07:14 AM

New regional network gives dual-career couples advantage in higher education job pursuit

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University is among 33 colleges and universities that have joined forces to create a job-posting service that helps dual-career couples find positions in academia.

Representatives from participating institutions in Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia are meeting today (5/16) at Ohio State to formally launch the cooperative service, which will also help the schools land the best candidates.

The consortium addresses a common problem in higher education – the ability of dual-career couples to find employment at the same or nearby institutions. The new tri-state regional section of the national Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC), based at Case Western Reserve University, provides just that: a “one-stop shopping” resource listing job openings within a reasonable commuting distance of one another.

The new website, www.ohwpawvherc.org, went live Wednesday (5/14).

These networks emphasize added diversity within the higher education applicant pool and are designed to facilitate dual-career hiring among members. However, the jobs website is open to anyone seeking employment in the region. In addition to higher education jobs, the site offers information about other professional career opportunities.

More than a third of university faculty nationally have a spouse or partner who also works in academia. Another 36 percent have a partner employed outside of higher education.

“Our goal is to improve not only the job-search process for higher-education applicants in this part of the country, but to enhance the quality and diversity of people looking for these opportunities,” said Jennifer Heckscher, the tri-state HERC Advisory Board chair and program manager for Ohio State’s Gender Initiatives in STEMM office. “We expect meeting dual-career needs will be integral as we recruit the future academic work force, which makes this an issue for men as much as it is for women.”

Ohio State’s participation in this regional HERC is an extension of the university’s federally funded pursuit of gender equity. Project CEOS (Comprehensive Equity at Ohio State) is an ongoing program designed to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. A National Science Foundation grant of $3.6 million funded the project’s launch in 2008.

Ohio State’s Office of Research has since established GI STEMM (STEM + medicine) to enhance the recruitment and retention of women faculty members from diverse populations in STEMM disciplines.

HERC is a nationwide, nonprofit consortium of more than 600 colleges, universities, hospitals, research labs, government agencies and other organizations. Consortium institutions, which pay a membership fee based on their size, share a commitment to hiring the most diverse and talented faculty, staff and executives. Membership also includes access to professional development opportunities and discounts on employment advertising.

The national HERC organization was founded in 2000 in California. Seventeen regional HERCs currently exist in other areas of the country. Four consortia – including Ohio State’s home network – have just launched or are in development.

A steering committee comprising Case Western Reserve, Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State and West Virginia universities and The LEADER Consortium spearheaded the development of the regional network.