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UK TO HOST FIRST WORK-LIFE RETREAT

By Selena Stevens

 

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"Creating a workplace that allows employees to more effectively balance their work and off-the-job lives is an integral part of my vision for the University of Kentucky."

-- Lee T. Todd Jr.,
president,
University of Kentucky

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May 2, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. will convene UK's first Work-Life Retreat to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, June 3, in the President's Room of the Singletary Center for the Arts.

The retreat is the first phase of Todd's vision to enhance employee effectiveness by implementing university policies, procedures and practices that assist employees in fulfilling their personal as well as job-related responsibilities. Todd announced the initiative at the April 30 meeting of the UK Board of Trustees.

"Creating a workplace that allows employees to more effectively balance their work and off-the-job lives is an integral part of my vision for the University of Kentucky," Todd said. "Employees today are more likely to be working a second job, pursuing additional education, caring for an elderly family member, raising a family as a single parent or needing child care than employees 20 years ago. Many workers find it difficult, at times, to manage the competing demands of their job and personal life. Employment policies and practices such as flexible work arrangements and dependent-care options can help employees better meet personal responsibilities while continuing to be effective in their jobs."

Todd also announced that Phyllis Nash, associate vice president for academic and student affairs in the UK Chandler Medical Center, will serve as chairperson of a Work-Life Task Force, which he will appoint after the retreat.

"Today's workers spend many of their waking hours at work," Nash said. "Improving the workplace is not only good for workers, but many studies show that it is also good for employers bottom line."

At the retreat, Jennifer Swanberg, assistant professor in the UK College of Social Work, will report on demographic changes in the workforce and structural changes within the contemporary family that make work-life initiatives essential. Swanberg is the co-author of "The 1997 National Study of the Changing Workforce," a research program of the Families and Work Institute, a non-profit New York-based center that provides data on the changing workplace, family and community.

David Thompson, director of Microsoft Corp.'s work-life program and former director of Purdue University's work-life initiative, will speak on work-life initiatives in the private industry.

Leslie DePietro, director of the University of Michigan's Work/Life Resource Center and president of the College and University Work/Family Association, will offer a perspective on the initiative in the academic setting, especially at a top-20 public university.

In the afternoon sessions, Todd and Mary Ellen Slone, president of the Lexington-based advertising and public relations firm Meridian Corp., will facilitate reflections on the morning sessions, before the task force breaks into smaller groups for one-on-one sessions with Thompson and DePietro. The retreat grew out of a recommendation to Todd from the President's Commission on Women.


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