Inside Iowa State

Inside Archives

Submit news

Send news for Inside to, or call (515) 294-7065. See publication dates, deadlines.

About Inside

Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Aug. 29, 2008

A little help with your balancing act

by Erin Rosacker

Balancing your work and personal life isn't just an individual challenge. It's an issue important enough to be part of Iowa State's strategic plan -- to make ISU "a great place to learn and work."

Many work/life policies, programs and resources -- sprinkled across various campus units -- are available to ISU students and employees. Now, a new web site has been developed to centralize all of that information.

"As we have been developing all of these individual projects, we realized we really didn't have a presence institutionally or a way of connecting programs. If you check other institutions' web sites, we were behind in advertising what it is we have," said Susan Carlson, associate provost. "The web page broadcasts to campus what we already have in place."

For faculty, that includes tenure clock extensions, part-time appointments for tenured and tenure-eligible faculty, and work on a new modified duties policy. Employee benefits, child care, wellness and networking groups also are included.

Think tank

But Carlson said her office wants input on more ways ISU could contribute to work/life balance, what is or is not working well, and where there are gaps.

"We realized in the conversations here that it was really important to involve the whole community in thinking through these issues," she said. "Everybody faces these issues and everybody has an opinion."

Carlson is in the final stages of assembling a work/life advisory committee she will chair. A diverse membership will include representatives from many different areas of campus -- from top administrators to graduate students. The group will meet three to four times annually, beginning this fall.

"We thought we could continue to advance our policies and practices by getting input in a structured way," Carlson said. "This group is going to give advice to the people who are charged with implementing these things."

Recruitment and retention are among the top goals the web site ( and committee will support, according to Carlson. She said work/life issues are something that people -- and their partners -- consider before they come to Iowa State.

"The whole reason to do this is to make a better workplace, but it's also to make the best university so we can bring in the best people and keep them," she said. "We've got a wonderful community, we've got good people and we really do have good policies already in place."



Work/Life Advisory Committee representation

  • Susan Carlson, associate provost (chair)
  • Melanie Smith, program assistant
  • Equal Opportunity and Diversity
  • ISU Childcare
  • Faculty Senate
  • P&S Council
  • University Committee on Women
  • ADVANCE Program
  • College dean or associate dean
  • Department chair
  • Student Affairs
  • Graduate student

More information