Faculty Modified Duties Assignment (FMDA)

With a Faculty Modified Duties Assignment (FMDA), departments and colleges support the work-life balance of tenure-eligible and tenured faculty by facilitating the temporary reconfiguration of faculty duties, as specified in the Position Responsibility Statement (PRS), for one semester as associated with the birth of a child, the adoption of a child, or the foster care placement of a child.  Faculty responsibilities remain at a 100% effort level as specified in the faculty member’s PRS, but the effort levels in areas of responsibility (e.g., teaching, research, professional service, clinical service, and extension and outreach) are rebalanced for one semester so as to provide the faculty member with greater flexibility during that time period.

While modified duties assignments already occur for a variety of select and strategic reasons, such assignments have not been made uniformly across campus due to resource constraints.  Central coordination and funding intend to fill the gap and standardize such reconfigurations of a faculty member’s PRS for one semester. 

All A-base and B-base tenure-eligible and tenured faculty members are eligible for an FMDA.  An eligible faculty member who is designated as the primary caregiver for a child may request a one-semester modification of his or her PRS (“standard PRS” or “standard responsibilities”) with reassignment from certain areas of faculty responsibility to other areas of faculty responsibility.  The modified duties assignment must be completed within 12 months of the birth of a child, the adoption of a child, or the foster care placement of a child.  The maximum period for which PRS duties will be reassigned through an FMDA is one semester. A faculty member is eligible for FMDA only twice in the course of his or her employment at ISU.

An A- or B-base faculty member who is a birth mother may use sick leave for maternity according to ISU policy, in addition to FMDA, if eligible.  For periods when full leave is appropriate (e.g., directly following a birth), a faculty member must consult University Human Resources (515-294-3753 or fmla@iastate.edu) to apply for FMLA and/or to inquire about the use of available balances of sick leave during the modified duties semester.   

Tenure-eligible faculty who are eligible for FMDA may also request an extension of the tenure clock following (see Faculty Handbook, section

A faculty member having duties temporarily reassigned through FMDA must return to his or her standard duties, as articulated in the standard PRS, for a minimum of two semesters following the FMDA.

Additional details are provided in the Faculty Modified Duties Assignment FAQ (DOC, 134KB).

Process for requesting an FMDA

A faculty member must notify his or her department chair of the desire for FMDA as early as possible, and typically no later than four months in advance of the semester in which the FMDA would commence.   To formally request the FMDA, the faculty member submits an FMDA Request Form (DOC, 25KB) to the department chair certifying that he or she will have primary responsibility for the child during the indicated modified duties period.  The faculty member must consult with UHR on the use of FMLA and or sick leave associated with the arrival of a child.

The faculty member and department chair will discuss and develop modifications to the PRS for the period under discussion.  Once the modifications are agreed upon, the faculty member and department chair sign the PRS. For the purposes of a modified duties assignment as described here, the process is not subject to the provisions of PRS mediation.

The department chair completes the remainder of the FMDA Request Form (DOC, 25KB), indicates any funding that is needed to facilitate the modified PRS, and forwards the form to the corresponding dean for review.  The dean will review the proposed modified duties for consistency and fairness, will indicate whether or not funding is sought, and will forward the FMDA Request Form (DOC, 25KB) for approval to the SVPP.   

In order to facilitate the FMDA, the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost will contribute centrally half of the cost associated with the modified PRS.  The remaining half will be covered through college and/or departmental resources.  The cost of FMDA for a faculty member with a joint appointment between two colleges or between a college and a center will be split proportionally.  These costs can include replacement hiring to cover teaching, clinical duties, research supervision, and/or service needs during the modification of the faculty member’s position responsibilities.

Please see the Faculty Modified Duties Assignment Workflow (DOC, 43KB) for a visual illustration of the process for requesting a FMDA.

Questions regarding FMDA should be directed to Associate Provost Dawn Bratsch-Prince (294-6410 or deprince@iastate.edu) or Brenda Behling, Director of Academic Policy and Personnel, (294-8236 or bkbehli@iastate.edu).