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faculty positions for spouses

eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU
Mon Aug 15 23:45:33 EST 1994

On Aug 15, lakleczk at bioslave.uio.no (Leszek Andrzej Kleczkowski) wrote in
response to AC Missias (acm at pharmdec.wustl.edu):

> Stealing is stealing, regardless of rationale.  "Creating" a position to 
> accomodate a spouse restrains the Department from further hiring based on 
> merit (space restrains, student quotas, etc.).  If they want a candidate 
> REALLY badly let them pay him/her 20-30 k dollars more, so to 
> recompensate for spouse joblessness.

> I have definitively known some men who have never got the job they 
> deserved because of University policy of"creating" second tenure-truck 
> (tenure) position to accomodate a spouse of the "lead" 
> candidate.  The bottom line is that she/he (the 
> spouse) would never got the academic position (with over 100 candidates 
> per place) without spousal patronage

   Stealing is a pretty strong word!  It implies that the person wronged
actually had the job in the first place.  In this job market, that is never
a given until the offer actually goes out!  A lot of good people have
trouble getting jobs just because there are many other, equally qualified
(or better), applicants.   I have never been an advocate of giving a person
a job "just" because she/he was a minority or spouse, but, if the
candidates are otherwise qualified, why shouldn't these be among the many
"intangibles" considered when making a final decision?  (Remember, "equally
qualified" does not mean identical).

   Why do people assume that ALL spouses are not well qualified and thus
must be riding on their partner's coat tails??? 

  Spousal accomodation can actually work two ways.  A few years ago, our
Dept. hired a spouse into a tenure track position (the other spouse was
being recruited elsewhere on campus).  Yes, the position was created
through a "Target of Opportunity" program on campus.  But:  1)  It is
unlikely, given the recent series of budget cuts in CA, that the Dept.
would have been given a position in this disciplinary area for several
years otherwise and 2) Although the concern that we might be settling for
"second best" was raised prior to the interview, all doubts were removed
afterwards.  We were lucky to have such an obviously qualified candidate
drop into our arms! - The individual in question, who might not have come
to the campus without the spousal issue, went on to win a prestigous NSF
Presidential Young Investigator Award and has done very well within the
Dept. and on the campus as a whole.  In other words, this position was
stolen from no one.  

Beth Shuster
Univ. of California, Davis
eoshuster at ucdavis.edu

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