2,527: Spousal and Partner Hiring

Revised: November 2015

The University recognizes both the growing frequency and importance of dual-career couples in the academic workplace and the importance of addressing their needs in attracting and retaining the most highly qualified faculty. Many highly qualified candidates for university positions have talented and accomplished spouses or partners who also seek university employment. In certain limited circumstances the University may be able to offer employment opportunities, through the search exception process, to a qualified spouse/partner for purposes of recruiting new faculty and senior level administrators (e.g., deans/vice presidents) or retaining outstanding existing academic faculty Spousal/partner employment opportunities under this policy may include tenured, tenure track, or non-tenure track positions, temporary or short-term positions, or non-academic professional positions.

The employment of a spouse/partner through this process is not an entitlement, and is necessarily the exception rather than the rule. Because resources and opportunities for spousal/partner hires are limited, the following considerations and general guidelines have been developed for purposes of considering spousal/partner hiring situations.


As used in this policy only, the following definitions apply:

"Hiring Unit" means the major academic unit of the University considering the employment of the recruited/retained faculty member.

"Partner" means a person's domestic partner if the domestic partnership is registered with the office of the Nevada Secretary of State.

"Receiving Unit" means the major unit of the University, academic or administrative, proposed to employ the spousal/partner hire.

"Spouse" means a person's partner in legal marriage.


Priority for spousal/partner hire requests will be given to recruiting new academic faculty and senior level administrators (e.g., deans/vice presidents), and retaining outstanding academic faculty in fields which align with the university's strategic growth plans.

In all situations, the appropriateness of offering employment, regardless of its nature, to a spouse/partner will depend on the individual's qualifications, merit, professional suitability, and ability to fill a role that is consistent with institutional needs and priorities.

The potential receiving unit of a spousal/partner hire has the authority to decide whether to recommend acceptance of a spousal/partner hire. While receiving units are asked to be flexible with regard to their plans and priorities, a spousal/partner hire will not disrupt a unit's approved plans and strategic directions. Moreover, a spousal/partner hire will not be imposed on an unwilling unit.

With the exception of competitive or open search policies, compliance with all other policies and laws, including university affirmative action, equal employment opportunity, and nepotism policies must be maintained. 


A. Initiation by Candidate

Questions about spousal/partner hire opportunities often arise during candidate interviews and subsequent negotiations. It is illegal to predicate any hiring decisions on marital status or domestic arrangements; it is, therefore, inappropriate to ask any questions of a candidate about marital status or domestic arrangements. Candidates are under no obligation to raise issues related to the employment of a spouse/partner, either before or after receiving a job offer. If a candidate volunteers that a spouse/partner hire would be a substantial factor in his or her decision to accept an offer or remain at the University, the following process shall be followed. After the process has been initiated, however, the candidate must not be involved in further discussions or negotiations regarding the potential spousal/partner hire.

B. Notification to the Executive Vice President & Provost

If a department chair or the chair of a search committee becomes aware of a potential spousal/partner hire opportunity such chair shall notify the dean/vice president of a hiring unit, who shall thereafter inform the Executive Vice President & Provost. At the time of notification to the Executive Vice President & Provost, the dean/vice president of the hiring unit shall provide the following to the Executive Vice President & Provost:

1. The curriculum vita or resume of the spouse/partner.
2. The curriculum vita of the faculty to be recruited/retained.
3. Identification of possible positions for the spouse/partner, including identification of proposed receiving unit(s).
4. Current employment status and salary of the spouse/partner.
5. A brief overview of the circumstances justifying the proposed spousal/partner hire under this policy, including an explanation of how the University will benefit from the proposed spousal/partner hire.
6. Additional information as requested by the Executive Vice President & Provost.

