There’s a new addition to the number of married couples serving on Butler University’s faculty and staff this year.
Bethanie Danko, wife of Butler President Jim Danko, will serve as a university relations associate, acting as a diplomat for the school, the same role as previous university president’s spouses.
Elaine Johnson, human resources director, said the Dankos are joining a lengthy list of an estimated 16 married couples and domestic partners currently serving as Butler faculty and staff.
“If we hire someone from another area and their partner has to leave their job because they have to move, then we do try to find ways to accommodate them on staff if we can,” Johnson said.
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jamie Comstock said the university views assisting families of faculty as a way to benefit their professional performance.
“We want to be supportive of families with their transitions, because if your home life is not settled, then you will be less settled in your work life,” Comstock said, whose husband works in the political science department.
Pharmacy Practice Professor Jeanne VanTyle said that when she and her husband Kent got married in 1982 after meeting as professors in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, there was resistance from fellow faculty members.
“We talked to the dean, because at the time schools resisted hiring couples so it would not seem nepotistic,” VanTyle said.
Ron Caltabiano, dean of the Jordan College of Fine Arts, came to Butler this school year with his partner John Mugge, a multimedia coordinator.
Caltabiano said, “We did not want to make a move where one had to sacrifice a job, so it was a major attraction to be able to both come in with positions.”
Though not a part of his contract, Caltabiano said the opportunity for his partner to find work was huge in deciding to move.
“If the only place he would be able to work was at McDonald’s, then it would not have worked,” he said.
Caltabiano said he thinks Butler’s acceptance of hiring couples makes campus seem like more of a community.
“Butler is an enormous family,” Caltabiano said. “I have felt like part of a family since everyone knows me and my husband.”
-Additional reporting by Grace Wallace