Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 309 research/teaching positions and 58 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 309 research/teaching positions and 58 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On March 17, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 551 research/teaching positions and 74 teaching faculty positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? This is the sixth open thread. 

179 comments:

  1. Okay let me start this new thread. Any news from Georgia Tech ?

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  2. Is it common to have a request of a letter from one of your references after the second-round interview ? Did anyone experience that ?

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    1. I had this experience at one place. Didn't seem like an issue.

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    2. Yes, some places don't ask for letters until after interviews (including my institute). Realistically, I think that is the better way to do it, even though it isn't the standard for chemistry at present.

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  3. Someone mentioned in the previous post that Northeastern is scheduling on sites. Is that for the analytical chemistry search?

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    1. No it was an open one highlighting few research fields. I applied under natural and designed chemicals and materials.

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  4. Has anyone heard back about the experimental physical chemistry position at UBC after the preliminary interview?

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  5. Is the theo/comp chem position at North Texas still alive?

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    1. I am wondering too. Asked for recommendation letters long ago.

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  6. Has anyone heard back from University of North Dakota?

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    1. Not yet for me

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    2. They were doing a second Round on February

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  7. During an interview some faculty members told me: "What other interviews do you have?", "How can we bring you here?", "Don't go to other places, here is better". How often does this happen and how should I interpret it?

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    1. this always happens and you should not read too much into it. You're certainly in the conversation but at the end of the day, there are more candidates than positions; you have no way of knowing how the department will compare you to other candidates so it's really not worth the mental energy if you can at all resist.

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    2. It is reasonable that they want to attractive to all candidates they are interviewing, just like us applicants try to do our best for each interview.

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    3. I think that it depends on the institution: saying those things and not ending up in an offer can mine the credibility of the institution (and R1 institutions typically are careful on this). Any experiences on R1 institutions that people can share?

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    4. It is a sign of insecurity. A candidate with other offers can seem more desirable, but it takes months to do interviewers, and pick someone. Then, if you offer someone with another offer it becomes a huge waiting/ negotiating game. They would rather pick a candidate as excited about their school as they are about all the top choice candidates.

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  8. Does anybody know if Notre Dame has made any offers for the 3 searches they had this year?

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    1. They are doing in-person second round interviews.

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  9. If no message after 2-3 weeks from the moment of screen interview, one should move on? What else can one do in this situation?

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    1. You could write them and ask for a status update. If they moved to schedule "on-site" interviews already, and it is known, they won't tell you much because you are still in the pool (the 2nd choice), in case the faculty cannot reach a decision, the dean doesn't make an offer, or all interviewed candidates refuse the offer. It's extremely unlikely you will be put back into play, as most searches would likely cancel and try again next year. But it is not unheard of.

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    2. Thank you for the reply.

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  10. For those who got offers, did they give before you physically visiting them?

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    1. yes. The physical visit came after the offer

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  11. Someone in the 5th thread was asking about TAMU-CC and U of New Haven. Both are scheduling screening interviews. U of New Haven changed the search from 2 TT positions (organic-green and physical-materials) to 1 TT position and 1 non-TT position with not field restriction.

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  12. Suppose you have an offer from a R1 university, you have to accept because your current postdoc advisor cannot keep you for one more year, but you do not like the idea of starting an assistant professorship in that R1 university: how common is to apply for a new position after you are in the new place? (within 1-2 years) How is it perceived by the community?

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    1. This is a very similar question to February 18, 2021 at 2:40 PM. The consensus was don't do it. The community is small and everybody knows what is going on. A bad reputation is much more harmful than a suboptimal startup package.

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    2. R1 positions are hard to come by. I think in general the calculus should be: does this place have the resources and support for me to be successful, or not? If it does then you can take a shot at being successful and potentially move in ~5 years. If it doesn't, there's no point wasting the time, energy, and money in accepting that position when you can't be happy/successful there and it could check those boxes for somebody else. Up to you if you want to try to move in 1-2 years. Not impossible but will certainly be received poorly by your home department (and potentially other departments), not to mention if you have limited resources at this R1 it may be difficult to get enough done to be attractive enough to move. There are hardly perfect decisions in this process. Good luck!

