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Faculty Couples Make the Grade in Texas

For 42 faculty members in the College of Science at Texas A&M University’s main campus, some fellow professors are more than just colleagues. They are family.

The college has 21 faculty couples — and two more pairs are on the way by next year. In all, the couples account for about 15 percent of the college’s professors.

About half the couples were hired in the last five years as part of a special push to create 70 new faculty positions in the sciences. The college didn’t necessarily look for couples, officials said, but having so many openings made it easier to consider them.

In some cases, administrators believe the ability to accommodate couples strengthened their hand. “With many of these couples, we would not have gotten either one of them if we didn’t have a position for both of them,” says Sherry J. Yennello, associate dean for diversity in the college.

That’s probably the case with Ginger E. Carney and Adam G. Jones, both of whom are assistant professors of biology. He had offers from several other campuses, but only one of them considered making her an offer as well. “They are really receptive to it here in a way that other places aren’t,” says Ms. Carney. The couple has three young boys and decided long ago that they wouldn’t take jobs that would require a commuter marriage.

Texas A&M has also hired a pair of sisters. Katrin Becker and Melanie Becker are both prominent string theorists and full professors of physics. They had tenured positions at campuses thousands of miles apart and wanted to be in the same place, partly because they collaborate on research.

You can read more about the college’s couple hires here.

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