Survey of Presidential Partners
The University of Minnesota’s report, The Lives of Presidential Partners in Higher Education Institutions, is available here.
University of Minnesota researchers conducted a 2016 survey of 461 spouses and partners of presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities.
Key findings include:
- Eighty-four percent reported they were satisfied in the role, many finding it rewarding to interact with students and other interesting people. Partners who were involved or very involved with their presidents’ institutions reported greater satisfaction, despite greater frustration with aspects of the role.
- The role is highly ambiguous. Seventy-four percent had informal responsibilities in an unpaid role. Nine percent had unpaid roles with position descriptions. Less than 8 percent reported their presidents’ institutions had specific policies concerning the role. One in four reported that their responsibilities were clarified in advance. Partners with greater role clarity were more satisfied overall.
- Reported challenges of being a partner included worry about the president’s job stress, unrelenting schedules with unpredictable demands, and lack of privacy.
The President’s Spouse
In1981 the Executive Committee of the Senate of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges approved the establishment of a standing Committee of Presidents/ Chancellors Spouses to begin functioning immediately as a formally recognized part of the Association’s organization and structure. The council has continued to meet and work on issues and APLU remains committed to its success. It is possible to underestimate the importance of this event, but to do so would be a grave mistake for the many reasons that you will find in these page of The President’s Spouse..
Originally published in 1984, this publication was a significant first in that the chief executives and other administrative officers who make up APLU served notice that they consider the program areas represented by spouses to be highly important in the executive branch of these research-intensive public universities that comprise our membership.
We thank Georgia State University for digitizing and archiving this important work.