Policy & Climate

Objective: Enhance policies for faculty support and improve departmental climates.


  1. Drafted revisions to maternity/paternity and sick leave policies were made to increase their transparency and flexibility, and are now link to other related policies, such as Authorized Paid Leave. These policies, includes provisions for taking care of ill family members, not only children. These proposed changes were unanimously approved by the Faculty Senate in the Spring 2014 semester, and are currently pending review by the Academic Affairs Executive Team.
  2. The Dual Academic Career Hiring Program and Guidelines were developed by the ADVANCE team, in consultation with the Faculty Senate, the Council of Chairs, and the Women’s Faculty Network. The related HOP policy regarding faculty searches was also revised to increase the flexibility to hire academic partners. The Program /Guidelines and the corresponding changes to the HOP were unanimously approved by the Faculty Senate and the Academic Affairs Executive Team in the Spring 2014 semester.
  3. A modified instructional duties policy was developed and incorporated into proposed revisions of the Faculty Workload Policy (HOP 6.5.7), to allow faculty to bank courses from the fall to spring semesters or to adjust their teaching schedule to accommodate a necessary and planned leave. (UT System policy does not permit the course banking from spring to fall semesters.) These proposed changes were approved by the Faculty Senate in Spring 2014 and are under review by the AAET in Summer 2014.
  4. Formal mentoring to second year faculty was expanded in the 2013-14 academic year, in light of the success of the New Faculty Support Program. Moreover, workshops are now provided to both mentees and their mentors to increase the effectiveness of the mentoring relationship.
  5. Changes to the tenure and promotion policies that allowed for more flexibility in stopping the tenure clock for one year were approved by the Faculty Senate and the Academic Affairs Executive Team; this accommodation was previously granted only under special circumstances. (UT System policy precludes the automatic stoppage of the tenure-track clock).
  6. A joint Senate-ADVANCE Policies and Climate Team has been formed to collaborate on proposed changes to policy that meet the ADVANCE goals and objectives.
  7. A Lactation Policy Committee was formed in Spring 2014 to develop a campus lactation policy/guidelines and to identify spaces on campus to be used for that purpose. As a result, and in collaboration with the office of Human Resources, Dean of Students, and Facilities Management, several Nursing Mother Suites have been created across campus. To learn more about the suites, click here.
  8. Psychologically Healthy Workplace. The UTRGV ADVANCE Program is based on the Psychologically Health Workplace, a framework by  the American Psychological Association, outlining five areas of focus:
    • Growth and Development: Provide employees with the opportunity to expand their knowledge, skills, and abilities and provide an outlet to apply these gained competencies.
    • Health & Well-Being: Maximize health of employees through prevention, assessment, and treatment of potential health risks.
    • Involvement: Allow employees to bring ideas and perspectives as a part of organizational decision-making.
    • Recognition: Reward all employees for their contributions and achievements.
    • Work-Life Balance: Help employees balance the multiple demands in their lives.


Dora Saavedra  dora.saavedra@utrgv.edu

  • Associate Professor of Communication

Cristina Villalobos cristina.villalobos@utrgv.edu

  • President's Endowed Professor of School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences and Director, STEM Education