Implementing a Paid Leave Policy for Graduate Students at UW - Madison: The Student Perspective

Type Conference Paper
Names Natalie M. Gosnell
Proceedings Title Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Conference Name AAS Meeting #221, #127.02
Date January 1, 2013
Short Title Implementing a Paid Leave Policy for Graduate Students at UW - Madison
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Abstract In 2010 the University of Wisconsin - Madison Astronomy Department developed and implemented a departmental paid leave policy for our graduate students, even though the university lacks a campus-wide policy and cannot provide institutional funding for such programs. This policy includes 12 weeks of paid leave in event of a medical emergency or chronic medical condition, as well as paid parental leave for both male and female graduate research assistants. (The policy in its entirety can be found at This is the first of two presentations describing our policy implementation using a "bottom-up" approach, beginning with the graduate students. I will present the perspective of the graduate students who led the effort and will discuss the steps we took to put our policy in place, from the conception of the plan to the full implementation. These steps included identifying faculty allies, becoming knowledgeable about university policies and resources, involving department staff, and anticipating procedural and bureaucratic hurdles in order to come up with creative solutions in advance. Although each individual institution and department's path to implementing a similar plan will be unique, we hope the methods used to implement our policy at UW - Madison may serve as an example.
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