UMaine ranked second among top-tier research universities for finding jobs for partners of faculty

Starting a new position at a university located far away from home can be daunting for incoming faculty and staff, especially when their spouses or partners need to find jobs too. That’s why the University of Maine helps partners of incoming employees identify work opportunities with extensive support that, according to a new report, stands out among top research universities nationwide.

In the “Partner Hire Scorecard,” developed by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UMaine was named the second most partner-friendly for faculty out of all 146 universities with an R1 designation from Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The R1 designation, which UMaine obtained in 2022, indicates “very high research activity” and is the highest possible tier a doctoral research university can achieve in the Carnegie Classification.

UMaine tied for second with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, behind the University of Delaware. It’s also the only university in the Northeast that ranks among the top 10 and is one of two ranked in the top 50 along with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Researchers behind the “Partner Hire Scorecard,” funded by the National Science Foundation, qualitatively analyzed each university’s publicly available policies, materials and resources. They scored each institution based on whether they offered faculty and staff positions for partners — including jobs with a tenure track, job placement services, processes for hire requests, partner hire programs or offices, online resources, research start up support and guidance for search committees. Researchers found that UMaine is among four R1 institutions that offer all of these resources.

“Spousal and partner accommodations are important for attracting world-class faculty and staff. These offerings are also mutually beneficial, allowing us to recruit, welcome and retain talented educators, researchers and administrators who generate new knowledge and foster learning success,” said UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “I applaud those across the UMaine campus for their hard work and ingenuity, which earned UMaine this recognition and ensures that our university remains a hospitable, responsive place for dual-career families.”   

A priority of “Partner Hire Scorecard” was to support dual-career academic couples, in which both partners are active or aspiring university faculty. According to UNC researchers, many universities have historically lacked transparency in whether and how they support partners and spouses of their employees, leaving couples “to fend for themselves.” While the number of partner accommodation programs has increased in recent decades, they vary in quality, clarity and in degree of implementation. 

“We are delighted to have our efforts in this important area highlighted in the ‘Partner Hire Scorecard.’ Supporting partner accommodations has been an important priority for us, and to be ranked 2 among all R1 universities is a tremendous recognition. Our work in this area reflects our institution’s values, including our strong commitment to faculty success,” said UMaine Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost John Volin. 

Under its Spouse and Partner Accommodation Program, UMaine identifies employment opportunities on campus that do not have an active search, and matches the partners of new employees with those openings. The program does not guarantee employment for partners, as they must be qualified for a position and their appointment must be approved by the hiring department. 

The university’s Office of Human Resources also supports the partners of incoming employees and job finalists by offering informational networking, organizational contact information and emails and phone numbers for other local employers and job services. 

Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721;