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Family and work are focus of forums during IAP

What are the most common problems facing MIT students, faculty and staff in juggling work, school, personal and family lives? Does MIT provide adequate services to help? Are MIT's childbirth and family-care leave policies understood? Are they effective? Is there any room for flexibility in academic or work schedules to help in balancing responsibilities? To what extent does the MIT "culture" create or add to the pressure?

These are some of the questions that have caught the attention of the MIT Council on the Family and Work, and they are among topics to be discussed at two open forums during IAP. The forums will be held Thursday, Jan. 12, and Thursday, Jan. 26, in the Marlar Lounge, (Rm 37-252), noon-2pm. There is no preregistration and the forums are open to all members of the MIT community and their families.

"The Council is sponsoring these forums in order to find out what's important to the community and what needs are out there," said Professor Jack Kerrebrock of aeronautics and astronautics, chairman of the Council.

The January 12 forum will focus on resources, services, and benefits offered at MIT for families, and policies related to maternity and family leaves. Information about current services will be available for those who attend.

The January 26 forum will be a discussion of issues on balancing work and personal/family responsibilities, including topics such as flexibility in work schedules and the MIT work "culture" and its impact on personal lives.

"We hope the open discussion at each forum will encourage participants to voice any concerns they have related to work and family issues," said Cynthia Vallino, executive officer of the council.

The MIT Council on the Family and Work was established by President Charles M. Vest in 1992 to serve in an advisory capacity to him concerning family and work-related issues as they affect MIT's faculty, staff and students. The specific responsibilities of the Council include the identification and evaluation of such concerns and the development of recommendations to MIT's senior officers about courses of action to address them.

Previous Council initiatives have led to expanded health and dental benefits for spousal equivalents of employees, enhanced services to support child care and family needs, and more flexible family leave provisions for faculty and staff. The upcoming forums will allow the Council to hear of other specific needs and concerns of the MIT community as it moves forward to formulate new recommendations.

In addition to raising concerns and making suggestions at the IAP forums, MIT students, faculty and staff are encouraged to provide input (anonymously or by name) to the Council via e-mail at or directly to individual members:

Jack L. Kerrebrock (faculty), chairman, x3-2486, .

Cynthia L. Vallino (administration), executive officer, x3-1591, .

Serpil Ayasli (Lincoln Laboratory research staff), x181-7478, .

Lotte Bailyn (faculty), x3-6674, .

Lisa M. Bartolet (administration), x3-0420, .

Andrew E. Bennett (graduate student), x3-5586, .

Isaac M. Colbert (administration), x3-4846, .

Vicky Diadiuk (administration), x3-8779, .

Peter Elias (faculty emeritus), x3-4193, .

Nesbitt W. Hagood (faculty), x3-2738, .

Linn W. Hobbs (faculty), x3-6835, .

Barbara J. Katz (Medical Department pediatrician), x3-1505 (no email)

Joanna R. Long (graduate student), x3-5586, .

John P. deMonchaux (faculty), x3-8299, .

Barbara Peacock-Coady (administration), x3-1056, .

A. Rae Simpson (administration), x3-1592, .

Chester W. Yablonski, Jr. (Lincoln Laboratory administration), x181-7600 .

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 11, 1995.

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