member’s traditional teaching duties will extend for the semester in which the event occurs. However, the semester in which the release is provided might follow the one in which the actual event occurs.
Situations that require extended accommodations are to be handled by discussion and arrangement with the faculty member’s department chair or equivalent academic administrator. The faculty member might also consider the traditional leave of absence without pay and the option of temporarily converting to a part-time assignment at reduced pay.
Dual academic parents are treated as separate individuals.
Faculty members who receive a Modification of Duties normally are responsible for research/scholarly work, student advising, and other professional service, including departmental and University service, as appropriate and in keeping with reasonable expectations for flexibility, for the period in which they are given a release from traditional teaching.
Where appropriate, teaching-track faculty members who receive a Modification of Duties are responsible for monitoring the personnel covering or assisting with the courses, except during the initial 6 or 8 weeks following the birth or placement of a child.
Addressing the teaching needs of the department is the responsibility of the department chair or equivalent academic administrator.
The University and its colleges and schools expect that faculty members eligible for a Modification of Duties will use this benefit. Such use shall not adversely affect the faculty member’s standing or salary in any manner. Courses not taught during the Modification of Duties are not meant to be made up at a later date. Likewise, a faculty member is not expected to engage in more research or service than is assigned during the contract period. The funding for the teaching coverage, when needed, is provided by the college or school.
Any Modification of Duties must allow for flexibility in its implementation. Department chairs or the equivalent academic administrator should be mindful of this when working out individual arrangements and should consult with their deans as appropriate. They must be familiar with the policies and options for faculty requesting a Modification of Duties and they need to ensure that this information is provided to all faculty members in the department.
The faculty member should make the request for a Modification of Duties as soon as is reasonably possible. The approval of the Provost, Vice President for Health Sciences or the designee must be obtained.
The supervisor of the unit involved should consult with members of the unit as soon as possible about coverage of duties during the period of a Modification of Duties. While a Modification of Duties for faculty is not identical to sabbatical leave, the manner in which coverage of duties is distributed can be drawn from sabbatical leave examples. Creative solutions may be called for in small departments or when a very specialized course needs to be taught.
The critical year of a faculty member in the tenure track period is automatically extended if they receive a Modification of Duties, unless the faculty member specifically requests otherwise.
Each individual situation will be unique, and each department will face specific challenges placed on it by a faculty member’s absence; therefore flexibility is needed in order to exercise appropriate professional judgment. The modified assignment for the faculty member should be reasonable for the faculty member and for the department without undue pressure being placed on either party.
Office of the Provost 5/14/2018