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Handbook Outline

University Programs and Resources

University programs and resources for faculty, other academic appointees, and their dependents - from vibrant arts programs to athletic facilities to child care. 

Arts at Chicago

The arts are central to the mission of the University of Chicago. With a strong tradition of cross-disciplinary practices intricately mixed with intellectual curiosity and creative energy, the University fosters a bustling arts community on Chicago’s South Side. For information about arts initiatives in and around campus, please visit the UChicago Arts site.

Athletic Facilities

University of Chicago students, faculty and community members have access to an impressive array of fitness facilities, programs and services through Physical Education & Athletics. On average, more than 4,565 students work out in our facilities each month. Please visit the Physical Education and Athletics site for information on fitness facilities, the fitness classes offered each quarter, or to make an appointment with a personal trainer

Benefits: Health, Dental, Life Insurance & Other Benefit Plans

The University of Chicago offers a wide variety of benefits programs and resources to its employees. From the health plan options and wellness programs, to the continuing education opportunities and competitive retirement plans, the University is committed to providing benefits that matter to you at each stage of your employment. For specifics about the benefits available to University employees, please visit the Benefits page on the University of Chicago's Human Resources site. 

Child Care Resources

Parents who work or study here need access to a range of resources for their young children. The University of Chicago addresses some of the needs of these parents with specially tailored services, resources, and policies. To learn more about the University's child development centers, partnerhips with area child care providers, and other child care programs, please visit the Child Care Resources site. 

Credit Union

For information about the University's credit union and the services it provides, please visit the Maroon Financial Credit Union site.

Drugs and Alcohol Policies

The University prohibits all students and employees from the unlawful manufacture, possession, use, distribution, sale, or purchase of alcohol and other drugs on University premises or as part of any University activity, and from working under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs. The only exception to this provision applies to moderate consumption and/or possession of alcohol on University premises at approved functions (e.g., receptions) by those legally permitted to consume or distribute alcohol. Such functions must comply with all applicable University guidelines. Please visit the Drug and Alcohol Policies page of the Common Sense site for the full text of the University's policy, 

Housing Services

Faculty and Staff Housing assists eligible University of Chicago faculty and staff by making the transition into a new home as smooth as possible.

The Faculty and Staff Housing staff is available to facilitate rental of University owned apartments and houses in the Hyde Park neighborhood, as well as the purchase of homes in Hyde Park, South and North Kenwood, Oakland, Woodlawn, Washington Park, South Shore, and the Jackson Highlands.

Faculty and Staff Housing also provides general information on neighborhood properties for rent, including:

  • Privately owned rental apartments and homes
  • Sublets and relets
  • Roommate opportunities

For more information, please contact Rose Dyrud. 

Identification Cards

The UChicago Card is the official University identification card. You can use it for many things, including getting access to the Library and checking out library materials, storing credit for dining hall use (for students), and riding certain CTA buses. For more information about the UChicago card, please visit the Identitication Cards Overview page of the IT Services website. 

For information about securing a UChicago Card, please visit the Idenitification and Privileges Office site. 

Immigration Assistance

The University provides all faculty members with legal assistance in the application for both temporary and permanent visas. Faculty should contact their departmental administrator on this matter. 

Nepotism Policy for Faculty and Other Academic Appointees

The University seeks to hire and retain the most qualified individuals and to foster a work environment of trust and good will. Nepotism is favoritism in the workplace based on kinship and ordinarily consists of making employment decisions based on a family relationship. Nepotism is inconsistent with the University’s longstanding policy of making employment decisions based solely on unit needs and individual qualifications, skills, ability and performance. The purpose of this policy is to avoid favoritism, the appearance of or potential for favoritism, and conflicts in interest and loyalty often associated with nepotism.

Policy

No faculty member or other academic appointee may make, participate in, or attempt to influence employment decisions involving a relative. The same is true vis a vis an individual in a current or recently concluded consensual romantic or sexual relationship.

Key Definitions

Academic employee: University faculty and other academic appointee within the meaning of the University’s Statutes.

Employment decisions: the full spectrum of employment related actions, including but not limited to decisions related to hiring, supervision, direction of work, promotion, compensation, work hours, performance evaluation, termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment.

Relative: the spouse; domestic or civil union partner; and, whether by blood, adoption, marriage or domestic or civil union partnership, the child, parent, grandparent, sibling, grandchild, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, or any person residing in the immediate household of the University faculty member or other academic appointee.