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    3. I'd imagine chemistry bumper cars for the past few years could give you a pretty good idea how much movement actually happens.

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    4. Since we are talking about this subject, it would be great for someone who has multiple offers in hand to consider to release the offer that you no longer considered. The fact is that someone may just try to apply for a job and other's family support depends on the job opportunity. Since the first day, my postdoc advisor said that life is unfair. I do not expect someone could make other people's life easier, do not make it harder. Claimer: I am not specifically talking about anyone, just in general.

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    5. Re 10:18am: A friend had an offer at a top R1 rescinded last year before signing because of COVID, so while I understand the sentiment of being fair to others by not holding onto offers that one does not intend to accept, my advice would be to look out for yourself first and not turn down offers you would plausibly accept until you've signed on the dotted line.

      That said, if you hate a school and would not take an offer there under any circumstances even if it were your only option, it would be a good idea to turn it down as quickly as possible so they can move to their next choice.

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    6. I saw one person move after 1-2 years on Bumpercars a few years ago. Forget who it was. It was odd, and I talked about it with friends, but have not followed up to see what has happened with that person. So obviously it is possible.

      @11:42 Perhaps your offer is not ideal, but maybe try to make the best of it and see what happens? Maybe you'll like it in a few years. You're going to be busy, so focus your energy there and on the positive aspects. Despite the fact that it can be done, I'd probably still discourage you from doing it unless it's really intolerable. There's another shuffling opportunity around tenure time if you're successful. Good luck! I hope you can make the best of it!

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  13. Anybody know if the full site interview by Clarkson (Chem Eng) has begun?

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  14. Anybody hear from Virginia Tech yet?

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    1. Candidates selected and virtual interviews being scheduled.

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    2. Is it the organic position?

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  15. Anybody happen to know the current status of the Texas Tech search? Seemed like maybe some confusion in the last thread.

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    1. I got ghosted after my interview for the pchem search

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    2. ^ Same. I'm sure they're not alone, but def not running a transparent search over there.

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    3. In case anyone is seriously considering Texas Tech, they don't provide health insurance for graduate students, which is seriously messed up. Texas also didn't expand Medicaid so it's likely many grad students are uninsured.

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    4. And the starting salary of assistant professors at Texas Tech is extremely low.

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    5. Somebody announced they accepted a position at TTU on twitter (not the pchem search). Still haven't gotten any update from the dept. Rejections via twitter are always fun!

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    6. Its a state school so they have to wait for the final final offer and start-up package to be signed before they can decline the other candidates.

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  16. Has anyone heard from the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, MN beyond a preliminary interview?
    *I realize this one-year position (with the possibility of conversion to tenure track) wasn't listed on this site so please delete if not allowed*

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  17. When a search committee has come up with the name of the winner, is this decision communicated directly to the candidate or has the department to vote first?

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    1. Every dept has their own procedure, but I would think that it's extremely unlikely a search committee will tell a candidate anything before a full faculty vote. There are so many ways for that to go poorly. Some universities even need approval from some HR-type departments after the faculty vote before they contact the candidate for an offer

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  18. How common is in R1 universities that if the winner does not accept the position is offered to the second best candidate (if this person is considered as suitable)?

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    1. This depends entirely on the department. Some have a "only the top candidate is good enough for us" mentality and will not make second offers. Some (hopefully most) hold initial votes on which candidates pass the bar for hirability and then will do some sort of ranking in order to potentially make second/third/whatever offers if needed. I would say anecdotally the chances of a dept making second offers decreases as you increase in the rankings.

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  19. Any news from Syracuse university ?

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    1. They had a 15min interview about 2 weeks ago. No news yet after that.

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    2. are you referring to the Functional Materials position?

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    3. or is it for Comp chem position? (which had a deadline of 15th March).

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    4. Sorry for confusion. The 15min interview I mentioned was the Functional Materials position

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    5. Applicants for Comp chem position have been notified.

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  20. Any news from southwestern university and University of Arlington?

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    1. NO News for me.

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    2. Someone mentioned back on February that the search was finished. They did not mention if an offer was made.

