Well, you finally drew this *lurker* into the fray. I (a woman) will cross
the gender line that is being drawn. We are a couple in academia, my husband
just received tenure and I am surviving well on soft money. When he accepted
his position here, I was finishing my Ph.D. and we were thus in no position
to negotiate, but we did let the powers-that-be know they would face a problem
at some point. I have had several offers from the department to teach (ie.
non-tenure track position) and these have been for a very reasonable salary.
But I did not invest my time and energy in this field (biology) to take this
type of position. The department gets a great deal if I were to take a
teaching position. I publish 5-10 papers a year with their name on them, I
advise graduate students, I have undergraduates conducting research in the lab,
I promote the department and university at meetings, not to mention overhead
cost returns on outside grants. Thus, the department is essentially getting
a free faculty member. Meanwhile, we continue to look for a place where we
both can have tenured positions as full members of a department(s). We will
eventually find the right place.
Now that I am finished with my own personal soapbox, let me turn to the
discussion at hand. The essential issue is, if this couple had been offered
2 tenure-track positions at one university and had the second offer of 1
position split into 2 1/2 time faculty lines, which would they have accepted?
Probably, the former,but that is only my opinion. So, while they are probably
a lot happier in their current 1/2 time slots then they were in one person
tenure the other trying to survive, I bet neither would turn down the
conversion to 2 full positions. We do the best we can given the circumstances
but that does not mean it is necessarily right or fair.
BTW, biology here recently hired a couple with 2 full-time positions, but
we also have 5 females (myself included) whose spouses are tenure-track at the
university. Two are soft money completely, three have non-tenure teaching
positions for salary, and of those two are trying to continue research by
scrambling for grant dollars and linking up in a tenure-faculty lab. Some
are teaching by choice (didn't want to get into the rat race and wanted to
have more time for family and other activities) and others are teaching
because it gives them a hard salary and their spouses are not particularly
mobile at this time. Academic couples are not going to go away and creative
solutions are necessary.