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Sept. 10, 2009

Smith College Receives Funding to Support Faculty Flexibility Initiative

Washington, D.C.— Smith College was today named one of eight recipients of the 2009 Alfred P. Sloan Awards for initiatives targeting faculty career flexibility, according to the American Council on Education (ACE).

The awards — of $25,000 and above — recognize baccalaureate colleges for their leadership and accomplishments in implementing groundbreaking policies and practices supporting career flexibility for tenured and tenure-track faculty.

Smith's Center for Work and Life, which focuses on the challenges of negotiating career, family responsibilities, and personal well-being, will use the $25,000 grant to support the efforts of faculty members caring for aging parents.

Nearly half of Smith's faculty - 46% - report the need for temporary work relief to provide elder care, according to Maureen Mahoney, dean of the college.

"While students often contemplate how they will balance work and children, faculty confront the issue of balancing of work with caring for elderly parents," said Mahoney. "With this grant, Smith is serving the needs of faculty as well as supporting healthy role models for students."

The Center for Work and Life plans to develop a model for eldercare support, including a comprehensive Web site with referral information, local support groups and information on new research findings.

"Campuses across the country are grappling with the economic downturn and making difficult decisions about how best to deploy their resources," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. "The dedication these eight campuses have shown to advancing faculty career flexibility options in light of these economic conditions is admirable. These efforts send a clear message to faculty that their institutions are committed to attracting and serving the needs of an increasingly diverse faculty."

Mahoney will accept the award for Smith during ACE's Board of Directors meeting on Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C. In addition to Smith, the following schools will receive awards: Albright College, Bowdoin College, Dickinson College, Middlebury College, Mount Holyoke College, Oberlin College and Washington and Lee University.

The awards program was open to the 287 institutions. Applicants were evaluated in a two-part process. During the first round, tenured and tenure-track faculty completed an institutional survey about career flexibility. The second round included a faculty survey and an institution-wide accelerator plan for the development and use of career flexibility programs among faculty.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
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