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  21. Rejections rec'd from Texas A&M and Baylor Medicine

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  22. Any news from Rochester Institute of Technology?

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    1. I am waiting on this one too.
      They said they were trying to be as fast as they could. And they had a very regimented format.

      I guess ghosting-after-interviews (seems the norm anyway, for this cycle), it's what happens.

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    2. Thanks! Unfortunately ghosting is all too common.

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    3. Unfortunately ghosting is the norm every cycle

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    4. RIT sent out rejection letters just now.

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  23. SUNY Cortland are scheduling screening interviews for the Diversity Faculty Fellow hire.

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  24. Fairleigh Dickinson scheduling virtual "on-sites"

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  25. In the fifth thread someone asked about Materials Science at Berkeley, but none replied. Did anybody know what has happened with that position? I know many chemists that applied for it. Thanks!

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  26. is anyone experiencing issues negotiating on a start up package this year? I was given what I believe to be a low ball of an offer, but the department chair is resisting any increases in response to "covid-related budget restrictions." Are other people dealing with similar issues in their searches?

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    1. Yes, I had the exact same issue from a small-ish R1 school. There seemed to be no wiggle room to negotiate and the offer was much lower than what I know people got other years.

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    2. My unsolicited advice is that if the offer is enough for you to do the research you want and you like the school, you should take it, even if it is less than what others got in the past. However, if you can't do your research with their offer, then you shouldn't take it because how can you get tenure without the necessary equipment for your work?

      How much you are offered relative to what people got in the past isn't the relevant question, though it sucks to think you're getting less only because of the misfortune of applying in a pandemic.

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    3. I would keep in mind that this is really your only chance to negotiate.

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  27. Any news from Towson University, Uni of Wisconsin and Marian University?

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    1. Towson is having Zoom interviews this week and next week

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    2. Towson will be conducting virtual interviews next week. (Faculty at TU)

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  28. Received form rejection from USC

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  29. Anyone knows the status of the position at the U. of North Florida? (Biochemistry Position)

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    1. Was it a failed research? Never heard from them but the job posting is still up.

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  30. Anyone knows the status of the position at the U. of South Florida?

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    1. Haven't heard anything since applying in October 2020.

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    2. first round offers went out a month ago or more. not have heard anything since then.

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  31. Do you think it is a good idea to accept an offer and still continue interviewing (in the current academic year) to hopefully get to a better university ? This situation is different than the previously discussed one!

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    1. Absolutely not. Do NOT do this.

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    2. So, what is the best course of action if you got an offer but you are still waiting for other interviews (that you might not get through) ?

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    3. If you got an offer and you are waiting to hear from other places you interviewed at say that you need some time to evaluate the offer. Buy some time by visiting the place, town, department before committing. Once you accept an offer, you should formally withdraw from the other places you are being interviewed at.

      Most places will understand that you are waiting on other answers, but most places will not keep an offer forever.
      Unless you want to get on everyone's s**t-list, including your future colleagues and fellow candidates, do not accept and continue interviewing, free up the space for someone else. Positions have been cancelled for reasons like this. And do not forget that people talk, a lot. You may think you got a better position in the end, but most of the people you wronged (the department you accepted your first offer-then said bye-bye; other top candidates for that position; their friends, PIs, and collaborators) will be out to get you. It takes only one nasty reviewer to get a paper flunked, or a grant proposal shredded to smithereens.

      Yes, it's a brutal game, and it's unfair. Let's not make it even more brutal or unfair by playing dirty. It will, most surely, come back to bite you hard.

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    4. I'm in the same boat (Offer has been issued, some searches are pending and new ones are being posted).

      I know that I could be happy and successful at the place where I have an offer. That informs my approach: I am negotiating with them (not necessarily super speedily, but not overtly delaying) and being transparent that I have several searches ongoing that I would be willing to entertain. Some of those searches are likely to conclude during the time frame of my negotiation, if I hear back, then that is great. But I am now at the point where I have decided not to enter into any new searches - I know I will have to provide a response to this first offer before I would hear back from any additional jobs. And that's just something I am at peace with, probably because I am focusing on the fact that I could be both quite happy and quite successful with what I have in hand.

