ERIC Number: ED497194
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Let's Talk about Paying the President's Spouse
Oden, Teresa Johnston
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Trusteeship v13 n2 Mar-Apr 2005
Ask a group of presidents' spouses what's on their minds, and they're likely to say "compensation for the partner." As more spouses of academic presidents come to expect compensation or recognition for the various duties they assume in advancing their mate's presidencies, the issue of pay for partners and the waters beneath it remain murky. Paying the president's spouse is a complex matter and a source of controversy not only among trustees (who may be concerned about public fallout) but among partners themselves. Few people have a complete understanding of the roles presidential spouses fill. We are most visible as smiling co-hosts--at more functions than people realize. But we really earn our stripes behind the scenes, as ambassadors and troubleshooters, sounding boards and speechwriters, privy councilors and stewards of some very expensive real estate. The partner's position is not one that lends itself to precise definition or quantification. In the public sector, paying the spouse is especially complex, because job descriptions and annual evaluations may be required. But it is not an easy call in the private sector, either. Never fear! We are not a group that could ever form a union. Now comes the curve ball: While some of us think we should be paid for what we do, others who contribute in the same ways don't think compensation is appropriate. When pay is offered, some of us welcome it and some of us accept it with ambivalence. Others, who are just as actively engaged, politely refuse remuneration or flatly reject the idea. And for those of us whose careers preclude active involvement as the spouse, compensation isn't a concern at all.
Descriptors: Spouses, College Presidents, Compensation (Remuneration), Governing Boards, Trustees, Interpersonal Relationship, Communication (Thought Transfer)
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. 1133 20th Street NW Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-356-6317; Tel: 202-296-8400; Fax: 202-223-7053; Web site: http://www.agb.org
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Washington, DC.