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To provide guidance when certain personal circumstances prevent one from being able to perform any instructional duties.

Applies to: 

Tenured or tenure-track faculty who are appointed full-time in their units during the Fall and Spring semesters of the academic year.

Policy Statement: 

It is the policy of The University of Kansas to modify the instructional duties of faculty members and allow for equivalent academic service when certain personal circumstances prevent them from being able to perform their instructional duties, and when such modifications are found to be in the best interest of the University’s educational mission.

This policy applies immediately upon employment at the University to all tenured or tenure-track faculty (hereafter “faculty”) who are appointed full-time in their units during the Fall and Spring semesters of the academic year.

Eligibility Requirements

Faculty members who may apply for modified instructional duties are those who are the primary caregiver or have at least co-equal caregiving responsibilities for a pre-school child, by birth or adoption, or who are required to care for or assist a member or members of their immediate family who are ill or disabled. Modified duties may be used in addition to sick leave. 1

Period and Scope of Modification

  • Modifications to instructional duties shall be for the period of one semester (i.e., fall or spring).
  • If two members in the family household are employed by the University as tenured or tenure-track faculty, a total of one semester of modified duties may be taken for a particular child (or family member), either for the primary caregiver or split between co-equal caregivers.
  • For faculty members with caregiving responsibilities for a child, the period of modified instructional duties must be taken within 12 months of the child joining the family, whether by birth or adoption.
  • Faculty members whose requests for modified instructional duties are granted are not removed from the unit’s budget and are expected to continue to fulfill all of their other duties as members of the faculty during the period of modified responsibilities.

Application Requirements

The faculty member must submit a written request for a modification of instructional duties for the endorsement of the faculty member's dean. In the College and Schools with a departmental structure, the request should first be submitted for the endorsement of the department chair before it is forwarded to the dean. The request should be submitted at least three months prior to the semester in which the modification is needed, except in unusual circumstances. The request must include the following information:

  1. A statement describing the faculty member’s status as the primary or co-equal caregiver of the child or ill or disabled family member;
  2. A statement explaining the need for modified instructional duties and the alternative allocation of effort by percentages; and
  3. A proposal describing normal instructional duties from which the faculty member would be relieved and the work to be done in its place. This work may involve significant scholarly research, new course development, curriculum development, or other work done in the best interest of the University's overall mission. The proposal must describe the work in detail, define a work product, and include a method for evaluation of the work by the department chair and/or dean during the semester.

Application Review

The chair and/or dean to whom the written request for modification of instructional duties is submitted shall review it to determine that:

  1. The faculty member is eligible to apply for modified instructional duties;
  2. The request contains a sufficiently detailed description of the work to be done in place of the applicant's normal instructional duties, that it defines a work product, and that it states an adequate method for evaluation of the work by the department chair or dean during the semester;
  3. The proposal is in the best interest of the department/program’s and school/college’s. mission; and
  4. The full range of the department's or the program's instructional responsibilities can be met without additional resources during the period of modification.

In the College and Schools with departments, the chair/director should complete a review before sending the application to the dean. Within thirty (30) days of receipt of the request, the dean shall submit it and the results of the review, in writing, to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. Upon final review, the Provost will communicate a written decision to the applicant and the appropriate dean and/or department chair. The decision of the Provost is final.

All teaching load modifications will be granted in compliance with the department’s or School’s expected courseload requirements for faculty.

1This policy may be applied to supplement use of sick leave, where FMLA leave has been designated by the University as appropriate, or when accumulated sick leave is insufficient.

* The Modified Instructional Duties policy of The University of Texas at Austin provided a basis for this University of Kansas policy, and the University of Kansas gratefully acknowledges the source.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Faculty requesting modified duties based on personal illness, health, and/or disability may be eligible to request a workplace accommodation through the ADA Resources Center for Equity and Accessibility Accommodations Process.


Vice Provost for Faculty Development
250 Strong Hall

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Effective on: 
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

Disability - In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102): Disability means, with respect to an individual: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such an individual; a record of having such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. Such impairments could include but are not limited to; amputation, schizophrenia, anxiety, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Intellectual/ Developmental Disorders, blindness, or hearing loss.

Physical Impairment - physiological condition, anatomic loss, etc. that affects one or more of our body systems i.e. musculoskeletal, neurological, digestive.  

Mental Impairment - mental or psychological condition – i.e. intellectual disability/development disability, learning disabilities, emotional and mental health.

Illness - an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves: inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or continuing treatment by a health care provider.  Reasons for leave may include mental health related treatment, symptoms, or diagnoses.

Modified instructional duties, primary caregiver, co-equal caregiver, family, maternity leave, paternity leave, paternal leave, birth, adoption, disability, impairment, leave, illness, sick leave, FMLA
Change History: 

04/30/2021: Updated policy to include mental health terminology. 
07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
04/06/2016: Added keywords.
01/09/2015: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
11/04/2014: Clarification of process regarding alternative allocation of effort under Application Requirements section.
01/08/2008: Approved by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.

Personnel: Faculty/Academic Staff Categories: 

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