Thursday, June 3, 2010

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to The University of Iowa, to Iowa City, to the state of Iowa, and, for a number of you, to the United States. We are very proud to host this important conference, and I extend to you my best wishes for an engaging and productive meeting. I know that you have specific business to attend to in the next couple of days, but I do hope that you have some time to enjoy and get to know our wonderful campus and city.

The University of Iowa is known as an innovator in many areas. We were the first public university in the United States to admit women and men on an equal basis (in 1855). We were one of the first institutions in the U.S. to grant a law degree to a woman (in 1873) and to an African-American (in 1879). We were the first university to put an African-American on a varsity athletic squad (in 1879). We founded the first daily campus newspaper and first educational radio station west of the Mississippi River, as well as the first educational television station in the world, all in the first part of the 20th century. We hosted the first blood bank in the nation in the 1930s. We were the first university to offer academic credit for creative work, and we created the first—and still the best worldwide—creative writing workshop. And just two years ago, Iowa City became the first UNESCO “City of Literature” in North America, and only the third in the world. We virtually created the field of educational testing and measurement, which led to the Iowa Tests and the establishment of ACT here in Iowa City. We were the first hospital in the U.S. to implant a multichannel cochlear implant that helps deaf patients hear sounds that can be interpreted as speech. We were one of the first institutions to offer same-sex domestic partner benefits. And we created the first electronic classroom in the country – the Information Arcade in our Main Library in 1992.

We can boast many more “firsts,” but I hope this quick sketch gives you an idea of how innovative The University of Iowa really is. And one of our proudest innovations is the Dual Career Network. Here at Iowa, we believe strongly both in strategic recruiting and in taking very good care of our people. The Dual Career Network has played a vital role in those goals.

We have a long history of using the Dual Career Network to bring the brightest and best staff and faculty to this campus. We know that when we invite people to join the University of Iowa community, we are not just adding skills to our employment base or filling positions. We are welcoming people into our midst – people with concerns and needs that go beyond the job itself, including the needs of families. Quite often, those family needs include the careers of spouses or partners.

When Iowa’s Dual Career Network was started in 1994 by Joan Murrin, only four or five universities in the country had such services, and fewer than that had formal programs. As soon as we started our Network, universities all over the U.S. and Canada took notice and started asking us for advice. To date, our DCN staff have assisted over 50 universities in setting up dual career programs, and in 2003 we hosted the first annual meeting of this conference. We are proud that, even today, our program at Iowa is often considered the model for the U.S.

Setting up a program is one thing. Making sure it serves the needs of your people is another. Throughout the next couple of days, you’ll share with each other how to make sure that a dual career network does what it’s supposed to do – make your university or college community welcoming, vibrant, compassionate, and competitive. I think we’ve done a great job here at Iowa, and the Dual Career Network has made a big difference. Many couples have commented that they decided to make their careers here at Iowa because they knew they would get expert help in their spouse or partner’s job search. That gratitude and that success can be seen and felt in every corner of our campus. For over 15 years now, The University of Iowa has been a stronger and better place to work thanks to the Dual Career Network.

Once again, I welcome you to our campus and community. I know your proceedings will be enlightening and engaging. And I thank you for choosing to spend some time with us here at Iowa.