Major Department

Political Science


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2017

Honors Major Advisor

Rene Rocha

Thesis Mentor

Sara Mitchell


This thesis uses a case study approach to develop an understanding of how the University of Iowa’s parental leave policies and practices compare to those of its peers in the Big Ten Conference. This paper ultimately argues that the University of Iowa should modernize its staff parental leave policy for the well-being of its employees and to be competitive with other institutions. The first part of this thesis reviews my motivations for this research, which is the fact that evidence overwhelmingly supports paid parental leave policies. Next, I provide an overview of the University of Iowa’s history and current status surrounding paid leave. This includes a discussion of the results of a recent parental leave survey conducted by the University of Iowa’s Council on the Status of Women. Then, I describe the staff parental leave policies for the other 13 Big Ten Conference schools. This study aims to explore how the University of Iowa compares to these peer institutions. This paper concludes with recommendations for more inclusive parental leave policies and practices for academic institutions.


parental leave, Big Ten Conference, academic staff, University of Iowa

Total Pages

51 pages


Copyright © 2017 Rachel Zuckerman