      I understand the desire to want a more and more competitive position. However there will always be a position that is more competitive than the one you secure (barring a single exception, I suppose). I think it's more productive to think about whether you have enough to succeed as is. It's just a starting point, and a career is long and unpredictable. If you find in a few years that you would like to move and you are willing to work hard for it, then it is likely that you will have that option.

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    5. It depends on what you can get away with. It's a jungle out there. Employers have no compunction on going back on offers and promises if it suits them, and employees should feel no compuntion or obligation to their employers. Especially in a time of pandemic, where the budget will be used as an excuse to offer even smaller starting salaries that usual. If you think it won't come back to you, by all means jump ship!

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    6. I was in the same boat a few years ago. I had interviews scheduled across 3 months and my first interview of the batch came back with an offer within a month after the interview. Needless to say, I haven't even gone to the other 2 interviews yet. I ended up asking for an extension for the deadline to accept the offer as I would like to visit at least one other university, in order to be confident and happy with my ultimate decision. The first university was okay with that (esp. since the other interviews were at similar tier schools, which I communicated) and gave me another month to accept the job. Guess what? They put the revised deadline one the same day as my last interview. I found out later that they did it on purpose because they knew the other two places I was interview (yeah, I forgot people talk!).

      It was certainly a delicate situation as I certainly didn't want to be the a$$hole coworker right off the bat, but the fact that the university that offered me a position was willing to work with me throughout the process actually really reaffirmed to me the quality of the admin/university.

      FYI: I accepted the job offer after I went to the second interview, but took myself out of the running for the 3rd.

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  32. Any news from UT Dallas Materials Science position?

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    1. A couple weeks ago, I was asked to upload a 5 min video presentation about my proposed research, but I have not heard anything since.

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    2. Thanks, I guess i didn't make the initial screening then:( All the best to you!

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    3. I also know they reviewed application on a rolling basis, a friend submitted an application very early and was asked to upload a video two months ago, before the general app deadline. If you submitted at the deadline it is possible that they haven't gotten to all of them yet, but I have no insider information.

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  33. Anyone heard back from University of Arkansas after the first round of interview?

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    1. University of Arkansas (analytical position at Fayetteville) is already conducting full interviews.

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  34. I haven't received any R1 second interview invitation yet, preparing to apply again (Chemistry). Can anyone describe/comment on how is "proposal defense talk" (aka "chalk talk") and how one should prepare for it?

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    1. I used ppt slides and designed those to have blank areas to allow for me to write (I used a touch-screen laptop). Also I incorporated many interactive activities!

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    2. Thanks. I am interested in knowing conceptually. Like, do you defend all the three ideas (projects)? For each project, how detail you explain? Do you explain all the AIMs in project_1 and then mention/explain how you are going to approach those AIMs? How much technically you have to describe the "approach"? Or do you just focus on the big picture and the fundamental questions, you will be asking?

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    3. @12:51PM It's all about getting the ideas across. By an audience who might be totally out of your field. In people's practice talks, I've seen all kinds of formats: all projects all aims, one aim each project, one project all aims + other projects one aim, etc. For me, I spent ~15 min describing the problem, acknowledging existing knowledge, pointing out the knowledge gaps, and explaining how my approach is unique. Then I spent ~25 min on project 1, ~5 min on project 2, ~2 min on project 3. The extra time is for interuptions (they always fill the extra time).

      In my personal experience of preparing for the chalk talk, here are a few things that I think helped:
      1) get as much practice as possible. ask friends, collegues, faculty members. definitely faculty members, they know what's going on, and many of them want to help.
      2) start with lots of preparation, then strip it down to a single story line. for every few sentences I say, I ask myself – do I have to mention this? am I saying this because I *could* do this, or because it *would be nice* to do this, or because I *should* do this?
      3) not a lot of technical details, but for the few technical details I do mention, I make sure that I cover "how", "why", "why here", "why me"
      4) believe in your ideas! when I started preparing I felt so stressed, but one faculty told me this: everybody in the audience know even the greatest ideas may fail. that's ok. part of your future job is to have ideas that fail. what they want to see is that you have thought about it enough that you can convince them that you are the best person to give it a try.

