Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dual-career academic couples

There's an interesting report out by the Clayman Institute for Gender Research entitled "Dual-Career Academic Couples: What Universities Need to Know" (Schiebinger, Hernderson, & Gilmartin). The report is rather lengthy, but the authors examine data on academics and their partners, examining differences in academic positions based on gender, minorities status, sexual orientaion, occupation of the partner, and more.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, women faculty are more likely than men to be single, or to have an academic partner. On the other hand, men are much more likely to have a stay-at-home partner. However, the report also notes that many of these men are part of the older generation, having completed their graduate in the 1970s or earlier.

The demographics of faculty are changing, so it's important for universities to acknowledge that in their hiring practices, particularly in regard to dual career couples. Universities stand to lose valuable talent, particularly among under-repsresented groups, by being inflexible with regrad to couple hiring. The report makes a number of recommendations, including:

  • Develop a dual-career academic couple hiring protocol
  • Think of the university as an intellectual and corporate whole
  • Use dual hiring to increase gender equality
  • Budget funds for dual hiring
  • Communicate with faculty
  • Make the partner issue easier to raise
  • Interview potential partner hires
  • Negotiate partner positions fully up front
  • Develop dual-career programs
  • Collaborate with neighboring institutions
  • Evaluate dual-career programs

(hat tip: Socialogical Images)