The Advance Project

Enhancing the academic careers of women in science, technology, engineering, & mathematics

Enhancing the academic careers of women in science, technology, engineering, & mathematics

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Work-Life Support

The ADVANCE program supports the creation and active implementation of policies and procedures at URI that support a balance between work, life, and family for its workers. What does this mean?

The ADVANCE Work-Life Committee was formed in 2003 and has grown to 12+ members.  The Committee works actively on all these issues and has enjoyed much success in increasing campus awareness of work-life issues and in making changes for the University, including those listed below. A brief overview of work-life initiatives is available as a Work-Life General Overview pamphlet, and more detailed information can be found on each topic as described below. An important resource we have created is the URI Virtual Work-Life-Family Center Website, also described in the Virtual Work-Life-Family Center brochure. This website is a portal site, with links to a variety of campus and area resources.  As ADVANCE is transitioning from a grant-funded project into a permanent, University-supported initiative, the Committee has been renamed the “URI Work-Life Committee,” and consists of faculty and staff from across campus.  A permanent Work-Life Office will remain in the ADVANCE Resource Center, 001 Carlotti Hall.

As we continue to work toward creating a responsive, supportive, and family-friendly workplace at URI, we welcome your involvement! 2007-2008 committee members include:


Helen Mederer Chair, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
Barb Silver Assistant Research Professor, Psychology & ADVANCE Program Director
Bobbi Koppel Career Services Director
Carolyn Sovet Women’s Center Director
Dorothy Donnelly Professor, English Department
Jessica Sherwood Executive Officer, Sociologists for Women in Society
JoAnn Evans Research Associate, Gerontology
Laura Beauvais Professor, College of Business Administration
Laura Gostin Graduate Student, Communication Studies
Matthew Bodah Associate Professor, Labor Research Center
Roxanne Gomes Assistant Director, AA, Equal Opportunities & Diversity


Read about recent Work-Life efforts at URI:

The following specific initiatives currently exist or are in progress:



October 18, 2007 Work-Life Administrators’ Breakfast Summit, 8:30-10:00 am, Women’s Center. View Poster, Agenda, and Summary Notes
2008 Series of Work-Life Events:
February 28 State House Event: Press release and Senate resolution, 3:00-4:00pm, Senate Lounge, RI State Housem Providence
March 6 International Women’s Day Presentation: Rethinking Globalization: Gender and the Politics of Possibilities, presented by Manisha Desai, Ph.D., Director of Women’s Studies, University of Connecticut. 11:00-12:00pm, Memorial Union.
March 10 The URI Work-Life Brown Bag Lunch Series presents:Childcare Challenges for Working Parents, 12pm, Ballentine Hall Boardroom.
March 13 ADVANCE Topical LunchWellness at Work: Stop, Strech, and Breathe, interactive presentation by Anne Marie Connolly, Director of Get Fit, Rhode Island,12:00-1:00 pm, URI U-Club. Lunch compliments of ADVANCE.
March 27 .Work-Life Presentation:Managing Your Life Without Stressing Out: Balancing Work, Life, and Family presented by Alma Hughes, Vice President and Career Development & Management Consultant, Lee Hecht Harrison. 4- 6pm, URI U-Club
April 2 Movie and DiscussionCentury of Women: Work and Family, a must-see “documentary” narrated by Jane Fonda, with performances and testimony by Merly Streep, Gloria Steinem, Twyla Tharp, and others.7:00-9:00pm, 277 Chafee
April 4 Work-life Policy PanelBuilding a Balance: Campus & Corporate Work-Life Issues and Challenges with panelists Ann Higginbotham, Professor & Chair, History,Eastern Connecticut State University, and William B. Sherwood,Ed.D,Vice President of Work-Life Services, Corporate Counseling Associates. 1:30-3:00pm, Galanti Lounge.
April 24 The URI Work-Life Brown Bag Lunch Series presents: Healthy Eating on the Go,presented by Prof. Nancy Fey Yensan. 12:30 pm, Ballentine Hall Boardroom.

————————– Policies —————————

URI recognizes the importance of family-friendly policies in recruiting and retaining talented faculty members and supporting the needs of a changing workforce. ADVANCE is working with the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the URI Equity Coalition to review and improve URI’s work-family policies.
Family Leave

ADVANCE and the President’s Commision on the Status of Women worked together to develop an improved Parental Leave Policy for AAUP faculty, which was approved in 2005 by the Rhode Island Board of Governors. This policy is a major revision of URI’s former maternity leave policy and includes 6 weeks of paid parental leave for both men and women. These revisions were guided by a strong vision statement and general recommendations aimed at moving from a policy based on medical leave to a policy based on parenting leave. This policy change has been the basis for similar revisions of several staff and graduate student policies. Our ultimate goal is to provide both male and female URI employees with flexibility and choice in caring for children without having to sacrifice job-related success. Additional family leave issues, such as those related to elder care, are currently being considered.

Tenure Clock Stops

Provisions for stopping the tenure clock due to family demands are included under Article 21.6.3 of theAAUP contract, and are described in the ADVANCE Family Leave handbook.


Dual Career Partners

Although no job can be guaranteed to a spouse or significant other, it is understood that faculty will be more easily recruited and retained if some provision could be made for their spouse or partner. A Dual Career Policy has been approved.


Sick Bank

Each academic year faculty are given 15 sick days, up to a maximum of 120 days. A Sick Leave Bank is available to those faculty members who need time beyond this allotment. All AAUP faculty members are automatically enrolled to donate one sick day per year to the Bank, effective October 1 of each year. For more information, Or call Nancy at 874-2532.


—————————— Guidelines ——————————

Dual Career Partners

The ADVANCE Work-Life Committee developed Dual Career Guidelines for processing partner accomodation requests. These were approved by the URI Administration in February 2008. We are currently working toward joining a dual career regional network.

——————————— Services ——————————

Lactation Facilities

The ADVANCE Center is the host of the University’s first Lactation Room located in 001 Carlotti Hall. The space is secure, comfortable, and is equipped with a pump, refrigerator, sink, and a resource library. The Memorial Union also has a lactation site, and other campus sites are being considered.


Child and Elder Care

It is understood that care-taking responsibilities can present significant challenges for employees. Therefore the President’s Commission on the Status of Women is exploring the potential of bringing additional child-care services to campus.

——————————– Connections ——————————

ADVANCE recognizes that making social and professional connections is important for improving career satisfaction and career success, particularly for women in underrepresented areas, and hosts regular social gatherings, including neworking socials, topical lunches, etc.. We are also encouraging increased professional collaboration through departmental workshops, monetary incentives for collaborations, and a mentor training program. We strongly believe in creating Networks of Supportwith other women’s groups on campus.

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