Faculty Work-Life Policies
The university has developed policies to assist faculty with the challenges of balancing professional and personal life.
As described in the Faculty Handbook, a one-year probationary period extension shall be automatically granted to either parent (or both, if both parents are tenure-track or continued appointment-track faculty members) in recognition of the demands of caring for a newborn child or a child under five and newly placed for adoption or foster care. The request should be made within a year of the child’s arrival in the family.
An extension of the probationary period may also be approved on a discretionary basis for other extenuating nonprofessional circumstance that have had a significant impact on the faculty member’s productivity, such as a serious personal illness or major illness of a member of the immediate family. Documentation of medical reasons is required and should be submitted with this request. In rare cases, extraordinary professional circumstances not of the faculty member’s making may be acceptable justification for a probationary period extension.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted professional accomplishments; requests based on this disruption do not require further justification or documentation. The request form has been updated to include a checkbox related to the pandemic.
Extensions based on the COVID-19 pandemic may be requested by faculty who are entering their mandatory year in 2020-21. These requests may be submitted to department heads now and must be submitted by May 1, 2020.
Faculty members not in a mandatory year have until May 15, 2021 to request an extension based on the disruption of the pandemic.
A third extension may be requested during the probationary period if one of the extensions is based on the disruption of the pandemic.
If the department head does not support this request, the reasons for denial shall be provided in writing, and the request is automatically forwarded to the dean for further review. If the dean does not support this request, the reasons for denial shall be provided in writing, and the request is automatically forwarded to the provost for further review.
As described in the Faculty Handbook, the university recognizes the need for all tenured and tenure-track faculty members to balance the commitments of family and work. Special family circumstances, for example, birth or adoption of a child, severe illness of an immediate family member, or even issues of personal health, can cause substantial alterations to one’s daily routine, thus creating a need to construct a modified workload and flexible schedule for a period of time.
Since the circumstances may vary widely for faculty members at different stages of their careers and with different family and workload situations, this policy does not prescribe the exact nature of the accommodation. In many cases, it may be a reduction or elimination of a teaching assignment while the faculty member continues to meet ongoing, but more flexible research and graduate student supervision obligations. In general, the commitment is to work with a faculty member to devise a modified workload and schedule that enables the faculty member to remain an active and productive member of the department. Because there is no reduction in salary, the faculty member is expected to have a set of full-time responsibilities.
Modified Duties Request (PDF)
As described in the Faculty Handbook, while tenure-track and tenured appointments are normally full time, Virginia Tech recognizes the importance of allowing flexibility in the percent employment so that faculty members can better manage the balance between their professional work and family or personal obligations over a defined period of time, or perhaps permanently. This policy is intended to encourage departments to accommodate reasonable requests for part-time appointments; however, part-time appointments are not an entitlement, and requests may be turned down when the faculty member and the department cannot agree upon a workable plan.
Tenure-track faculty members may request a part-time appointment only for reasons of balancing work and family for the arrival or care of a child, the care of a family member, or for personal circumstances related to the health of the faculty member. In addition, they may request a term part-time appointment only, allowing the issue to be revisited on a defined cycle. While such term appointments can be renewed throughout the probationary period, a permanent part-time appointment may not be granted until tenure is awarded.
Tenured faculty members may request either term or permanent part-time appointments for reasons stated above, or to balance work at Virginia Tech with professional practice or significant community or public service, for example, a professor who wishes to serve as a consultant in addition to an appointment at Virginia Tech; a professor who wishes to engage in entrepreneurial activity outside of university responsibilities; or a professor who runs for office for a limited term and wishes to reduce the workload at Virginia Tech for that period. Other reasonable justifications may be considered if approved by the department head or chair, dean, and provost.
Virginia Tech recognizes that meeting the needs of today’s professional couples is a key factor in recruiting and retaining new faculty, and that many prospective candidates for faculty positions have spouses or partners who are also seeking employment.
Virginia Tech is committed to responding to the needs of dual career couples within available resources in cases that are consistent with our mission and goals, and has developed these guidelines for department heads (PDF) to facilitate dual career hires.
The Department of Human Resources provides additional support for faculty spouses and partners seeking employment in the New River Valley.
To meet the growing demand for high-quality and affordable child care services for its employees, Virginia Tech, the Virginia Tech Foundation, and the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center have entered into agreements with Rainbow Riders Childcare Center of Blacksburg to expand child care services in the community and guarantee some of the new slots to families of Virginia Tech employees, employees of Corporate Research Center companies, and employees of university-related corporations.
The Virginia Tech Department of Human Resources provides additional information about child and family care.
Tenured faculty members (or those with a continued appointment in the library or Virginia Cooperative Extension) who are at least 60 years of age and have at least 10 years full-time service at Virginia Tech are eligible for to retire through participation in the Voluntary Transitional Retirement Program (VTRP). The program is comprised of 2 plans, one that results in the immediate retirement of the eligible participant (VTRP-1), but provides for healthcare benefits up to age 65, and another plan that allows eligible participants to reduce their full-time employment to full-time retirement over a mutually-agreed upon period of two (VTRP-2) or three (VTRP-3) years, therefore allowing faculty members an opportunity to transition to full retirement over a defined period of time.
Tenured faculty interested in participating in either component plan of the VTRP must apply to participate. If approved by the department head, dean and provost, participation the program will commence at the start of the academic semester.
- Apply in February to begin participation in the program by fall semester
- Apply in August to begin participation in the program by spring semester
(please submit a completed and signed P3A-F (DOCX) form along with your completed application, so that both can be reviewed, signed, and submitted to Human Resources for processing)