The University Record, October 8, 1996

Task force to study faculty, staff and student child care needs

Mary McAweeney drops off Erin at the Family Housing Community Center, one of six child care programs sponsored by the University.

Photo by Bob Kalmbach

By Julie Peterson
News and Information Services


A task force of faculty, staff and student representatives has been appointed to look at the child care needs of the University community and make recommendations on how the University ought to address those needs.

In their charge to the task force, Provost J. Bernard Machen and Vice President for Student Affairs Maureen Hartford noted that a longstanding concern for such needs has led to the creation of six child care programs sponsored by the University. "These programs recognize that increasing numbers of our faculty, our staff and our students cannot meet their obligations without quality, reliable child care arrangements."

"The task force members recognize the importance of the child-care issue to the faculty, student, and staff parents of the University community," says Ada Sue Hinshaw, dean of the School of Nursing and task force chair. "We are moving quickly to assess the need for services and develop and recommend possible strategies and needed resources."

A priority for the task force will be to review a proposed student child care fee introduced by the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) in the spring, and to focus on the needs of student parents, particularly for infant/toddler and part-time care.

The task force will address three key issues---availability, affordability and quality---says task force member Leslie A. de Pietro, coordinator of the Family Care Resources Program at the U-M.

"I'm hoping that out of this task force comes a broad-based statement of philosophy regarding the need for child care on this campus, as well as a strategic plan that lays out the steps for implementation," de Pietro says. "That may or may not involve the creation of new facilities. There are many ways to meet these needs."

Other task force members are Muge Gocek, associate professor of sociology and of women's studies; Norman G. Herbert, associate vice president and treasurer; Ejner J. Jensen, professor of English language and literature; Susan W. Kaufmann, associate director, Center for Continuing Education of Women; Eric D. Luskin, director, Family Housing; Fiona A. Rose, undergraduate student and MSA president; Richard M. Tolman, associate professor of social work; and graduate student Amy M. Young.

The task force has been asked to present a progress report by November.