faculty positions for spouses

RGyure rgyure at aol.com
Tue Aug 16 14:31:07 EST 1994

In article <01HFV3VUMWAG013L61 at AC.DAL.CA>, CSTAICER at AC.DAL.CA writes:
I am gathering information on what other universities have done to 
accomodate spouses of biology (or other science) faculty members.  Any 
information on the situation at your university would be much appreciated.

I am an assistant professor at a small private college in Madison WI. My
husband is a research associate at the University of Wisconsin, and is
searching for a faculty position. Since we both lived in Madison at the
time I was hired, I was not in a position to negotiate anything for my
husband. However, his position at the UW is not permanent. Now, we are
faced with the challenge of both finding employment in the same location.
It will most likely be in another location, and I am nervous about which
one of us will have to sacrifice what we have worked hard for over the
past several years. I don't think that most colleges and universities are
in aposition to be able to hire two married faculty at the same time--
this would be an extraordinary coincidence. Someone has to give up
At my college, I am lobbying for flexible work options with job sharing. I
believe that couples with two fields of specialization can be more
valuable to an institution than one individual would, if they are allowed
to share a permanent, tenure-track appointment. The range of courses they
could teach, the continuity of their presence (one could take sabbatical
while the other worked full time, for example), and the breadth of overall
experience of two rather than one individual seems hard to argue with. I
think institutions could be pursuaded to move toward such arrangements if
we maintain steady pressure in a tactful and compassionate manner. I have
worked for years with my administration on the issue of part-time faculty
(they are very much exploited, and mostly women), and over the years I
have learned more about how to approach and deal with those who see
colleges from a "dollars and cents" viewpoint. No one gives us anything
out of the goodness of their hearts-- we have to convince them that what
we are asking for will benefit the institution in the long run. I would
appreciate hearing from any of you out there who are interested in the
idea of permanent part-time positions, job-sharing, etc. and what you have
seen at your institutions. Any data would be helpful when I approach my
administrators and fellow faculty. I do think this is a womens issue,
since women tend to be very concerned about BALANCE in their lives. I find
that it is hard to avoid the language of "men" and women" since there are
general characteristics which do apply to the groups-- we are biologically
and sociologically different. However, I do not wish to over-generalize
and offend any individual! It's a shame women can't speak these things
without being criticized for being radical feminists-- but it still
happens. I am a feminist, and proud of it. It means I am compassionate to
the inequities women have suffered and continue to suffer, and want to see
that change. I wish more men would speak up about the same issues. I am a
wife and mother and a scientist and an artist and spiritual being. No one
can be labelled with a single word. 

This issue is important to me, since I believe we all need to find a way
to satisfy our needs to learn, to create, to explore. I encourage my
students who are interested in science because I believe they will have
opportunities for fulfillment when they finish school. Right now, I feel
discouraged, since jobs are rare, and many give up their dreams-- or find
that when they have a family the stress of a two-professional marriage is
very great. We need to address this as a society in all job areas, but it
is very much a concern in science and academics, since the demands of the
job are very high. I think that permanent part-time opportunities (with
equitable pay, security and benefits) will allow more of us to find that
balance. Society will benefit, families will benefit.

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