P.O. Box 400308
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4308
Dual Career Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should we be concerned about dual career issues?
- What is the process for dual career hiring at U.Va?
- Should the search committee ask a candidate if they have dual career needs?
- What should we do if a candidate brings up a dual career concern?
- What materials are available to give to dual career candidates?
- Are dual career services from the Provost's office only available when a candidate is first considering the University?
- Is there any funding available from central administration for dual career hiring?
- What role can department and search committee members play in supporting dual career partners?
- How can we promote the University as a place that is committed to dual career needs without raising false hopes about the likelihood of success?
- Why don’t we offer these services to unmarried partners?
- What happens if the dual career arrangement that is worked out is only temporary?
Other Dual Career Resources
A survey conducted by Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention indicates that one of the most influential reasons candidates turn down job offers for faculty positions at U.Va. is the lack of a job offer for the candidate’s spouse or partner. A similar survey at the University of Minnesota showed similar results. In addition, Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Studies noted in its 2006 report, Dual Career Academic Couples, that “88% of faculty who had successfully negotiated a dual hire at their current institution indicated that the first hire would have turned down their job offer had his or her partner not also found appropriate employment.”
The report also indicates that women are more likely to have academic partners than men (40 percent compared to 34 percent). In addition, women in the sciences are much more likely to partner with a scientist: “83 percent of women scientists in academic couples are partnered with another scientist, compared with 54 percent of men scientists.” These findings, and others outlined in the Clayman report, are important as departments consider top women candidates, especially in the sciences.
- PowerPoint of results from U.Va. faculty
- Clayman Institute, Stanford University, full report
- Clayman Institute, Stanford Univesrity, executive summary
While some aspects of the process may be different at different schools, the overall process is outlined in a flowchart.
Notification of a dual career issue normally comes from a department or search committee chair to his or her school’s associate dean or dean. These notifications can occur at recruitment or as a result of a retention effort. Position openings may be identified and negotiated within or between schools at the decanal level. In some schools, such as the School of Medicine, department chairs may lead the process without the dean’s office’s direct involvement. The Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention (VPFRR) is frequently contacted by the dean’s office (or department chair; see above) to offer assistance in outreach to the spouse, sourcing positions, making the case to departments to consider spousal candidates, negotiating funding which can include cost sharing arrangements for salary from provost resources and liaising with Human Resources’ Office of Dual Career Recruitment for non-academic spousal hires. Spouses may contact the office of the VPFRR directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-924-6865, or through referral from the provost or dean’s office.
No. While it is appropriate for a search committee to inquire into an applicant’s ability to perform job-related functions, it is illegal for a search committee to make targeted inquiries into legally prohibited areas such as marital status.
If search committee members discuss dual career concerns with a candidate who subsequently does not get hired, the candidate would be within their rights to request an investigation regarding the role that knowledge of marital status may have played in the hiring decision.
A good strategy for addressing an applicant’s inquiry into dual career employment possibilities would be to refer them to the dual career materials from the Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention and the Office of Dual Career Recruitment that should be included in the packet that is given to every candidate.
A. Include a U.Va. dual career brochure with every candidate packet.
B. Be sure to let your dean know.
C. Explain the legal issues: search committees may not discuss or make decisions based on legally prohibited areas such as marital status.
D. Let the candidate know there are resources for dual career couples available at U.Va. by referring them to the appropriate office.
Dual Career Support at the University of Virginia - a brochure for dual career candidates
Your dean or department head should have printed copies of this brochure, or contact the office of the VPFRR (contact info below)
If both members of the couple are academics:
Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment
Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention
If the accompanying spouse/partner is not an academic:
Office of Dual Career Recruitment in Human Resources (ODCR)
E. Let your candidates know that the University of Virginia is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC).
The Mid-Atlantic HERC offers a searchable database of all academic and non-academic jobs for all Mid-Atlantic HERC member institutions in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC areas, as well as a CV/resume database.
