Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: Expedited Spousal Hiring Policy for Academic Staff
Year Submitted 2006
Name of Institution University of Calgary
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Ron Bond<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Telephone: 403-220-7231
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

University stakeholders have been fully consulted in ail aspects of the Spousal Hiring Policy, which was developed by the University Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure at the behest of the Provost. The concept;, design and implementation have ail been handled collegially. Deans and department heads first raised their concerns regarding loss of preferred recruits by reason of the absence of any formal procedure for making expedited simultaneous offers to a hiring prospect and his or her academically qualified spouse or domestic partner. The Policy developed was ultimately approved by the General Faculties Council and the University's Board of Governors. Our Faculty Association has supported the Policy, because it is open and transparent and involves peer-review, even though it does not involve a full competitive search process.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

Based on common experiences, and supported by collegial consensus, the Spousal Hiring Policy should find acceptability at most sister institutions. Details of mil implementation of the Policy are available in the University's academic Wring manual, and readily accessible.

Quality Impact

The Policy was expected to assist in faculty recruitment and retention of preferred candidates, and has been entirely satisfactory in meeting these objectives.

From its inception to the present, the policy has been applied 17 times and allowed for 17 preferred hirings. In three cases we were unable to make a position available to the spouse for academic reasons. Modest adjustments have been made to language in the procedures as the policy has been applied, but the result of having this policy in place has been most advantageous for the University. In the last year, 5.5% of some 90 academic appointments involved the application of this process.

Productivity Impact

It is difficult to assess the exact productivity gains or cost reduction. This Policy has enabled the University of Calgary to obtain the top candidate in many searches which would have failed otherwise. The costs associated with the recruitment of an academic staff member is anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 per selection which is dependent upon how many candidates are flown to Calgary for interviews. This does not include relocation expenses or start-up costs.

The real gain that is immeasurable is the satisfaction of the new employees, their dedication to the University for offering this option and their increased ability to focus energy on their career objectives. The gainful employment of both spouses decreases the financial burden on a family if only one spouse is initially employed and increases the satisfaction regarding the move to a new job and perhaps a new city, province or country. Hiring both spouses also eliminates the option of having a long-distance relationship which causes emotional stress and financial burden which reduces the commitment to the institution, minimizes energy focused on career objectives and may ultimately result in a resignation.

In the five years since the Policy was implemented, we have had the opportunity to assess its impact. It has been beneficial in providing the ability to hire prime candidates, as well as strong secondary candidates. The data we have on the quality of the people hired fully demonstrates a high degree of success. This is eminently satisfactory for the units involved, and reduces the issues and costs attached to adjusting expectations or repeating the recruitment activity.


The Spousal Hiring Policy provides a transparent process and engages broad consultation of the units involved to assess the merits of a spousal hiring in an expeditious manner. It supplements rather than suspends hiring procedures and engages those most affected in a peer-review process familiar to academics in "regular" searches. A collaborative as opposed to a hierarchical decision is made with the potential to obviate resentments. There is also an interim provision for a Limited Term appointment that permits timely decision, and the opportunity for revisiting appropriate longer term treatment.