C. Consultation with Potential Receiving Unit

The Executive Vice President & Provost will then review the credentials of the spouse/partner and the circumstances of the request. Where appropriate, the Executive Vice President & Provost will thereafter discuss potential employment opportunities with the dean/vice president of the potential receiving unit. The dean/vice president of the potential receiving unit will, in consultation with the applicable department chair/administrative unit head, review the credentials of the spouse/partner to determine if there is the possibility of a suitable professional appointment within the receiving unit, and whether there is a basis to proceed to the interview stage.

The potential department chair/administrative unit head within the receiving unit shall then consult with his/her department/unit. Appropriate committees shall review the credentials of the spouse/partner, explore the relationship of the hire to department/unit goals, availability and sources of funding, and opportunities and problems that may exist, and determine what further information may be required from the spouse/partner.

1. If the initial exploration is clearly negative, the dean/vice president of the potential receiving unit shall so notify the Executive Vice President & Provost. Unless other potential receiving units have been identified, the process will end at this point.

2. If the spousal/partner hire candidate appears to have the potential for success within the receiving unit, the department chair/administrative unit head within the receiving unit shall then request an interview with the spouse/partner.

D. Interviewing the Spouse/Partner

With the exception of position advertising and other competitive or open search related policies, scheduling and conducting the interview with a potential spousal/partner hire must comply with UAM 2,520, Faculty Search Rules, and any applicable college and department level bylaws. Exceptions to any of those requirements must be approved by the Office of the Provost.

The decision to recommend extending an offer of employment shall be based on the individual's own merits and the goals of the department/unit. The spouse/partner in consideration needs to have sufficiently high achievements and/or potential that he or she would have been a member of a "short list" for a position in the department/unit if a position in the area (and for the type of position in question, e.g., lecturer, assistant professor) had been advertised. Care must be taken to ensure that due diligence is exercised and that peer-review of qualifications and applicability of experience remains the decisive factor in such hires.

The dean/vice president of the potential receiving unit shall notify the Executive Vice President & Provost of the results of the interview process.

1. If the process results in an overall negative recommendation, unless other potential receiving units have been identified, the process will end at this point.

2. If the spousal/partner hire is supported by the receiving unit, and funding is identified and approved under Subsection E, below, negotiations may proceed to the formal offer stage.

E. Availability of Funding

If a spousal/partner hire is recommended to proceed to the formal offer stage, the Provost, dean/vice president of the hiring unit, and the dean/vice president overseeing the receiving unit, in consultation with the relevant department chair(s)/administrative unit head, will meet to determine what resources are necessary and available to facilitate the hire. Funding for the position to be occupied by a spouse/partner hired pursuant to this policy may be available through the Office of the Provost. In select instances the Office of the Provost may fund tenure-track positions for spousal/partner hires.

Where such assistance is available, the position will be funded by Office of the Provost. If the spousal/partner hire leaves this position, the salary and benefits funding for the position at the time of separation will revert to the Office of the Provost.

F. Employment Offers

The final decision to extend an employment offer to a spouse/partner under this policy is up to the discretion of the Appointing Authority who makes the final hiring decision relating to the position to be filled. The nature, type, and terms of employment offered to a spousal/partner hire are subject to the same relevant policies, procedures, and terms applicable as had the position been filled through a competitive search process. A search waiver must be submitted and approved before an offer may be extended. Instructions to complete a search waiver in e-SEARCH can be found on the HR website titled Search Waiver Instructions (Non-Search).

At the discretion of the Appointing Authority, the University may, but is not required to, condition the offer made to the spouse/partner upon acceptance of employment by the recruited faculty member or retention of employment by the existing faculty member.

Evaluation and Role of Spouse/Partner Within Receiving Unit:

If hired, the employment of the spouse/partner shall be in accordance with NSHE Code and contract terms. During negotiations and after a spouse/partner joins the receiving unit, the spouse/partner is eligible for all rights and privileges as would be any other employee of the same rank and status within the receiving unit. Thus, on matters such as merit review, retention, promotion and tenure reviews, working conditions, responsibilities, and workload assignment, the spouse/partner will be evaluated and treated in the same manner as all other similarly ranked individuals within the receiving unit.