      Good luck!

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    4. @4.53 pm, Thanks. That's very helpful.

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  35. How large is the overhead at your university?

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    1. If you're interested in comparing other institutions, this information is usually easy to find via Google. Harvard is 69%, for example: https://research.fas.harvard.edu/indirect-costs-0

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  36. When one gets rejected after an on-site interview, is it possible to ask the reasons behind the choice and/or some feedback to improve?

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    1. You can always ask. I think typically if you were judged to be hire-able you're going to get a lame answer like "it's so hard to make these decisions and we went with what fit for us right now" and if you were judged to be below the hire-able bar for them then you'll probably get no response. I'm of the opinion though that you might as well ask and who knows, maybe you found a search chair who is willing to actually be helpful.

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    2. I did that and found it helpful. They are typically very honest. I was told that my project is too risky to them. They prefer hiring someone who proposes clearer and safer direction.

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  37. I know this may sound as a strange question but it's just to understand how fair the decision process in a faculty search is. When a department chair writes an email with some information on faculty decisions, can the written information contain lies or would this constitute a code violation (and all chairs are very careful about what they write)? In other words: have you ever discovered cases in which department chairs have lied to candidates in written emails?

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    1. I’m going to agree with you that this is a very weird question.

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    2. I would suggest you to let it go. It would not change outcome. If someone indeed lied, that is an integrity issue and I guess you would not want to stay there anyway.

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    3. A PI that is 100% honest with people is about as common as a goose that lays golden eggs. Remember in academia PI's very often lie/BS with impunity, especially within their own research group. HR/admin generally protect faculty unless they repeatedly break the law. I would treat the situation like you would if someone were, say, selling you life insurance. There will always be pleasantries and generally everything will sound nice and fluffy, but all that matters in the end is the contract (if you get one offered) and what is says.

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  38. The last Georgia Tech ad (chair in inorganic + organic materials) was posted in error, and has been removed.

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  39. Has anybody heard from UTEP (Human Disease, and Diagnostics) position?

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  40. Any news from University of Akron (P chem), U Mass (Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology)?

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    1. UMass has started their screening interviews back in January, although the deadline was in March. They have already screened 20-25 candidates. I work in the same department, so I know. Although the department is Biochemistry and Molecular pharmacology, they are mostly screening cell biology/ gene therapy candidates.

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    2. Why the department did not move to full on-site interview since January?

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    3. I think till now they didn't find preferred candidates. Every week they are screening 3-4 candidates.

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  41. Does anybody know if the positions in Materials Science at Berkeley, MIT, UPenn, and North Carolina State University have been assigned this year? Or are they likely to be re-opened the next year?

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  42. Does anybody know when the next round of interviews will be scheduled for the Syracuse Comp Chem position?

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  43. It's been 4 weeks since the last candidate did the full interview. (5 weeks since mine) No words yet. is it safe to assume I didn't get it?

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    1. I have a similar situation, but even longer time. I know I am not the No.1 pick.

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    2. you can ask for an update, but it seems most likely that you were not selected.

      if you were the first pick, then the department will be working really hard to recruit you as the exercise quickly transitions from "we are interviewing you" to "we would like to attract you"

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  44. How long do people typically get for consideration/negotiation? In another word, how long do you typically wait as the 2nd or 3rs choice?

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    1. There's a lot of variability from place to place and from candidate to candidate. Whenever $$$ is concerned, there's always a possibility that the chair or department head has to negotiate with the dean, the dean with the provost, etc, and some institutions work faster than others. We usually give a candidate a week or two to consider the offer, then begin negotiations, which could take a couple of days or another week or more, depending on if the candidate is trying to buy themselves extra time to wait out other offers. Same goes for the next candidates in line, assuming that we decide to move on to other candidates. It's not uncommon to lose the first candidate (or a close runner-up) and simply declare a failed search. There's no rule that says we have to move down the candidate list until someone accepts a job.

