Arts & Sciences Statement on Dual Career and Domestic Partner/Spouse Recruitment

The determination to include a spousal hire in the recruitment of faculty generally occurs in initial negotiations. While we do not limit ourselves only to those circumstances, the default response to a request for a spousal accommodation after an appointment has begun is to deny the request, but exceptions can be made in compelling cases that help achieve our mission.

When a dual career issue does arise for the spouse of an existing faculty member, the following guidelines must factor into the decision whether to extend an offer of tenure-track employment to a spouse:

  1. An offer must fit the strategic priorities of both the department in which the spouse would be located and the school. There must be an academic imperative for the offer.
  2. Priority must be given to spouses of tenured faculty. (An offer to the spouse of an untenured professor may provide unintended signal of prospects for tenure.) Moreover, a tenure-track offers to the spouse is made only when the spouse is clearly tenurable.
  3. There must be demonstrated demand for action based on a tangible, external catalyst, such as a job offer from a peer institution. Normally we will not consider spousal accommodation for people who choose to go on the job market unless they have concrete evidence of external recruitment, i.e., a competitive job offer in-hand.

A&S is committed to diversity and inclusion. Those factors may help inform a decision, along with the criteria delineated, above. Requests for any spousal issue that involves an offer of employment in A&S must begin with a review by the Dean of A&S before any other action is initiated. The Dean will consult with departmental, school, and university leadership as needed.

We respectfully ask that colleagues in any university-level offices not serve as an advocate for any individual cases. Such advocacy tends to lead to actions that disregard our established process, causing confusion and risking inequities in our work on retentions.

Definition of domestic partner/spouse: For purposes of these guidelines, the criteria used by the Washington University Office of Human Resources to determine benefits eligibility for a spouse or domestic partner will be applied here.

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