Candidates can get help with their dual career searches by registering for job alerts and linking their profiles with the profile of their partner on the HERC site..
F. Let the candidate know that the VPFRR also maintains a list of life and career coaches and career counselors on their Web site. These coaches and counselors may be able to offer assistance not only to partners of candidates, but to all U.Va. faculty and staff, should they be interested. This list is provided as a service only. Inclusion on this list does not indicate endorsement of or payment for these professionals by U.Va. or the VPFRR.
G. Refer them to the dual career information that should be included in the packet each candidate receives from the hiring school and/or department
H. Be sure to let your dean know.
U.Va.'s brochure for dual career couples should be included in the packet of materials that is given and/or sent to every candidate.
Your dean or department head should have printed copies of this brochure, or contact the office of the VPFRR or the Office of Dual Career Employment in Human Resources (see contact information above in Question 4, section D).
The VPFRR also maintains a Web page with resources for dual career candidates.
The Office of Dual Career Employment in Human Resources has a Web site as well: http://www.hr.virginia.edu/go/dual-career
There are some circumstances in which faculty already at the University can receive dual career assistance for a partner, if this is recommended by a department chair or dean, and approved by the Provost’s office. However, because of limited resources, salary cost-sharing is usually prioritized for new hires.
The Provost’s Office/Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention may provide salary cost-sharing for a limited time. Although funding patterns can vary, the most common arrangement to date has involved one third of the funding coming from the provost’s office, one third from the finalist’s department/school, and one third from the hiring department/school. For tenure track positions, there would be an expectation of permanent funding from the hiring department or school, usually after a three year period.
It is critical that the partner be treated as an individual with career needs rather than as a “trailing spouse” who is simply an appendage to the more desired finalist. We have had many wonderful experiences at U.Va with dual career spouses enriching the University community in their own right. Dual career partners will likely be sensitive to hints and innuendos, verbal and otherwise, that the University is only interested in them as a means to hire their spouse. Keep in mind that many of the peer universities to which our finalists may have applied have strong dual career hiring programs. We cannot ignore or minimize dual career needs in this day and age and hope to remain competitive in the hiring market. While the Office of the Vice PRovost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention (VPFRR) and Human Resource's Office of Dual Career Recruitment (ODCR) play primary roles in supporting dual career couples during the hiring process, it is also the case that search committee members and other faculty have networks that do not completely overlap with those of VPFRR and ODCR, and so can add value by increasing the possibilities for identifying potential positions for dual career spouses.
In these difficult financial times, it is especially important to communicate positively and accurately with potential hires. Unlike some of our peers, U.Va. does not have a hiring freeze, but we are doing only very limited recruiting. Language can be an important cue. We suggest using phrases like “employment assistance” instead of “job placement” as the latter appears to guarantee a job. The office in Human Resources that assists non-academic spouses is called the Office of Dual Career Recruitment, not the Office of Dual Career Hiring. On the other hand, we have certainly had a number of very successful dual career hires, and it is important to convey that as well.
As a state university, the University of Virginia must adhere to Article 1, Section 15-A of the Virginia Bill of Rights, which does not allow this type of service to be offered to unmarried partners. However, this does not imply in any way that there is illegal discrimination against people with partners seeking employment at the University of Virginia. We strongly encourage qualified candidates to apply for all open positions.
A good option for career support for anyone would be the list of life and career coaches and career counselors. This list is provided as a service only. Inclusion on this list does not indicate endorsement of or payment for these professionals by U.Va. or the VPFRR.
In the reality of any university, it is inevitable that some dual career placements will be for a limited period in non-tenure track positions. Most couples would, of course, prefer that both members secure longer term and/or tenure track appointments. It is very important to help couples balance their preferences with the actuality of what is available. Be as open and transparent as possible about the long term prospects of short term arrangements, while at the same time noting that we have had some success with working out a more permanent position for a spouse who was originally hired into a temporary job.