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Cornell's Solution for Trailing Spouses

Itís a classic problem for businesses in small communities: how does the business compete with firms in larger markets to recruit top talent? If I were a professor, why would I move to Ithaca when I could secure a job at a university in or near a major city?

One of Cornellís chief priorities leading up to the sesquicentennial is faculty recruitment. A university is only as strong as its teachers, but while Cornell has a reputation for research, its location is a major deterrent in attracting preeminent professors. Further compounding the problem is the fact that professorsí spouses often need Ithaca employment and there are few, if any, major corporations in Ithaca outside of education. In fact, Dean of the University Faculty William Fry has gone on the record as saying prospective faculty members will only accept positions if their partners can find an appropriate job nearby. Non-academic spouses may view an Ithaca move as a step back or a pause in their own career goals.

Cornell recognizes this challenge to their recruitment efforts and have, according to a recent article in the Daily Sun, begun to prioritize spousal employment. Under the Dual Career Program, the University works within its own departments and with Ithaca businesses to find rewarding careers for the so-called trailing spouses. Ithaca businesses benefit from the influx of talent, but the truth is that there are not enough jobs for all the potential spouses seeking employment as part of the faculty renewal initiative. As we get closer to 2015, it will be interesting to see the role the issue of trailing spouses has played in meeting recruitment targets.

Speaking of faculty recruitment, check out a creative recruitment ad from Cornell:


Kyle Scott | Posted on February 23, 2012 (#)

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