Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Chemistry Bumper Cars

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  1. Out of curiosity, what are the career implications for failing to get tenure at a top tier institution?

    I imagine there is no road back to the limelight. I also imagine it is difficult to recruit students that are "in the know" about your situation.

    With all the resources available to a new lab at a top tier R1 I would be quite hesitant to work for someone that failed there. Few bigger red flags can be imagined, for me.

    1. People in top tier institutions that get denied tenure often end up in top tier institutions (just slightly lower in the rankings).

      Most of them end up having really successful research program elsewhere.
      Some may go as teaching professors in other institutions.
      Some may end up in the industry doing successful corporate research.

      You must be mistaking being denied tenure for failure. Failure is on you. Being denied tenure depends of many factors: teaching, service, funding, students, your field of research, butting heads with faculty or dean, or "fit" whatever that means.

      Few bigger red flags can be imagined for someone who thinks like the OP; fortunately, it's anonymous.

    2. Failure to be granted tenure is most definitely a failure, tautologically.

      The factors you mentioned are of material consequence to prospective students and the results of the tenure decision are an indirect (but very strong) indication of those factors.

      Moving from a top 10 institution to a maybe top 100 is no small fall. It doesn't seem to happen very often. I would strongly advise anyone I know to avoid working for a PI in that position if possible.

    3. This thread has reached the end of its productive life.

  2. I recall a "Meet the Speaker" discussion in grad school where a well-known PI explained his reasons for moving departments. He had started his career at a department known for frequently denying tenure, and this motivated him to job-hunt. He was granted tenure, but ended up getting a better offer elsewhere and moving his group. Both departments were in the top 25 or so, and the PI involved is a famous bigshot with a highly successful career.

    1. I had the same experience speaking with a PI and had a couple of meetings with different PIs in top-50 schools that were denied tenure in top-10 departments that now have research and groups bigger and better funded than the average group at the current institution. It goes without saying that it's not the norm, but it's not the exception as well.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20