Dear UMBC Community,
The Labor Day holiday honors the achievements of working people, and it takes on special significance this year as we recognize the extraordinary professional and personal demands placed on our faculty, staff, and students as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly on those with caregiving responsibilities. Our community remains committed to working together to address these work-life balance challenges.
Because of our strong shared commitment to our students and colleagues, we know that some members of our community may be reluctant to voice the caregiving challenges they face and ask for support. We are also aware that the primary responsibility for caregiving often falls disproportionately upon women, and that the intersection of the pandemic and the ongoing national movement for racial and social justice likewise impacts Black, Indigenous, and people of color within our community.
We ask all campus leaders, supervisors, faculty, and instructors to remember the importance of communicating effectively the support available to our community members with caregiving responsibilities so that we can provide as much flexibility as possible and encourage those who are encountering challenges in their work-life balance to come forward. In that spirit, please act on each of the following as the semester begins:
1. Ensure that everyone in your department/area is aware of these institutional resources:
We will provide updates as we identify additional resources.
2. Discuss COVID-19-related caregiving needs and provide support and resources at your next department or staff meeting. During this discussion please:
- Invite faculty and staff of all genders who have caregiving responsibilities to meet individually with you to discuss ways in which their workload might be reduced or redistributed within existing University policies.
- Review how you might reduce the frequency and duration of, and increase the effectiveness of, department, committee, and staff meetings.
- Identify non-essential work, including periodic and other types of reports, that could be discontinued or deferred.
- Talk about how you will work with employees to develop backup support plans for all responsibilities in case of illness or urgent caregiving challenges.
Thank you for your continued support of our community as we navigate these unprecedented times.
President Freeman Hrabowski
Provost Philip Rous
Faculty Senate President Orianne Smith
Non-Exempt Staff Senate President Melody Wright
Professional Staff Senate President Bobby Lubaszewski