Friday, November 30, 2012

Negotiating Dual Careers

83% of women scientists and 54% of men scientists are partnered with other scientists link.  Those figures didn't look at other academic or professional partners, so a huge number of current and potential faculty are up against the "two-body problem."   

SU Wise invited SU and ESF doctoral students (women AND men), and other students and faculty who are now, or may be in relationship where both will have professional careers, to join their panelists for a conversation about:
-Can we both be equally successful?
-Who moves for whose career?
-Living apart?
- How/when do you ask about institutional dual career hiring practices?
-What do you negotiate for once position is offered? What are effective strategies?

The two most novel parts of this discussion:  that so many men attended!  And that SU now has a Dual Career counselor (via SU ADVANCE) that meets confidentially with every interviewee, at the time of their on campus interview,  to discuss what options might be available for a partner.  By bypassing the search committee in this discussion, they have a chance to look at other openings that might be a good match for the partner, so that when an offer is made, this office can provide better advice.  This service came to be after the realization that they were losing great candidates because they were unable to even make suggestions before the candidate found a workable solution somewhere else. 

All three couples agreed that SU's developing model would have been better than the situations they encountered.  They wondered:  where in the process do we mention the partner?  For one, early disclosure seemed the right way to go, for another, they noted that they'd received 4 workable offers, but only one from an institution where they had disclosed (there happened to be advertised positions in each of their fields, so they had each been fully vetted along with all the other applicants).  The panelists also discussed the value of applying lots of places, so that when an offer was received, they could say "my partner is also on the market, and received offers at x,y,z."  This was especially important if the department partner hoped to join hadn't been searching, so had no means to compare partner to other candidates.  Knowing that partner fared well when other institutions had made that comparison helped their cases.  There was also the impression that private institutions were "more nimble" in their ability to arrange a dual hire.

All three of these couples had made the decision not to live apart if it was at all possible, so dual residences and what to do if there are already children in the mix may be addressed at future panels.

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