About this WebsiteSpousework.org has come about as the result of the rather unusual career path of one academic leader. In 1995, Robert A. Oden, Jr., who had been serving as the Headmaster of The Hotchkiss School, accepted appointment as the President of Kenyon College. While there were dramatic differences in Oden's responsibilities at these two institutions, his wife Teresa found herself dealing with familiar issues and concerns. The impact that the leader's career has on his or her family relates more strongly to the demands inherent in the leadership role itself than to the type of institution the leader serves.
The support networks that are available to partners of academic leaders have grown up as offshoots of regional and national organizations for the leaders. (For example, the Council of Independent Colleges has organized the Spousesí Task Force in connection with its Presidents' Institute, and the National Association of Independent Schools has a "Families First" program.) As a result, support networks are isolated from each other. A network that starts with the partners, rather than the leaders, allows partners at different types of institutions to discuss common concerns and learn from each other.
Many of the networking opportunities that currently exist depend on attendance at the annual meetings of leadership organizations. Time constraints often prevent both leaders and spouses from participating in these meetings. A network that is web-based offers easier access, and it also has the potential to foster smaller interest groups, such as one for men partnering women leaders.
The Spousework.org website is sponsored in part by proceeds from the sale of the book, Spousework: Partners Supporting Academic Leaders, by Teresa Johnston Oden.
About the AuthorTeresa Johnston Oden is a researcher and writer whose special interest is local history. Her husband's career as an academic leader introduced her to the complex and little-understood world of the leader's spouse. Oden lives with her husband in Hanover, New Hampshire.