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Books, Journals, New Media
June 3, 1998

Academic CouplesAcademic Couples: Problems and Promises

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998American Medical Association


edited by Marianne A. Ferber and Jane W. Loeb, 323 pp, $44.95, ISBN 0-252-02316-1, paper, $19.95, ISBN -252-06619-7, Urbana, Ill, University of Illinois Press, 1997.

JAMA. 1998;279(21):1753. doi:10.1001/jama.279.21.1753-JBK0603-4-1

This book is a study of the evolution of college and university policies vis-à-vis couples as members of academic faculties. In addition, the book emphasizes the upward changes in the status of women in academia, with the level of acceptance approaching equality with men.

I found the book of considerable interest. I became dean of a new medical school in a large midwestern university in the early 1960s, at which time the institution had strict antinepotism rules, essentially, save for a few exceptions, forbidding such liaisons among faculty members. For reasons that were unclear, these regulations were not forced on me, and among my earliest faculty recruitments were, in fact, several married couples, all of whom became academically successful. The main difficulty was the issue of salary parity, since, usually, the man in those days was the individual being recruited, and finding a spot for the wife could be an unplanned complication. Some of my more interesting encounters were visits with talented women seeking salary parity with their husbands. As time passed, the problem diminished, and the characteristics of the individuals applying, rather than their sex, became the critical recruitment and promotion criteria, and salary differentials tended to disappear.

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