Guidelines and Commentary

  1. This policy does not prohibit the University from simultaneously employing relatives. Indeed, relatives are permitted to work in the same University department or unit so long as the relatives comply with the requirements outlined above, e.g., there is no direct reporting or supervisory relationship between the relatives and all employment decisions are made by others.
  2. Faculty members and other academic appointees are obligated to self-report to the head of their organizational unit before they make, participate in or attempt to influence decisions prohibited by this policy. If the at-issue relationship involves the leader of an organizational unit (e.g., a Department Chair or Director), the self-report must be made to the academic leader to whom the employee is accountable (e.g., Dean or Provost).
  3. This policy is applicable to instances of nepotism that existed before the enactment of this policy; those situations thus prospectively must be evaluated and managed within the parameters of this policy.
  4. Legitimate issues may arise and thus must be disclosed and managed under this policy with regard to favoritism of:
    • relatives who do not fit the definition of relative provided above;
    • individuals with whom an academic employee has or has recently concluded a consensual sexual or romantic relationship; and
    • situations where the faculty member or other academic appointee is directly or indirectly involved in the University’s engagement or potential engagement (e.g., as a contractor) of a relative or individual with whom an academic employee has or has recently concluded a consensual sexual or romantic relationship.
  5. Exceptions to this policy are at the discretion of the President and Provost. For example, if one of the related parties is uniquely qualified to work for the other based on qualifications for a position and performs work in direct support of teaching, research or patient care, the President or Provost may permit the related persons to continue to work together, provided that an appropriate management plan is developed, implemented and administered, as described below in Paragraph 6.
  6. The fundamental goal of the management plan is to mitigate actual and perceived favoritism and conflicts of interest and loyalty by establishing appropriate processes for employment decisions. Depending on the employment classification (e.g., staff, academic) of the individual with whom the faculty member or other academic appointee has a relationship, a management plan should be devised by, as appropriate, the unit’s academic affairs administrator, senior human resources representative or University Human Resource Services, and must be approved by the head of the academic organizational unit (e.g., Dean, Director, Chair or Section Chief) and by the Provost or his or her designee. At a minimum, management plans must:
    • address reporting relationships, supervision, and evaluation in a way that will assure that there will be no participation in employment decisions as prohibited by this policy and
    • establish a review and approval process for expenditures to sufficiently mitigate or preclude favoritism or the appearance of favoritism. To ensure continuity and appropriateness, review and, as needed, revision of the approved management plan should occur at least annually and also whenever there is a germane change in reporting relationships. If the at-issue relationship involves the leader of an organizational unit, the management plan must be reviewed and approved by the academic leader to whom the at-issue unit leader is accountable (e.g., Dean or Provost).
  7. Complaints about violations of this policy should be submitted to the cognizant Dean or the Office the Provost. All such complaints will be treated as confidentially as feasible and will be addressed by the cognizant Dean or the Office of the Provost.

Related Policies

Updated: January 9, 2012

Property Insurance

The University does not insure the property of faculty or academic staff members, whether it is located on or off campus. Arrangements for coverage of personal property should be made with an insurance agent. Coverage for University property used by faculty members on or off campus is available from the University. 

Public Relations and Speaking to the Press

Favorable press coverage expands public knowledge of faculty and academic staff members' work, extending the university's mission of teaching, research and public service, and builds understanding and appreciation among people and groups important to the University, including funding agencies, faculty at other institutions, alumni, current and potential students and their families, legislators, and current and potential donors.

Often, the distribution of a news release from the University's News Office will encourage a reporter to contact the faculty or academic staff member. Such contact may take a few moments or, on major stories pursued by several news organizations, several hours. Some reporters understand the subject matter and are excellent interviewers; others are generalists or are inexperienced and may need considerable help to report accurately. In either case, media interviews often are necessary to serve the University and the public by providing thorough and accurate information.

Before the interview, faculty and academic staff members are advised to:

  1. Take down the reporter's name and news organization and ask what the topic will be and what questions the reporter will ask.
  2. Remember it is acceptable to decline an interview. It is best not to stonewall or use the words "no comment" these merely make reporters think there is something to hide. If someone else is a more knowledgeable or appropriate source, a faculty member may refer the reporter to that person.
  3. If caught off guard, say that it is inconvenient to talk right now and ask for the reporter's number to return the call shortly. You may then contact the News Office (773-702-8360) to discuss the best strategy.
  4. If the reporter and story seem legitimate, be helpful, frank and quick to respond to the request for an interview. A slow response allows what other interviewees say to shape the story in the reporter's mind.

