In what I hope will be a trend-setting event, Stanford University has instituted a new policy for female graduate students who wish to have children while attending school.
The new childbirth policy has four components:
All female graduate students–including those in the professional schools–who are pregnant or have recently given birth and who are registered and matriculated:
- are eligible for an “academic accommodation period” of up to two academic quarters before and after the birth, during which the student may postpone course assignments, examinations and other academic requirements; and
- are eligible for full-time enrollment during this period and will retain access to Stanford facilities, Cardinal Care student health insurance and Stanford housing.
- Students also will be granted an automatic one-quarter extension of university and departmental requirements and academic milestones–with the possibility of up to three quarters by petition under unusual circumstances. (A Ph.D. qualifying exam is an example of an academic milestone.)
- In addition, female graduate students supported by fellowships, teaching assistantships, and/or research assistantships will be excused from their regular teaching or research duties for a period of six weeks during which they will continue to receive support.
I applaud Stanford University for their policy.