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>  News Releases >   2006 >   May

Dartmouth graduate studies announces new child accommodation policy

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 05/17/06 • Roland Adams (603) 646-3661

Dartmouth is taking a major step to affirm its commitment to supporting its graduate students by offering critical support for graduate students who wish to become parents. Dean of Graduate Studies Charles Barlowe announced today that Dartmouth has implemented a comprehensive new child accommodation policy, effective immediately.

The policy, under a two-year pilot program, allows graduate students who are full-time, stipend-supported and primary care providers to take up to 12 weeks of accommodation following the birth or adoption of a child. During the accommodation period, graduate students remain enrolled and receive their full stipend support and health benefits. An automatic one-term extension will also be granted to complete their degree.

Many studies have shown that prospective parents, most often women, find lack of support following birth or adoption to be a strong deterrent to pursuing graduate work. While comparable institutions have child accommodation policies for graduate students, Barlowe said, few allow such an extended amount of time. The child accommodation policy being adopted by Dartmouth will be one of the most generous. Barlowe explains that a strong, progressive policy will allow Dartmouth not only to retain and support current graduate students who become parents, but will also help to attract strong candidates to graduate programs in the future.

"I am delighted that Dartmouth is offering such a supportive policy to our graduate students during a phase in their careers that often coincides with starting a family," said Barlowe. "To implement this policy, which applies to stipend-supported master's and Ph.D. students at Dartmouth, required a commitment from the Graduate Studies Office, the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and each individual graduate program. I am grateful to the Council of Graduate Studies and the graduate training faculty for their support of this initiative."

"Dartmouth has made great strides recently in the recognition of the needs and the strengths of its vibrant graduate community. I am especially pleased to see this initiative, because I think it addresses a national need to support the entry of women into the sciences," said Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Carol Folt.

This is the latest in a set of initiatives undertaken in recent years to increase the support for Dartmouth graduate students and the competitiveness of Dartmouth's programs. These include the development of new housing (2002), provision of universal health care for graduate students (2003) and several large increases in the annual graduate stipend rates undertaken in the last five years.

Barlowe expressed his appreciation for the collaboration among faculty, administrators, and graduate students who contributed to the creation of such a supportive policy.

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