Partner Accommodation

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importance of partner accommodation

Assume every candidate has a partner: 

Statistically speaking, this is likely, regardless of gender or discipline. See the Clayman Institute for Gender Research Report on Dual-Career Academic Couples: What Universities Need to Know. Additionally, our own MSU data shows that a major factor in accepting or declining an offer is partner accommodations. Be ready to embrace the Two-Body Opportunity



academic partner numbers

Do we have to do a national search and hope the academic partner comes out on top? No. Complete the partner accommodation request form. Montana policy provides exceptions for partner hires. Consider asking the partner to submit materials and come for an interview. And, if you know someone is a partner who has risen to the top of your search, consider this an advantage over otherwise equally qualified applicants. We must prioritize partner hires if we are to recruit and retain the most outstanding faculty. Department heads can follow this list in order to ensure all of the necessary steps have been completed. 

Sara and Scott   Jia and Ryan

But the partner isn't a perfect fit and might dilute the quality of our faculty: Partner hires are on average more productive than typical hires! A 10 year study at WSU showed partner hires (compared to non-partner faculty hires) published more and secured more grant funding. See .for this and other data on academic partner hires.

 facts about dual hires at MSU





What are the options? Tenure track lines are certainly hard to come by. But if the partner’ s department has a vacancy or is willing to leverage a future vacancy, it is worth pursing. It is a show of good faith if you offer some departmental resources to assist the partner’ s department in start-up, space, or other support. NTT multi-year contracts are also an option. And if the partner is not an academic, refer them to the dual career liaison.  The Provost’ s Work Life Task Force is currently drafting practices and policies around dual-career hiring. Be realistic but optimistic about possible partner-accommodations.  

Remember: You cannot ask a candidate if they have a partner. So regardless of whether a candidate asks, we recommend giving them the opportunity to talk confidentially with the Family Advocate to learn about dual career and work-life integration policies and practices on campus. Candidates will be more inclined to join our community if they understand what institutional supports exist to support recruiting families, and not just individuals.

Additional Resources:
MSU HR's Dual Career Website
Contact Dual-Career Liaison for non-academic partners: Tricia Wimbish or call 994-5527
Partner Accommodation Form


Thanks for attending our Dual Career Mini Conference: Turning the Two Body Problem into the Two Body Opportunity. 
Below you will find the Presentations from our three expert presenters. First was Dr. Kelly Ward, Department Chair and Professor from the Washington State University School of Education. Second to present was Dr. Wendy Stock, Department Head and Professor of the Montana State University Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics. Last to present was Dr. Ben Cowan, from the Washington State University School of Economic Sciences.



Kelly Wards Dual Career Conference Presentation


Dr. Wendy Stock's Dual Career Presentation


Dr. Ben Cowan's Dual Career Presentation