Dual Career Academic Partners


The University of Utah strives to recruit faculty members whose scholarship, teaching and engagement are excellent, and to be an optimal place for faculty to build their careers. Our effectiveness in enabling and supporting meaningful employment and career opportunities for both members of academic career couples will contribute to our success in recruiting and retaining top talent. As the state’s flagship 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 living within the Salt Lake community.

This guidance document summarizes the practices guiding 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 in tenure-track or tenured faculty roles. For partners that are better suited for non-tenure-track opportunities, assistance and recommendations are available as noted below.

Guiding Principles

  • In seeking an academic and tenure home for a dual career partner, there must be a match with the needs and goals of the unit. The proposed academic college and department or division should first evaluate the individual’s credentials, abilities, and potential in order to assess the likelihood of success and match with the mission of the unit. If there is a potential fit and interest in the unit, the unit should proceed with an interview process including the required levels of faculty input.
  • Successful dual career appointments are in the best interest of the institution and contribute to the institutional value of supporting families. Because of these institutional benefits, in order to enable a dual career partner tenure-line appointment, the SVP will provide support for up to three years of salary and benefits to the unit. It is understood that, by the end of that there-year period, other faculty departures and resource changes, through retirements or resignations, should create sufficient financial flexibility to allow the unit to assume responsibility for the cost of the dual career partner appointment. In extraordinary circumstances, extensions of the three-year time frame may be requested in the third year. Extensions may be granted for an additional year in instances where no resignations or retirements have occurred, for example.
  • If an open/active search exists in the proposed college and department, it may be possible for the dual career partner to be recruited and hired through this mechanism. In most cases, however, a waiver of the traditional search process is needed and is approved.

Process to Pursue a Tenure-Line Appointment

When a hiring college/department becomes aware of a dual career partner, they should notify the Office of the Associate Vice President for Faculty. The AVP for Faculty will serve as an advisor in the process and contact for questions and additional information. Department chairs may also contact other units on campus, in addition to informing the AVP. It is important to note that, despite reasonable efforts, there may be cases where a match for a dual career partner cannot be identified.

After reviewing a dual career partner’s materials, if a department/college is interested in considering a tenure-line appointment for a dual career partner, that unit will take the lead role in making contact with the scholar and scheduling an on-campus visit, similar to what would occur with another faculty candidate. If the department and college wish to pursue the appointment, they would handle salary and other negotiations with as well as the appointment process for the dual career partner but may always seek the advice and assistance of the AVP for Faculty should they have any questions or concerns.

Internal written documentation, in the form of the attached template, will ensure that financial commitments and appropriate planning take place. The attached Dual Career Partner agreement template, will be completed, including signatures, and filed with the Office of the Associate Vice President for Faculty. The agreement will be used to track accurate transfer of funds from the SVPAA to the appropriate college.

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

Dual career partners who are seeking non-tenure-line appointments or are not at the appropriate career stage for a tenure-track appointment in a University of Utah unit should typically seek employment through typical mechanisms, i.e., apply for an open position. Occasionally, a dual career partner would be a match for (1) a career-line role in a unit where there is need, (2) another academic staff appointment (e.g., advising), or (3) an appointment that could be a bridge to a tenure-track role (e.g., a post-doc or research appointment). In such cases, funding to support the position will typically be provided by the sending unit (unit hiring the first member of the couple) or through a partnership of the sending unit and the unit making the appointment of the dual career partner. Because these appointments are handled on a case-by-case basis, the AVP for Faculty is available to provide assistance for each individual situation. If an agreement is reached, written documentation of the plan should be completed and filed with the AVP/SVPAA.

Dual Career Partner Agreement