Friday, September 10, 2010

Dual career couples

Although dual career couples in academia aren't strictly speaking (only) a gender concern, the best collection of resources on academic couples I've found is on a site organized through an NSF program for the advancement of women in science and engineering careers.

It consists of links to reports both on what academic couples do, and on what universities do (or should do) to accomodate them and hire them.  One Stanford report, called Dual-Career Academic Couples: What Universities Need to Know surveyed full time faculty at 13 research universities and found that 36% had partners employed in academia. (And of course many other professors are part of two-professional-career households even if their partner isn't an academic.)

So this is a big and growing issue for the academic labor market, likely to play out in different hiring policies, and employment patters for urban and rural universities.

There are obviously some market design issues, as well as strategy issues. For example, there are now legal restrictions on what you can ask a potential employee about her/his marital status. But academic couples also have to decide to what extent to do joint searches that involve/inform the potential employers at an early stage.

The AAUP has just released a set of Recommendations on Partner Accommodation and Dual Career Appointments (2010). Here's an accompanying story from Inside Higher Ed, which outlines some of the contradictory impulses behind the AAUP recommendations (which suggest both that partner hires should not be as adjuncts, nor should they come at the expense of adjunct positions): Doing 'Dual Career' Right.

Here are my earlier posts on couples, including discussion of how the couples match plays out for medical residents (and a link to a recent paper).

1 comment:

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There is no simple solution to the dual-career couple issue, simply because such couples are in a wide variety of situations.