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Work/Life Balance For Dual Career Faculty Couples

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Advice for Dual-Career Couples

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1476.1 - 10.1476.6



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Paper Authors

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Kirk Schulz

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Noel Schulz

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2275

Work/Life Balance for Dual Career Faculty Couples Kirk H. Schulz and Noel N. Schulz James Worth Bagley College of Engineering Mississippi State University


Dual career faculty couples face a unique set of challenges within the academic world. While these couples face the same challenges as all dual career couples, faculty couples have to also combine these normal stresses with special challenges of working as a faculty member. The first challenge is the original job search and finding two positions. The next challenge is to both make it through the tenure and promotion process. The third challenge is to have advancement opportunities. Along the way, the couple has to work together to develop a work/life balance plan to provide an environment for each person within the pair to thrive toward his/her career goals and personal goals. Besides balancing the day-to-day activities of a functioning household, couples must agree on timing for or if they will start a family and advancement opportunities for each.

This paper and presentation will discuss our experiences over the last fifteen years related to work/life balance for a dual career engineering faculty couple. We will discuss the various phases of our careers and different “give and take” situations at those times. We will also discuss the tools and advice that have been extremely helpful to us as we work to maintain a healthy balance between our work and personal lives. Tips for couples from graduate students to faculty will be provided.


Having one faculty member in the family is very challenging. However, having two faculty members in the family makes life even more interesting. Today’s work environment involves more and more dual career couples where both partners work full-time. Additionally many faculty meet their significant others during school creating an environment with more dual career couples than in the past. Dual career couples have a different set of challenges than couples that are single-income or one-income dominant. References [1-12] address some of these dual career challenges. Dual career faculty also have the challenge of the tenure process and advancing in a system that is often less flexible than many industrial jobs. Sometimes the dual career situation is complicated because universities are located in remote areas that lack other career opportunities outside of the university.

The key for dual career couples is to establish a system to help them balance their career and personal activities. For each couple the dynamics are going to be a little different depending on your personal situation, for example -- university location, career aspirations, your age, kids/no kids, aging relatives, and hobbies. As our career and family have changed and grown, we have gone through different phases and have recently started a new phase as Kirk became the Dean of Engineering at MSU in January of 2005. These new roles will provide a new opportunity for us to learn to balance. In this paper we outline some of our personal tips as well as summarize lessons learned and advice over the last fifteen years as dual career engineering faculty.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Schulz, K., & Schulz, N. (2005, June), Work/Life Balance For Dual Career Faculty Couples Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14446

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