The candidate, identified in the blog as “W,” sent the following email to search committee members at Nazareth College, in Rochester, N.Y., after receiving a tenure-track job offer in philosophy:
“As you know, I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to Nazareth. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier[:]
1) An increase of my starting salary to $65,000, which is more in line with what assistant professors in philosophy have been getting in the last few years.
2) An official semester of maternity leave.
3) A pre-tenure sabbatical at some point during the bottom half of my tenure clock.
4) No more than three new class preps per year for the first three years.
5) A start date of academic year 2015 so I can complete my postdoc.”
She ended the email by saying “I know that some of these might be easier to grant than others. Let me know what you think.”
In a reply, the search committee said it had reviewed the requests, as had the dean and vice president of academic affairs.
“It was determined that on the whole these provisions indicate an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college, like ours, that is both teaching and student centered,” the email continues. “Thus, the institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you.”
The search committee ended by thanking the candidate for her “interest" and wishing her “the best in finding a suitable position.”Here is the best explanation for why "W" may not have been on the best footing, where someone who is a professor at a small college notes that this e-mail may have been a sign that W had a poor understanding of the actual requirements of the job. I agree with Megan McArdle that e-mail was probably not the best way of attempting to negotiate, although it sure seems like to me that W was being more than flexible. A final caveat that I'm neither an academic nor a philosopher, so I don't really understand their culture well enough to say what is and is not the norm.
But I'd like sure like to know if there are any industrial chemists out there who have had a job offer pulled for being too strong on the negotiation. I've negotiated a little, but not enough to say that I'm really a champion at it, and I've not had a job offer retracted.* Has anyone else heard of this? I'd love to know.
*A couple of times, I wonder if when salary questions were asked during the interview, if I quoted a number that was too high. No job offer from either one of those interviews.