UVa CHARGE Program

Tournament of Ideas

The U.Va. CHARGE program seeks to generate innovative solutions, policies, or practices to address the challenges faced by dual career academic couples and the institutional challenges of hiring and recruiting them.  

Tournament Home

Submit a Proposal

Detailed Rules and Process Info

Proposal Evaluation Rubric
(how to win!)

Resources and Research

Tournament Schedule

Tournament begins

Teaming and Informational Event at Open Grounds, 5-7 PM

Proposal submissions are open.

Proposal due!

Finalists announced.

Final presentations (winner and runner-up announced).



Tournament of Ideas WINNERS

Congratulations to Michael Livermore, Faculty, School of Law, the WINNER of the Tournament of Ideas! And congratulations also to Murielle de Wekker, PhD alumna, Curry School, as the RUNNER UP! U.Va. CHARGE PI, Gertrude Fraser gives them their hard-won awards.

Michael Livermore

Murielle de Wekker

What is a Dual Career Couple?

dual career coupleAs more women have entered the workforce, more couples find themselves in dual career situations: both of the partners pursue careers at the same time. An academic dual career couple is one in which both partners work in academia as professors or administrators. According to the Clayman Report, 72% of full-time faculty have professionally employed partners and 36% (half) of these partners work in academia. Moreover, academic women tend to have high rates of “disciplinary endogamy”—their partner works within the same research area or discipline. In the sciences, 83% of women are coupled with another scientist compared to 54% of men. Further, compared to their white peers, significantly more underrepresented minority respondents selected dual career factors as important in their decision-making process (Fraser, Harden & Rhine, 2012).

The Clayman Report data for U.Va. showed 42% of women faculty had an academic partner compared to 33% of male faculty. When faculty candidates declined a position at U.Va., they cited the lack of spousal/partner career opportunities as the most important factor in their decision-making. Of these candidates, 56% of them selected dual careers as important.

Why Is This Important?

The growth of dual career academic couples and dual career hiring has a far-reaching impact on institutional faculty recruitment and retention policies, particularly for women (Schiebinger, Henderson & Gilmartin, 2008)  According to national research, women in academia are much more likely to have a partner who also works in academia than men. As a result, women are more likely to decline a job offer if the hiring institution does not provide dual career support. UVa CHARGE recognizes this as one of the significant barriers to advancing the role of women, especially underrepresented women, in the STEM and SBE fields.

The Challenge

Common Grounds U.Va.Clearly, dual career hiring is a significant issue at U.Va. and will only increase in importance in the future as the percentage of women in academia continues to grow. The question is, how to address this issue to create a work-life balance for faculty and staff. We challenge all members of U.Va.’s community to lend their diverse expertise and experience to generate unique approaches to transforming structures, cultures, or U.Va. policies and practices as they relate to dual career hiring and retention.



First place will be awarded a $3000 prize and the runner-up will be awarded $1500.


  • The tournament is open to anyone aged 18 years or older who has some affiliation with the U.Va. community, including faculty, staff, alumni, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, undergraduates, and their spouses,  partners, and adult children.
  • There is no limit on the number of authors per proposal and no limit to the number of proposals a person and/or team may submit.
  • To be eligible to win the cash prize, finalists must present their idea to a panel of judges and the university community, in person, on November 18, 2014 via a single representative. No exceptions.

Read the detailed rules and process information.

© Copyright 2012-2014 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

This is an ambitious effort that will require the assistance of many! If you are interested in getting involved, we welcome your participation. Please send an email to the team at uvacharge@virginia.edu. Feedback and suggestions are also welcome.

U.Va. CHARGE Program | Rice Hall 85 Engineer's Way | P.O. Box 400239 | Charlottesville, VA 22904