March 21, 2018

TO: President Tony Frank

FROM: Zinta Byrne on behalf of the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity

SUBJECT: Recommendation for the Development of a Centralized Parental Resource Guide and Inventory of Resources

Background

For CSU to become the best place for women to work, we need to address and improve the experiences for working parents.  Research shows the happier employees are at home, the happier and more productive they tend to be at work.  Balancing the responsibilities of caring for dependents and thriving as a professional is a challenge, and one way to better support this population is to provide more thorough and clear information about the university’s existing initiatives, policies, and resources.  The support employees currently receive from balancing work and family commitments varies widely and is dependent on unit, supervisor, and personal network, presenting yet another challenge to working parents.  Removing the barriers of incomplete and widespread information enables parents across campus to take advantage of available resources and potentially find more effective ways to achieve a balance between work and home.  We want everyone to be able to access information in a fair and consistent manner.  Unfortunately, it is still the case that the burden of achieving this balance falls primarily on women, and therefore, empowering them to access resources to support their needs makes CSU a better place for women to work.

Recommendation

The Commission has two immediate recommendations to address the challenge outlined above:

1. Develop a centralized website to house and highlight the existing resources available for CSU parents.

There is already a significant work happening on campus to support working parents, but it is challenging to navigate the existing maze of websites and contacts.  Many parents currently rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and impromptu peer support groups to piece together best practices, knowledge of employees rights, and resources.  A well-publicized and centralized web resource that outlines what resources are available and how to most effectively utilize those resources would send a clear message to working parents that they are valued and supported members of the campus community.

2. Complete an inventory of existing resources for parents and research what peer institutions are doing to support working parents.

In order to most effectively plan what CSU needs, we first need a comprehensive guide of what we have already done.  It would be valuable to know which committees, subcommittees, task forces, and other organizations are currently working on topics related to supporting working parents, of all identities and paths to parenthood.  Additionally, we would like to develop a comprehensive spreadsheet of existing resources to be included in the Employee Orientation materials and to be housed on the website for parents to easily download.  We need to know if and where there are gaps in service in order to most effectively serve this population.  Finally it would be valuable to research what initiatives peer institutions have launched to support this employee population.

Promotes the Mission and Goal of the Commission

These recommendations align with the Commission’s mission to promote an environment that fosters productive and supportive relationships and interactions.  For parent employees to feel empowered and supported by the institution to pursue their professional and academic aspirations, we need to better recognize the many hats these professionals wear and streamline the process of how they may utilize the resources available to them.  A healthy and well-cared for employee base can better serve our campus and Fort Collins communities.

Attachments:

Draft of existing resources and where information is housed
Examples of university websites for parental employees