Parental Teaching Release

The UW won a 2006 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation "Flexible Faculty Career Award" and created Balance@UW to implement eight initial project goals. One of the goals is to create a new option for biological fathers and adoptive parents that will increase flexibility in work for faculty, who otherwise would need to come to campus for formal classroom instruction, to bond with a new child. The UW allows faculty members who are biological mothers to use up to 90 days of paid sick leave for birth, but has no option beyond those involving unpaid leave (e.g., The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)) for faculty who are either biological fathers, non-biological parents in a same-sex relationship, or adoptive/foster parents.

What is Bonding?

Bonding has been defined as "the process that a child goes through in developing lasting emotional ties with its immediate caregivers, which is seen as the first and most significant developmental task of a human being, and is central to that person's ability to relate properly to others throughout its life."

Policy Details

Thirty to ninety consecutive days of instructional release from formal, didactic classroom instruction assignments (i.e., between one calendar month and a full quarter) within a single quarter (excluding summer) for the purpose of bonding with a child who is "new" to the faculty member. The faculty member is expected to continue all other duties and responsibilities.

The instructional release must be taken and concluded:

  • For biological children - within one year after the child's birth, or
  • For adoptive or foster children, within one year of placement.

Eligibility Criteria

Available to any professorial faculty member (i.e., Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Assistant Professor WOT, Associate Professor WOT, Professor WOT, Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, and Research Professor) who is a biological father or a non-biological parent in a same-sex relationship, or to any faculty member with whom there is a placement of a child for adoption or foster care. Biological mothers who utilized sick leave for birth/bonding are not currently eligible.

There are no restrictions on couples, where both partners request the release, however, couples in the same department/unit shall coordinate with the chair/director to establish an equitable arrangement.

To Request a Parental Teaching Release

Complete the Parental Teaching Release Request Form and submit it to your department/unit chair for approval and determination of the course adjustment. The form will then be forwarded onto the College of Engineering Human Resources unit for review.

Faculty shall provide department chairs or unit heads at least 30 days advance notice if the need for teaching release is foreseeable, based on an expected birth or placement, in order to permit obtainment of teaching coverage or alternative instructional adjustments. It is understood that situations involving adoptive or foster children frequently receive little notice of the availability of a child.

Faculty are encouraged to begin discussions as soon as possible with the unit/department and offer suggestions for appropriate teaching coverage or alternative instructional adjustments when they request the parental teaching release.