The Chronicle reports on a new study on hiring of academic couples:
43 percent of the faculty members it questioned said hiring academic couples “prevents open competition.” Nearly 45 percent said couples working in the same academic department create conflicts of interest, and nearly 30 percent said their departments had hired partners who were underqualified.
…At the 13 top research universities Stanford studied, only 3 percent of professors hired in the 1970s came along with their partners, compared to 13 percent of those hired since 2000.
…in most cases in which couples get jobs at the same institution, one half of the pair receives an offer first and then helps negotiate an offer for the other. In 75 percent of those cases, the woman is the second hire.
The report, from Stanford University, is here.
Jeannie and I were exceptionally lucky–she got her med school offer independently of my poli sci one. But we still tried to negotiate couple offers at other institutions where she or I had an offer. In one case, the other department ended up wanting her more than my offering department wanted me. So it’s worth pointing out that being the second hire is not always negative.
Even so, it’s not uncommon for people to wonder if Jeannie was hired because I had an offer. I’ve not encountered the same. The woman in a couple hire will almost always bear the burden of this prejudice.
Thoughts from readers on how the academy could change? Here’s one I doubt is in the report: dating services for PhDs, so that they meet people other than their classmates.