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Dual Career Resource for Those Hiring Full-Time Faculty


           Old Dominion University is committed to assisting dual career couples when one member of the couple has an offer of employment at the University and both are considering relocating to the area. Such assistance is extended within available resources and in cases that support the mission and goals of the University. This document outlines the basic services offered once an offer has been made to the primary candidate.

           For couples with both members in academe, employment needs will vary from one case to another and the University will assist with opportunities at ODU wherever possible and appropriate. However, these considerations do not create an entitlement. Given limited resources, the lack of disciplinary or administrative fit in some cases, and the University's strategic plan, it is impossible to respond to the employment needs of all dual career couples in academe.

           In an effort to support dual career couples, the Provost or his/her designee will collaborate with Human Resources to help each prospective candidate who wishes to explore career options for his or her partner. The partner of a newly recruited faculty or administrator may be offered job search assistance for up to one year. Such assistance may include general information on employment in the region, identification of appropriate employers, and connections with contacts in the partner's field.

           Information about employment opportunities in the region may result in an appropriate position for some. In other instances, referral to existing vacancies on the ODU faculty or staff may provide an appropriate match between an employment opportunity and the partner's skills. In cases where a position does not currently exist, and the individual's credentials merit consideration for hiring, it may benefit the University to allocate funding to accommodate a dual career couple. The following considerations address these instances. (Note: Hiring supervisors are advised that classified positions fall under Commonwealth of Virginia hiring policies, and must follow the standard search/recruitment and hiring process as outlined by the Department of Human Resource Management—DHRM.)

  1. Allocation of a position, either temporary or renewable, for a dual career partner should address demonstrated institutional and/or departmental needs and goals.

  2. There must be an appropriate fit between the qualifications of the individual and the available or proposed position.

  3. Following the interview and evaluation process, an offer of employment to the partner shall be extended only if there is strong support from the department and hiring supervisor/chair where the position is to be located (the receiving department). Expression of departmental support will be obtained in a manner consistent with the normal hiring process for the receiving department.

  4. University procedures allow an exemption to search requirements for a dual career appointment to a faculty or faculty administrator position. Requests for an exemption to a search are approved by the President on the recommendation of the appropriate vice president in consultation with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, and in cases of administrators, in consultation with Human Resources.

           Implementation Procedures for Hiring Managers

           Key Terms

  • Primary Hiring Manager: Individual hiring initial candidate for open position
  • Primary Department: Unit where initial candidate has applied for open position
  • Receiving Manager: Individual who may consider a partner or spouse for a position
  • Receiving Department: Unit where the initial candidate's spouse or partner may be considered.

           Informing Primary Candidates of Dual Career Resources. Several strategies are available for informing the primary candidate who may be exploring positions at Old Dominion University:

  1. Creating a link to the dual career resources and the recruitment website

  2. Distributing an information sheet or brochure to candidates

  3. Providing information about a liaison to dual career couples in the Provost's office and in Human Resources.

           Identifying Possibilities for Appointment. The primary candidate informs the hiring manager about the need for dual career consideration and supplies information regarding the partner's educational background, experience, and application materials. The primary hiring manager investigates and identifies the best possibilities for employment in consultation with the potential receiving departments(s), the dual career liaison, and the respective vice president, if needed. The relevant chain of command must be kept apprised of any discussions. This includes the dean or department chair and respective vice president.

           In cases where classified positions are appropriate and of interest to the individual, referral should be made to Human Resources to review both opportunities and strategies for pursuing staff positions. (Note: Hiring supervisors are advised that classified positions fall under Commonwealth of Virginia hiring policies, and must follow the standard search/recruitment and hiring process as outlined by DHRM.) Other options are described below.

           Evaluating and Interviewing the Partner: The unit in which the partner is being considered (the receiving department) initiates an evaluation process, including a review of the vita/resume and references of the partner, and conducts an interview with the partner. If there is an appropriate personnel or standing search committee in the department, this committee would normally be involved, as would other faculty/faculty administrators. The partner's qualifications should be evaluated using criteria appropriate to the proposed role and credentials required in the field. For example, it must be determined that the partner is sufficiently qualified to have been a finalist in an external search if one were conducted for the position into which the partner is to be hired. Standard review and appointment procedures should be used to the extent possible, and the level of review should be consistent with that accorded similar positions and types of appointments.

