Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ivory Filter Flask: 4/18/17 edition

A few of the academic positions recently posted at C&EN Jobs:

Marquette, MI: Northern Michigan University is looking for a organic/general chemistry instructor. 

Biggest little postdoc in the world: The University of Nevada - Reno is searching for a teaching postdoc. 

Newark, DE: The University of Delaware is searching for a senior laboratory technician; duties include "preparing solutions, analyses and experiments for General, Biochemical, and Organic laboratory courses."

Manhattan, KS: Kansas State is looking for an "Assistant Professor in Grain Processing." Huh. 


  1. No doubt this has been covered, but what is the difference between a 'teaching postdoc' and a 'visiting assistant professor'? I assume both are poorly paid positions with no job security of benefits. Does the VAP has more 'prestige' than a TPD? Sort of like how the Corrolla S is was better than a standard Corrolla?

  2. Both usually have full 'benefits' - comparable to TT faculty.
    Both are usually fixed-term contracts, and thus subject to the contract and employment law of the state, but def. more secure than adjuncts.

    Prestige: YMMV. Depends on institution (VAP) nd fellowship (Postdoc)

  3. "Assistant Professor in Grain Processing" - Whiskey/Whisky/Bourbon, perhaps?

  4. When I was doing a PhD, there was someone who joined the lab of the department head next door as a teaching postdoc. This was a well funded group with lots of students and normal postdocs, and I asked her about the position. She said that she wanted to be a faculty member in a liberal arts, small school, and that the teaching postdoc means she teaches one class every semester and that's really good for her resume. Her boss still expects her to do research and get one paper during her 1.5 years there, and she has access to all the equipment, but he knows that her focus is on teaching and that she's not going to be focused on research if she does get her dream job.

    So, she got that job, and I assume that that is what a teaching postdoc is. It's a step up to that type of faculty position at a small school and probably you don't get one if you're too far beyond your PhD defense date.

    VAP is more dead-end I guess, and probably the date beyond your PhD is not that limited. Anyways, this was discussed on this blog in detail and I got into enough arguments over it (that I might have lost...) At least we can all agree that Adjunct is definitely one of the lower circles of hell though.

  5. Just to clarify, VAP is a fixed term with benefits, sometimes with possibility for becoming a TT position (although don't bet on it unless it is specifically advertised as such) and usually involves research only if the hire is interested in it. I'm at a SLAC where Visitors get paid ~80% of a TT position and have access to research supplies if they want it. Considering they are only getting paid for 9 months of teaching with no research or service responsibilities, that seems not too bad. I don't know how our pay rate compares with the average but I can say that the last 3 visitors in our department all went into TT positions elsewhere the next year, so I wouldn't call it a dead-end, as long as you aren't in visitor land for too long.


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