During the interview, faculty and academic staff members are advised to:

  1. Assume everything said will be quoted, even if said in casual conversation or when the interview appears over.
  2. Give simple answers that cannot be misinterpreted. For guidance, feel free to call the News Office (773-702-8360).
  3. Remember that most audiences do not comprehend the diversity of views within a university; they perceive the institution, not the individual, speaking. Therefore it is best to avoid personal opinions when speaking for your colleagues, department or university. When giving opinions, particularly when discussing institutional issues or those involving controversy, it is best to make clear that you speak only for yourself.
  4. Have a few central points to make"one is best, three is maximum" clearly. One good approach is to say, "The two things everyone should understand are: One...".
  5. Speak to the reporter's audience, not just to the reporter, and explain what the information means to the public.
  6. Keep statements clear and concise, providing plain-language interpretations and metaphors. If you do not do it, the reporter may.
  7. Not let reporters lead you into saying something you do not wish to say. Some will try to feed you lines ("So, in other words, you are saying..."). If those words do not fairly capture what you said, correct the reporter. It is best not to repeat loaded words or phrases, even to deny the assertion, and better to avoid hypothetical questions.
  8. After the interview, feel free to call the News Office to discuss the interview, apprise the news staff of any surprising issues, or clarify any remaining questions.

The above rules also apply to broadcast interviews, but with a critical added factor: the lack of time. Unless you are the guest on a talk show, your comments may be cut down to twenty seconds or less.

Remember to:

  1. Be calm, positive, and natural. Speak in a normal, sincere tone and style without over-enunciating.
  2. Avoid jargon and acronyms, which distance you from the public. Give concrete, accessible examples.
  3. Remember appearance counts: Avoid clothing, jewelry or settings that draw attention to themselves. Seek a pleasant backdrop. People should react to your substance, not your style.

The News Office operates an extensive communications program on behalf of the University, helping both print and broadcast media describe significant achievements and activities of the University, its faculty, staff, and students. It also manages media relations, initiating and monitoring coverage and meeting media requests for information. If a faculty member has something timely and provocative to say, the office can help develop and offer op-eds to the appropriate news organization. No releases are distributed without full collaboration with the source. The News Office does not control what outside news organizations do with a release once it leaves University hands.

The News Office coordinates timing with faculty so as not to jeopardize an article's publication in a professional journal or a presentation at a professional meeting. Such coordinated timing often creates greater news coverage by providing a common release date, or "embargo date" for the story. Each campus unit is on the beat of a writer who keeps abreast of newsworthy developments and identifies University of Chicago experts for the press.

The News Office is located at 5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Suite 120. The phone is 773-702-8360, but the director and writers can also be reached via e-mail addresses listed in the campus directory. The Graduate School of Business (773-702-7128) and the Medical Center (773-702-6241) have their own Communications Offices to serve faculty and academic staff members in those areas.

Quadrangle Club

The Quadrangle Club offers fine dining and catering services, guest rooms for overnight stays, and top-rate tennis facilities conveniently located in the heart of the University of Chicago campus. Membership is available to University Faculty and staff and community members. For information about the Club's history, team, or to secure a reservation, please visit The Quadrangle Club site. 

Staff and Faculty Assistance Program (Perspectives/EAP)

The Staff and Faculty Assistance Program (SFAP) is a confidential service offered through Perspectives Ltd. that provides support, counseling, referrals and resources for issues that impact your life.  Perspectives Ltd. can help address concerns such as:

  • Child/Elder care
  • Family, marriage or work
  • Financial or legal
  • Emotions and stress
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

Additional services available include:

  • Convenience
  • Concierge
  • Moving
  • Will preparation

For information on how to contact Perspectives Ltd., please visit the Staff and Faculty Assistance Program page on the Human Resources site. 

Transportation and Parking

The University provides a variety of transportation and parking options to students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the UChicago community. Transportation offerings are designed to serve and support members of the campus community and our surrounding neighbors to travel on and around campus safely and efficiently. For detailed information about these options, please visit the Transportation and Parking site.