UO launches a new approach to dual-career support

Rhonda Smith

The University of Oregon’s new approach to supporting partners of recently hired tenure-track faculty members and senior officers of administration is officially launching this term.  

The improved strategy includes the creation of a new half-time position, the dual career liaison. This role, housed within the Office of the Provost, is designed to help dual-career partners connect to opportunities.

Rhonda Smith, who most recently worked as career services director for the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management, will take on the dual career liaison role, serving as the primary contact for eligible dual-career partners. Currently, 49 active tenure-track faculty member searches are underway through the 2018-19 Institutional Hiring Plan. Many of those applicants are likely to have partners.

“Dual-career support can be critical in luring faculty from top institutions,” said Vickie DeRose, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry who was part of the team that worked to create the liaison and the new approach to dual-career support.

“For us to be competitive for the best faculty, it is important to have a robust policy and resources, and also be able to act efficiently and professionally during the busy hiring season,” DeRose said.

In years past, it was up to schools and colleges to find opportunities for partners of newly hired faculty members. Now, schools and colleges can connect partners to the liaison, who will act as a resource for employment options both on and off campus.

Smith’s experience advising graduate students on career development and job searches, along with her human resources experience with the city of Eugene, will be beneficial in the liaison position.

While working for the city, Smith managed the career development assistance program for 1,500 employees.

“I find this work intrinsically rewarding,” Smith said. “I look forward to working with the dual-career partners, schools and colleges.”

“I think our new approach to dual-career support will have a positive impact on our future hires,” said Anna Shamble, senior project manager for the Office of the Provost. “It shows that we, as an institution, are committed to dual-career support. I hope that both units and partners will feel systematically supported.”

Information about dual-career support is available on the Office of the Provost/Dual Career Support website. Deans’ offices may request dual career liaison support for the partner of an incoming tenure-track faculty member or senior OA.

To propose the hire the partner of a tenure-track faculty member to a tenure-track position, refer to the Tenure-Track Partners Program. For more information on submitting a proposal for the hire of the partner of a tenure-track faculty member to a tenure-track position, follow the UO tenure-track faculty member direct hire proposal process as outlined on the Target of Opportunity page. 

Smith can be reached at dualcareer@uoregon.edu for inquiries or assistance.

—By Lizzy Elkins, University Communications