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 Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


CU Love Stories: Married Couples Enjoy Working Together at CU
by Linda Besen, Publications and Creative Services

It's Valentine's Day and love is in the air — especially at CU, since we have a few hundred married couples who are both employed here. Couples appreciate their situation and find it enriches their work life.

"We have a clearer sense of what each other's work life is all about," said Claudia Van Gerven, senior instructor in the Honors Program, whose husband Dennis Van Gerven is a professor of anthropology. "We really understand each other's work environment because we share it."

"I would recommend the experience if the relationship is loving, trusting, and can be absolutely professional when necessary," said Dennis. "The best part is seeing my best friend every day." The Van Gervens have worked together at CU for over 20 years.

Angela Bryan and her husband Kent Hutchison met at CU as assistant professors in the psychology department. Said Bryan, "We both had our own research interests, labs and programs long before we met. We began collaborating personally and professionally about six years ago. Now when we talk about work we completely understand each other's perspective. As long as you're not in an arrangement where you see so much of your spouse that you get sick of them (and we're not), I think it is the best possible situation."

Are there problems working at the same institution? Peter Simons, coordinator of the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement, and his wife Gayle Lalich, a counselor in the Office of Financial Aid, have been working together for about five years. Simons said, "If a couple has a solid relationship, then both working on campus shouldn't create problems. After all, the university is a very large institution with lots of room for each member of the couple to have their own 'space.'"

Couples notice a particular benefit in times of stress. Claudia Van Gerven said, "When I'm in crisis mode, it's nice to be able to turn to someone who has known me for 40 years for consolation and advice."

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