Faculty Handbook-4.5.5 Modified Duties

Faculty Handbook-4.5.5 Modified Duties

This section of the Faculty Handbook describes requirements for requesting modified duties.
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4.5.5 Modified Duties

The university recognizes the need for all tenured and tenure-earning faculty members to balance the commitments of family and work. Special family circumstances, for example, birth or adoption of a child, severe illness of an immediate family member or member of the immediate household, or issues of personal health, can cause substantial alterations to one's daily routine, thus creating a need to construct a modified workload and flexible schedule for a period of time.

Since the circumstances may vary widely for faculty members at different stages of their careers, and with different family and workload situations, this policy does not prescribe the exact nature of the accommodation. In many cases, it may be a reduction or elimination of a teaching assignment while the family member continues to meet ongoing, but more flexible research and graduate student supervision obligations. In general, the commitment is to work with a faculty member to devise a modified workload and schedule that enables the faculty member to remain an active and productive member of the department. Because there is no reduction in salary, the faculty member is expected to have a set of full-time responsibilities.

An eligible faculty member is encouraged to speak with his/her department chair as soon as possible about the need for modified duties in order to ensure the maximum amount of time for planning. A department chair, in conjunction with the dean, is responsible for working with a faculty member to ensure a fair plan for modified duties is implemented. Budgetary constraints and assuring that student or other needs are met must be considered. The policy does not create an entitlement, and business-related reasons may warrant denial of the request. Final decisions about the nature of the modified duties are the responsibility of the department chair in consultation with the dean.

Some individual circumstances cannot be adequately addressed by the provisions of this policy. Family medical leave (including disability), leave without pay, or indefinite reduction in appointment to part-time status may be options that must be considered for longer-term or more demanding needs. This policy is not intended to provide release time from teaching for the purpose of allowing additional time for research. Reduction in teaching assignment for research purposes is the prerogative of the department chair and dean.

Extension of the tenure-earning period is available for those faculty members on tenure-earning appointments who are confronted with extenuating personal or family circumstances, or birth or adoption of a child. The extension may be requested as a complement to a request for modified duties. However, the semester of modified duties does not automatically affect the tenure-earning period.


Modified duties may be requested by any faculty member in a full-time tenured or tenure-earning appointment for the purpose of managing family responsibilities or, in exceptional cases, personal health issues not addressed by sick time. The policy applies to eligible faculty upon employment.


  1. The period of modified duties will be one semester, or an equivalent amount of time for those faculty members whose responsibilities are not tied directly to teaching on the academic calendar.
  2. Modification of duties will not result in additional duties during the subsequent semester, e.g. the faculty member should not be asked to make up the released teaching before or after the semester of modified duties. The faculty member cannot be employed at another entity outside of UAB during the period of modified duties, nor can the flexible time be used for extensive professional travel or other professional activities (including internal and external activities) that do not meet the goals of the policy.
  3. Medical documentation is required if the period of modified duties is requested for a health issue not addressed by sick time.
  4. A semester of modified duties should be considered IN ADDITION TO, not as a substitute for, sick time and family leave available to those giving birth or adopting during the period of the appointment (i.e., during the academic year for those on nine-month appointments, or any time for those on twelve-month appointments). There are no work expectations for individuals on approved sick time or family medical leave.
  5. A faculty member should submit a request for modified duties as early as possible so the department can plan appropriately. The request form is available on the provost's web site under "forms". The plan of proposed activities is developed in consultation with the department chair and dean.
  6. Requests must be approved by the department chair and dean. If the department chair does not support the request, the reasons for denial shall be provided in writing, and the request will be automatically forwarded to the dean for further review. The decision by the dean will be shared in writing with the faculty member. If the request is denied, the reasons for denial will be provided.
  7. The Provost will provide a summary of modified duty activity annually to the President.