           Taking Steps When There is an Existing Position or Funding Available in the Receiving Department and/or College: Receiving departments (and/or colleges) that have available funds and/or positions and are prepared to make an offer for the partner develop an appropriate job description (if not already available) and offer and then seek an exemption to search, using the process in place by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. The search exemption includes a letter of explanation including a brief statement of how the proposed appointment benefits the receiving department and/or college and documenting the process used to review and evaluate the candidate. The hiring manager also attaches the candidate's resume/vita. The exemption request must be approved by the department head, relevant dean or senior manager, the relevant vice president, and the Office of Equity and Diversity. A formal offer may not be made until approval has been granted.

           Taking Steps When a New Position Must be Allocated and Shared Funding Arranged: In cases where the receiving department/college does not already have a position and/or adequate funds available to support the proposed appointment, the receiving department hiring manager and vice president may develop a model for the position to be funded on a transitional basis.

           Permanent funding, in the case of a base‐funded appointment, is the responsibility of the receiving department and/or college at the end of the transition period. Temporary funding may be available from the vice president, yet may not be available to support all requests. Typically the highest priority would be to support a dual career partner position alongside a tenure‐track or tenured faculty hire or an administrative hire. If the receiving department accepts temporary funding from the vice president, the understanding is that the dual career appointment continues beyond the temporary period only if the performance and accomplishments of the individual warrant continuation. However, as noted above, this does not create an entitlement.

           Departments requesting funding assistance should submit a written proposal through the responsible/appropriate chain of command. The following information is needed to evaluate the request:

  1. A justification for the request

  2. An explanation of how the University will benefit from the appointment and how the proposed appointment fits within the priorities of the receiving department and/or college;

  3. The vita/resume of the individual under consideration;

  4. The proposed salary, type of appointment, and job description;

  5. A statement indicating the source and amount of funds from the participating units, and the amount requested for temporary funding, if available, from the vice president , and the time period involved in the transition; and

  6. Plan for potential future funding. (The goal is to move employees from temporary funds to permanent funds whenever feasible and appropriate.)

           Making an Employment Offer: Upon approval by the vice president, and the Office for Equity and Diversity, the receiving department head is authorized to make the offer to the dual career partner, using the standard Notice of Appointment detailing the nature and conditions of the appointment, including the length of the appointment if applicable. Expectations should be stated very clearly so that any special considerations are fully documented for the employment record and for performance reviews. Every effort should be made to welcome the new faculty member in the receiving department and to help make him or her become a full participating member of the University. Helping the individual succeed will serve both the department and employee, and help accomplish the primary goal of the dual career‐hiring program, which is to recruit and retain talented faculty members.

           Dual Career Issues Associated with Retention

           Retention of talented individuals currently on the faculty can also be affected by employment opportunities for their partners. In the case where there is a determination that a dual career appointment is critical to retaining the faculty member, and it is in the University's interest to try to respond to this need, the process described in this document for new hires provides general guidance on how to proceed for retention of a faculty member. The nature and conditions of the appointment and the length of the appointment, if applicable, should be specified. In addition, expectations should be stated very clearly so that any special considerations are fully documented for the employment record and for performance reviews.

           Options Other than Tenure-Track or Administrative Appointments

           Research Faculty: Status as an unpaid Research Faculty member may allow a fully credentialed person to pursue grants and contracts as a member of the ODU faculty. The host department may provide lab or office space, or other resources, as available, to support the individual's efforts to obtain sponsored funding or to continue his or her research. The department chair recommends appointment of a full-time research faculty member to the Dean. The Dean recommends to the Provost. The Provost, consulting if appropriate with the Vice President for Research, makes the final decision concerning the appointment and, if the appointment is approved, notifies the faculty member. With the appropriate credentials and research faculty rank, the individual may serve as PI on grant(s) with permission of the department.

           Research Appointments: The Old Dominion University Faculty Handbook includes a Policy on Self-Supporting Research Professional Positions, which may provide employment opportunities for well-qualified partners of newly hired employees. If the individual fills the need on an existing grant or contract, the procedure for hiring is similar to that described above – a position description should be developed, credentials evaluated, the individual interviewed, and a request made for an exemption to search. The Vice President for Research approves such requests on the recommendation of the Provost.

           Other Restricted Appointments: Individuals may fill important institutional or departmental needs that are not yet defined or funded as renewable positions. These can be full or part‐time, instructional or administrative.

           Enrollment in Graduate School: A spouse or partner may prefer enrollment in an ODU graduate program rather than full‐time employment. Such potential students must be admitted through the usual program admission procedures and may be considered for whatever departmental funding is offered to all students.

- Approved by the president
February 2, 2017


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