Approved by the: Faculty Senate - May 3, 2007
Administration - See comment*
Board of Regents - no action required

*In light of recent requests to consider enhancing selected individual employee benefits, I have asked Vice President for Human Resources Carol Carrier in consultation with faculty and staff leaders to review all employee benefits as a whole to ensure that the University is as responsive as possible to the changing needs of its employees.

Statement on Child Care for Dependents of University Employees

In December, 2003, the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs received from one of its subcommittees a report on child care at the University (especially the Twin Cities). The gist of that report was that the University should increase the availability of on-campus child care for faculty, staff, and students. The report noted a number of important factors about child care and reported that there was an 18- to 24-month waiting period for the University's child-care center.

Professor Judith Martin, then chair of the Faculty Consultative Committee, transmitted the subcommittee report to the President in February, 2004, and urged that the University "identify funding to help alleviate the shortage of high-quality child care for University faculty, staff, and students." One suggestion Professor Martin made was that the University of Minnesota Foundation should be asked to consider fund-raising for construction of additional child-care sites on the Twin Cities campus.

The problem is not a lack of child-care facilities. The problem is a lack of high-quality child-care facilities.

We do not believe the University has made any progress on increasing child-care facilities on the Twin Cities campus. We believe that it should do so very soon if it is to achieve the goal of becoming a top-three public research university. Achieving that goal will be accomplished in significant part through the recruitment of stellar faculty, staff, and (probably of most concern for this purpose) graduate students.

It is unlikely the University will soon be able to compete on salaries, compared to the top 20 or 30 research universities, so it must be in a position to compete in other ways by providing benefits that prospective faculty, staff, and students will find attractive. It is our view that one of the benefits that will be most attractive is child care that is close and high-quality. As the subcommittee wrote in 2003, "the reality is that employees will virtually always place their child care responsibilities above their responsibilities in the workplace."

We recommend that the Faculty Senate request the President make this a high priority as he considers the capital budget and fund-raising.

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