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Dual Career Academic Partners


The University of Utah strives to recruit faculty members whose scholarship, teaching, and engagement are excellent, and to be an ideal place for faculty members to build their careers. Our ability to enable and support meaningful employment and career opportunities for both members of academic career couples will contribute to our success with recruitment and retention of top talent. As the state’s flagship public research university, it is likely that many dual career academic couples will seek employment at the University of Utah, attracted to the quality and visibility of the institution and to the quality of life within the greater Salt Lake community.

This guidance document summarizes how to pursue employment opportunities for dual career partners, as well as the process to initiate and finalize such appointments, including financial support. It focuses on dual career partners who are both in tenure-line faculty positions. For partners better suited for non-tenure-line opportunities, assistance and recommendations are available as noted below.


  • “Original Candidate” means the individual to whom an offer of a tenure-line position has been made
  • “Partner” means the original candidate’s spouse or domestic partner, as defined in Rule R5-200A.
  • “Sending Unit” means the academic unit that has made a tenure-line offer to an original candidate who has subsequently asked about employment for their partner.
  • “Appointing Unit” means the unit in which the partner will be employed.

Guiding Principles

  • Wherever possible, the desired dual career hiring solution should be long-term and sustainable, allowing both members of the dual career partnership to have clear and well-defined career paths.
  • Approval to pursue a dual career appointment opportunity should be obtained as early as possible in the process, as described below.
  • When recruiting a faculty candidate, it is unacceptable and inappropriate to inquire if they have a partner or pose questions related to their partner’s situation.
  • If the candidate mentions a partner who would seek employment, the candidate can be informed that the University has a Dual Career Academic Partners Program. It is important to set reasonable expectations, however, and not to overpromise or guarantee employment for the partner.
  • When seeking an Appointing Unit for a partner, there must be a match with the needs and goals of the unit (i.e., there is no guarantee of employment). Moreover, partners must demonstrate the level of excellence, or potential for excellence, that is expected of candidates identified through a regular search process.
  • The proposed Appointing Unit should evaluate the partner’s credentials, abilities, and potential in order to assess the likelihood of both success and match with the mission of the unit.
    • If there is a potential fit and interest in the unit, and if an open/active search exists in the proposed Appointing Unit, it may be possible for the partner to be recruited and hired through this mechanism.
    • In other cases, the unit will need to request a search waiver from the Office for Faculty to proceed with an interview process, which will include all the required levels of faculty and administrator input.

Process to Pursue a Tenure-Line Appointment

  1. When a Sending Unit becomes aware of a dual career partner hire opportunity and it is not possible for the partner to apply through an open/active search, the Sending Unit should immediately notify the Office for Faculty and include a copy of the partner’s CV. The Office for Faculty will review the materials and if appropriate give permission to begin the process of pursuing a search waiver.
    1.  The Office for Faculty can serve as an advisor in the process and a contact for questions and additional information. Department chairs/deans may also contact other units on campus, in addition to informing the Office for Faculty. It is important to note that, despite reasonable efforts, there may be cases where a position for a partner cannot be identified because there is no appropriate match in relevant units.
  2. If another academic unit is interested in considering a tenure-line appointment for a partner, that unit may submit a request for a search waiver. Once approved, that unit will then take the lead to make contact with the partner and schedule an interview, similar to what would occur with any candidate for a tenure-line faculty position.
  3. Following the interview process, as is usual, the department faculty vote on whether to recommend the appointment, as do the department chair and dean.
  4. Once the appointment vote is complete, the chair and dean of the Appointing Unit submit the Dual Career Partner Agreement to the Office for Faculty.
  5. Once the Dual Career Partner Agreement is fully signed, the chair and dean of the Appointing Unit handle salary and other negotiations, as well as the hire and appointment process through PeopleAdmin and PeopleSoft.

Financial Considerations

Successful dual career tenure-line appointments are in the best interest of the institution and of both units. They also contribute to the institutional value of supporting families. Given these institutional and unit benefits, to enable a dual career partner tenure-line appointment, the following funding model applies:

  • The Appointing Unit will provide 1/3 of the salary for three years, and will determine annual salary increases as appropriate in the context of the Appointing Unit. After three years, the Appointing Unit assumes responsibility for the full salary.
  • The Sending Unit will provide 1/3 of the salary, including salary increases determined by the Appointing Unit, for three years.
  • The SVPAA will provide 1/3 of the salary, including salary increases determined by the Appointing Unit, for three years.
    • In rare cases, if the appointing unit has limited funds, that unit may negotiate with the SVPAA to continue funding a portion of the salary for a period longer than three years.
  • If the partner resigns, retires, or is terminated during the initial three years, the funds allocated by the SVPAA and by the Sending Unit revert to the SVPAA and the Sending Unit, respectively.

Internal written documentation, in the form of the attached Dual Career Partner Agreement Template, will ensure that financial commitments and appropriate planning occur. The Dual Career Partner Agreement Template must be completed, including signatures, and filed with the Office for Faculty. The agreement will be used to track accurate transfer of funds among the SVPAA and the other academic units.

Process and Consideration of Financial Support for Non-Tenure-Line Partners

Partners who are seeking non-tenure-line appointments or are not at the appropriate career stage for a tenure-line appointment in a University of Utah academic unit should typically seek employment through normal search mechanisms (i.e., apply for an open position). Occasionally, a partner would be a match for (1) a career-line role in an academic unit where there is need, (2) a staff position, or (3) an appointment that could be a bridge to a tenure-track role (e.g., a post-doctoral or research appointment).

In such cases, funding to support the position will typically be provided by the Sending Unit or through a partnership of the Sending Unit and the Appointing Unit. Because these appointments are handled on a case-by-case basis, the Office for Faculty is available to assist in each individual situation. In most cases, the recommendation would be to find a long-term solution and avoid offering short-term or non-renewable contracts. If an agreement is reached, the Dual Career Partner Agreement Template should be completed and filed with the Office for Faculty.