to provide full benefit coverage for visiting research fellows whose funding agencies permit this additional coverage, and to encourage funding agencies to approve this arrangement. The University Counsel’s office is reviewing these and other options.
More generally, we encourage continuing attention to the full range of issues that are of concern to post-docs, and stronger lines of communication for discussion of these issues.
At our recommendation, the University has signed a contract with a company called Bright Horizons to conduct a thorough child care needs assessment among all graduate students, faculty, and staff and to provide advice on the development of a comprehensive long-term child care strategy. In addition to being one of the most highly regarded companies in the child care field, Bright Horizons has performed similar assessments for several peer universities (including Yale and Duke) and New Jersey companies. We expect to receive a report from Bright Horizons over the summer. Our goal is to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations that could include the development of an additional University-affiliated center.
Meanwhile, in our work last fall we learned that the funds the University has been providing to the University League Nursery School for scholarship assistance to University families have been largely unused because of an understanding that only 20% could be provided to graduate students (which is where the greatest need has been). This year we removed that ceiling so there is no limitation on the proportion of available funds that can be allocated to graduate students in need. We also have modified our instructions so that graduate students and bi-weekly staff share first priority for scholarship support. In addition, the provost’s office has purchased one slot next year in each class at the U-Now Nursery School to be reserved for University families that arrive too late to participate in the regular application process. At our recommendation the University has identified a coordinator for child care matters in the Office of Human Resources who is serving as a liaison to U-Now and U-League, coordinating the Bright Horizons assessment, and collecting other information on child care needs and resources.
While further recommendations regarding child care need to await the assessment and report by Bright Horizons, we would like to note the following:
While a comprehensive strategy could include one or more University-affiliated child care programs in addition to the existing U-Now and U-League programs, and perhaps some modest expansion or modification of those programs, we also have asked Bright Horizons to evaluate other ways in which the University could assist parents in meeting child care needs, possibly through financial assistance of one kind or another or discount arrangements for child care providers in their home communities.
Our recommendations regarding flex-time can potentially help staff members meet their child care needs. We also want to review the University’s policies regarding leave time and extension of time to degree or to tenure review when a child is born or adopted, and compare Princeton’s policies to those of its peer institutions.