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Dual-Career Resources

Research Studies, Reports and Related Recommendations

Recommendations on Partner Accommodation and Dual-Career Appointments (2010)
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

The AAUP’s Committee on Women in the Academic Profession published Recommendations on Partner Accommodation and Dual Career Appointments (2010) which provides an overview of related issues dating back to 1971, and the various types of partner accommodation. The committee makes a series of guidelines related to policy development and dual-career appointments. The recommendations call for policies that balance the needs of departments and institutions with the needs of faculty members.  Individual faculty appointments, above all, should be based on the candidate’s potential contribution to the position, the department, and the institution.  Sensitivity to work/life balance must also be tempered by attention to good governance and the protections of tenure.

Dual-Career Academic Couples: What Universities Need to Know (2008)
The Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University

The Clayman Institute’s 2008 study Dual-Career Academic Couples: What Universities Need to Know surveyed 30,000 faculty at 13 of the nation's leading public and private research universities. Based on the partnering status of full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, the study reviews practices, policies and programs and explores the impact of dual-career partnering on hiring, retention, professional attitudes, and work culture in the U.S. university sector. It also makes recommendations for improving the way universities work with dual-career candidates and strengthen overall communication with their faculty on hiring and retention issues.

National Study of the Changing Workforce (2008)
Families and Work Institute

Chapter 2 of the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce of the Families and Work Institute, titled “Dual-Earner Couples,” outlines how the proportion of married wage and salaried employees who live in dual-earner couples has increased substantially over the past 25 years, as have the combined work hours of couples. From 1992 to 2002, men in dual-earner couples with children appear to have taken more responsibility for managing family work—chores, cooking, and child care—though women are still much more likely to shoulder greater responsibility. From 1977 to 2002, men in dual-earner couples with children also report spending more time actually doing family work—chores and caring for children—than comparable men 25 years ago whether or not they assume overall responsibility for these tasks.

An Agenda for Excellence: Creating Flexibility in Tenure-Track Faculty Careers (2005)
The American Council on Education

The American Council on Education, with generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, partnered with the National Panel of Presidents and Chancellors from ten major research universities to raise awareness and spark national dialogue on the need for creating flexibility in tenure-track faculty career paths. The Resulting report, “An Agenda for Excellence: Creating Flexibility in Tenure-Track Faculty Careers” (February 10, 2005), focuses primarily on issues of career satisfaction and retention, but also makes a series of recommendations in the faculty recruitment area. These recommendations include providing assistance to new faculty hires with spousal/partner employment needs.

Cornell Couples and Career Study (2000)
Cornell Employment and Family Careers Institute, Cornell University

The Cornell Couples and Career Study is about how members of two-earner families manage their two work careers along with their conjoint family "career.” The study uses a life course framework to link couples' roles, resources and biography with their life quality. The goal is to promote understanding of: 1) the connections between couples' work and family careers, and 2) how work, family, and personal circumstances shape both spouses' views of, and future expectations about their work lives, home lives, and psychological well-being. The role of the work environment in shaping options and strategies available to contemporary couples is also investigated.

Report on the Dual Career Couple Survey (1998)
College of William & Mary, Physics Department

This article presents the survey results from the Report on the Dual Career Couple Survey about the experiences of physicist (and other scientist) couples in finding employment for both partners in the same location, and about solutions that had proved successful. The article describes the various ways in which the two-body problem manifests itself, as well as solutions for institutions and individuals to try.

Hiring Reconsidered: Understanding the Candidate's Perspective

Researchers at the University of Virginia, led by Dr. Gertrude Fraser, Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention, found that dual-career issues was cited as the number one reason by tenure-track faculty candidates who did not accept job offers. 61% of study participants cited dual career issues as a leading cause and gave it an average ranking of of 5.1 out 6 in importance in their decision-making process.

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Online Articles

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Articles in Scholarly Journals

Didion, Catherine Jay. “Dual careers and shared positions: Adjusting university policy to accommodate academic couples.” Journal of College Science Teaching 26.2 (1996): 123-24. Print.

Abstract: Describes the Women Scientists in Academe pilot program that aims at achieving significant and lasting improvements for women in scientific disciplines. Focuses on the issue of dual careers and shared positions and adjusting university policy to accommodate academic couples.

Magnuson, Sandy and Ken Norem. “Challenges for higher education couples in commuter marriages: insights for couples and counselors who work with them.” Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families 7.2 (1999): 125. Print.

Abstract: Focuses on the experiences of dual-career couples that maintain two homes to attain career satisfaction. Findings include support for the potential strength and satisfaction of commuting relationships. Trust, commitment, regular communication, and quality shared time were endorsed as factors contributing to successful distance marriages.

Weiler, Susan C. and Paul H. Yancey. “Dual-Career Couples and Academic Science.” Journal of College Science Teaching, 21.4 (1992): 217-22. Print.

Abstract: Describes the major challenges of accommodating dual-career couples in academic science and some of the current responses to those challenges from institutions of higher learning. Discusses prevailing perceptions concerning household responsibility, the science work ethic, job procurement, continued discrimination against women, and future prospects.

Wolf- Wendel, Lisa E., Susan B. Twombly, and Suzanne Rice. "Dual Career Couples: Keeping Them Together." The Journal of Higher Education 71.3 (2000): 291-321. Print.

Abstract: Reports results of a survey of 360 chief academic officers at member institutions of the American Association of Colleges and Universities regarding their policies and practices for assisting dual-career couples. Examines the motivations, barriers, consequences, and policy implications of institutional responses to dual-career couples.

O’Laughlin, Elizabeth M. and Lisa G. Bischoff, “Balancing Parenthood and Academia: Work/Family Stress as Influenced by Gender and Tenure Status,” Journal of Family Issues 26.1 (2005). 101-02. Print.

Abstract: The present research investigated the influence of gender and tenure status in academicians' experiences of balancing parenthood and an academic career. Men (n = 85) and women (n = 179) employed full-time in tenure-track academic positions with at least one child younger than the age of 16 responded via the Internet to a 36-item questionnaire assessing experiences and perceptions regarding work and family demands. Results revealed group differences based on gender but no differences based on tenure status alone and no significant interactions between gender and tenure status. Women reported greater academic and family stress and perceptions of less institutional support for balance of work and family as compared to men. Results are discussed in terms of the rational and role demand models of work/family stress.

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Articles in Newsletters

Marc Sher, “Dual-Career Couples—Problem or Opportunity,” CSWP Gazette: The Newsletter of the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics of the American Physical Society Fall 2006: 25.2. Online.

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Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All
Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober
New York: Bantam Bell, 2009.

Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work
Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2008. 

Being Together, Working Apart: Dual Career Families and the Work-Life Balance
Barbara Schneider and Linda J. Waite, eds.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Lesbian Academic Couples
Michelle Gibson and Deborah T. Meem, eds.
New York: Harrington Park Press, 2005.

The Two Body Problem: Dual-Career-Couple Hiring Policies in Higher Education Lisa Wolf-Wendel, Susan B. Twombly and Suzanne Rice.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2004.

Working Equal: Collaboration Among Academic Couples
Elizabeth G Creamer
New York: Garland, 2000.

Academic Couples: Problems and Promises
Ferber Marianne A. and Jane W. Loeb, eds.
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.

Getting an Academic Job: Strategies for Success
Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld and Marcia Lynn Whicker.
Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1997.
See Chapter 5, "Dual-Careers, Senior and Nonacademic Jobs."

Work Won't Love You Back: the Dual Career Couple's Survival Guide
Stevan E. Hobfoll and Ivonne H. Hobfoll
New York: Freeman, 1994.

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Other Resources

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