The rationale for taking a shared appointment position varies according to each individual and couple involved. It may be a strategy for getting more time for research or one's personal life, or it may simply be a way for two people in the same field to find work in the same place. The financial sacrifice of having only one salary is balanced by the benefits: for example, of having more time to do research, to attend more conferences or do residencies, to spend more time with one's family. The College benefits also: half-time faculty may bring more energy to the students, the department, and the College. Two points of view are presented instead of one, a special contribution in a small department.

The experience of shared appointments may be new to your department. Be sure to read the College policies carefully and to discuss expectations with both the Dean and your department chair. Some areas (like teaching) are easier to divide in half than others (like service). Be sure that all parties (you, the Dean, the department) have a common understanding of how responsibilities are to be shared, and what the expectations for tenure are.

The most difficult part of a shared appointment is protecting the other half of your life. Value your time! It's easy to become consumed by the job. Quite simply, the greatest issue to negotiate is your time. For example, student demand for feedback and advice is intense at Knox, and this can be one of the most marvelous things about teaching here. The close interaction among students and faculty creates a collegial, informal, and intimate working environment. However, the demands of teaching, service, the needs of students, departmental responsibilities, etc. can become so consuming that little room is left for your life, your needs, and your research. It's not difficult to find yourself working the hours of a full-time faculty person. People will not necessarily ask you to do less because you are only half-time--they have no way of knowing how much you've been asked to do. Practice friendly ways of saying no. It doesn't hurt to remind people that you are only part-time (especially students, who may not know the nature of your appointment). If possible, try not to be on campus all day long.

Experiment with different ways of arranging your teaching schedule to get longer blocks of time for yourself. For example, since Knox is on a three-term system, the usual arrangement for a half-time position (with a six-course load) is one course per term. A possible alternative, if it will work for your department, is to distribute the three courses over just two terms instead of three. During the term without teaching you are still expected to be on campus for committee work, Honors work, advising, and other ongoing obligations, but this still leaves more time for research or other activities than is possible when teaching. Discuss this or other possibilities you can think of with your department chair and the Dean. Flexiblity is possible, but it's up to you to think up the alternatives to try out.