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husband/wife scientist team

scarr at kean.ucs.mun.ca scarr at kean.ucs.mun.ca
Tue Nov 17 10:00:52 EST 1992

In article <9211162144.AA09003 at net.bio.net>, N052FG at TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU (Marivonne Rodriguez) writes:
> I have a general question concerning husband/wife teams obtaining individual
> tenure-track positions at a given dept.
> I know of a case where the husband had a tenure track position, and to this
> day the wife has yet to be offered such a position in that dept. even though
> openings have come and gone for which she would have been perfectly suited.
> Their rationale is that they have one of the 2 in the couple, so the other one
> is undoubtedly going to be present as well (she has had a non-tenure, research
> scientist position for quite a while there) so theyd rather invest their
> resources in a new aquisition (quote, unquote, I cant do quotes on this keyboar
> d!!) to their dept. Ironically enough, it has often been her who gets her
> grants renewed or new ones approved, instead of her husband...
> How typical/exceptional a case is this??? Any experiences on this subject you
> all out there might want to share??
> Thanks in advance,
> Marivonne Rodriguez

Marivonne -

	Two thoughts on this. (1) I think it's true that TAMU is pretty 
unique with respect to a lot of things, including hiring practices. One
major problem (which I assume is still the same as when I left almost six
years ago) is the lack of a faculty union, and the pretty open hostility
of the higher administration towards any move to create one. There is (was)
also no ombudsman to hear cases of this sort. So there's no real protection
in the system for people who find themselves in the situation you describe.
Add to this an extremely paternalistic to chauvinstic 'good ole boy'
mentality that persists from the all-male AMC days, and you've got a really
bad environment for hiring/retaining women faculty (I could tell you 
stories - don't get me started!). The problem is not unique to women at 
TAMU - the clear message in many cases is, we've got you at the minimum
rank and salary we can get away with: if you don't like it, leave. I left.
(2) Hiring should be competitive, with internal candidates on the same
footing as externals. It's not reasonable to assume that an internal 
candidate should have first crack at an available slot. Also, perceptions
of what constitutes the "perfect" candidate in terms of expertise may
vary between the hiring committe & individual faculty (trying being on
both: it creates an intersting internal schizophrenia). Unfortunately,
that perception may also include notions about gender. In other 
circumstances, being an internal candidate may be an advantage - the 
quality of work and compatibility factor are known. Certainly in 
departments with proactive affirmative action policies an underemployed 
women partner will receive a very attentive hearing.

Steve Carr

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