What you can do as chair, from within the department, to help faculty in shared positions

Note about the possibility of a shared position coming up during a search

Having untenured faculty in your department who are in a shared appointment presents some special circumstances. This section of the Guide will be useful to those of you who are in the middle of a search in which two of the top candidates would like a shared position, as well as those of you who already have a shared appointment in the department. There are benefits to the department and to the college in a shared appointment: with one position you get two people, which means a greater breadth of intellectual resources available to students and to the institution generally. Within the department, having two points of view instead of one can broaden conversations. But there are also challenges that come with a shared appointment, mostly from the perspective of the chair. You have two people to take into account rather than just one. Two people to listen to, to help out, to evaluate. So, a shared appointment can mean more work for the chair, but in almost every other way, a benefit to the college.

For the college's policy on shared appointments, and for how responsibilities are to be divided, see the Faculty Handbook.

One of the biggest challenges is to remember that each person is working only half-time (or whatever the dividing percentage is in the particular case). Some of the factors governing apportionment of work come from within the department and some come from outside.

What you can do as chair, from within the department, to help faculty in shared positions

  • Request two offices. College practice is to give each person in a shared position their own office, if space is available.

  • Don't expect each of them to be on campus as much as a full-time person. It may help you to know their schedules, so that you can help people concerned about not being able to find them.

  • Advise them to be careful of their time.

  • When dividing up departmental tasks (including the advising of majors), give each person only half as much as you give to a full-time faculty member. But do get both people involved (rather than designating only one of the people as doing departmental service), as both need to contribute as "citizens" within the department and the college. You can insure this happens by rotating larger jobs or dividing up smaller jobs between them.

  • Whenever possible, accommodate course scheduling that the sharers would like to try out. For example, if they share childcare, they might need non-overlapping teaching schedules. Assuming this can work with regard to departmental offerings, give it a try.

  • Understand that it may take more time for a half-time person to build up a student following, simply because they are teaching fewer courses. Be sure to include a "gateway" course in each person's course schedule from time to time, so that they are introduced to a good number of the students who may eventually become majors.

  • When evaluating faculty in shared appointments, always keep in mind that you are evaluating two individuals in part-time appointments, not one combined entity. Be aware that you will have less data on each person than you would for a full-time person (half the number of teaching evaluations, some proportion less of service and research/creative work). The qualitative standards remain the same, but the quantity of data will, in most areas, be less. And because of the rotation of some aspects of work (e.g. committee assignments, some departmental tasks), there will be flux in the record, with more activity in some years than in others.

Note about the possibility of a shared position coming up during a search

There are different ways in which you will become aware that two people applying for a position are interested in a job-share. One common approach is that the two individuals will submit two dossiers, but their cover letters will cross-reference the application of the other. They may say they are interested in a job-share only, they may say that they would like to be considered individually as well as in a job-share, or they may not specify. If one or both of the people make it to the interview stage, it is up to you and the search committee to decide if it makes sense for both of the people to be considered, or if you are interested in only one of them. It may be that the qualifications of one person greatly outweigh the other's, or it may be that the field of one is far away from anything that would be helpful to the department. Whatever path you decide on, be frank from the outset: that you're interested in only one person, or in both.