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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 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 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 living within the greater 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-line opportunities, assistance and recommendations are available as noted below.

Guiding Principles

  • 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 be seeking employment, the candidate can be informed that the university has a Dual Career Academic Partners Program. However, it is important to set reasonable expectations and not to overpromise or guarantee employment for the partner.
  • 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 (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. 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.
  • The proposed academic dean(s) and department(s) should first evaluate the individual’s credentials, abilities, and potential 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.
  • 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 other cases, the unit will need to request a waiver of the traditional search process from the Office for Faculty.

Process to Pursue a Tenure-Line Appointment

When a hiring college/department becomes aware of a dual career partner, they should notify the Office for Faculty. The Office for Faculty will serve as an advisor in the process and a contact for questions and additional information. Department chairs 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 match for a dual career partner cannot be identified because there is no appropriate match in the relevant units.

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, then that unit will take the lead in making contact with the scholar and scheduling an on-campus visit, similar to what would occur with any faculty candidate. If the department faculty vote to pursue the appointment, and the department chair and dean approve, as is usual, the chair and dean then handle salary and other negotiations, as well as the appointment process for the dual career partner. They may always seek the advice and assistance of the Office for Faculty should they have any questions or concerns during this process.

Successful dual career tenure-line appointments are in the best interest of the institution and to 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 SVPAA will provide 1/3 of the required funding for the salary of a candidate approved by the hiring department and college dean
  • The hiring unit will provide the second 1/3 of the required salary funding and is responsible for all future salary increases
  • The requesting unit will provide the final 1/3 of the required salary funding
  • Upon the resignation, termination, or retirement of an individual hired under this program, the funds allocated by the SVPAA to the unit and by the requesting unit to the hiring unit will revert to the initial funding units

Internal written documentation, in the form of the attached template, will ensure that financial commitments and appropriate planning occur. The attached 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 college or unit.


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 normal 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-doctoral 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 partnership) 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 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, non-renewable contracts. If an agreement is reached, written documentation of the plan should be completed and filed with the AVP/SVPAA.