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    2. @6:14-8:10 Typically, after the candidates come in, interviewees are ranked and go to the whole faculty who then dicker and decide (1 wk - 1 month). The department head then sends an offer to the first choice(s) with a second visit, negotiation, pushing back of decision deadline, etc. Because it's a courtship, everyone will be flexible, but the offer won't draw out for forever (2 wks - 2 months). So if you 4-5 weeks out, I'd say ask the chair and see what they say. GL!

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  45. Any news from Northestern University after virtual on-site interviews?

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    1. Do you mean Northwestern, or Northeastern? There is one letter missing there and it seems to be an important one.

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    2. I meant Northeastern, not Northwestern.

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  46. Any news from the University of Sherbrooke position(s)?

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    1. Top candidate notified for the Chem Assist Prof position.

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  47. Any news about the physical chemistry position at the University of Akron?

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  48. I have a non-job question that I want to ask here because this is the best anonymous discussion thread I know of with future faculty and postdocs who are finishing up. CJ, if you want to remove this as irrelevant, I guess that's ok.

    **Intentionally vague** I proposed a research project/direction to my (at the time) future postdoc PI when I was preparing to start my postdoc. My PI talked about how much they loved the idea. However, once I arrived, they put me on dead end pet projects and I was never allowed to work on the idea, though my PI occasionally reminded me that they liked it. It felt like a bait and switch then, but I pushed on. When I was applying for faculty positions, I used this idea as one of my proposals because I had given up hope that I would ever be able to work on it during my postdoc. About 6 months ago, my PI apparently began researching my idea even more and found some literature that showed that doing a certain, specific strategy for my proposal was incredibly promising (I admit that I missed these papers when I was researching it). They shared that with me a few months later and said I would work on it “in the future.” I’m now 2-3 months from leaving for my independent faculty position and they want me to work on establishing preliminary results for this project to determine if it is viable because they really want to work on it and another graduate student could pick it up from there. To be fair, they very recently asked me if they could work on this, but a) there’s such a big power differential AND b) I’m going to an institution at which that the full investigation of this (to the depth it deserves) may not be possible. Then, just now, they told the lab “golden child” to work on getting the preliminary results with me and then carry any good hits further to publication. I also found out that it seems my PI has been showing potential incoming graduate students for the Fall this project as an example of a potential project before they discussed it with me.

    I feel like I’m getting screwed on this. I’m not pretending that I own entire chunks of the potential scientific space to explore or that I was the only person to ever think of this. I’m also not pretending that the literature my PI found was not significant, since it gives a specific and key path forward and potentially expedites the process. I also know that I may not be able to carry it out very well with the personnel I’m going to have in my independent career. I’m just upset that they waited all this time and never had me work on it and it feels like they pulled the rug out from under me to give the project away to their favorite grad student. It might not go anywhere (as is research), but if I’m 3rd author on a Science/Nature paper that I proposed and wanted to work on for years…I’m pretty sure that’s like your child being forcibly given up for adoption. I also know (without a shadow of a doubt) that the golden child will run around pretending that they came up with the idea at potential conferences/job talks and it makes me sick. Am I overreacting?

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    1. While your experience does not sound fun and is probably very common, I suggest you do everything you can to help you hit the ground running in your independent lab. I'm not sure why you seem to think you can't do this type of work at your new lab, but if you are not going to a PUI and you will have grads and postdocs also, you probably can---if there's a will, there's a way!

      Also, this "project idea" aside, remember you already have a position, and obtaining and transitioning to independence is "part of the job" as a a trainee. Spend your remaining time focusing on proposals, planning your budget expenses, maybe even start a lab website. You are going to be completely overwhelmed when you start in your own position, might as well do everything you can now to help you get off to the best start possible. You only have a few months left in your current position, and your next position seems to be securely locked in, congrats!

      Especially given your feelings about your current lab, you should feel no remorse in focusing on your own future and doing the bare minimum possible to get by. You're initial "gut feeling" was correct the whole time, as it usually tends to be. If they didn't want you to seriously work on it while you were in their lab, that's their problem. You can't always have your cake and it too. Just work on things that can help you in the next step. Get preliminary results for your next lab. Hell, make it seem like the "idea" is too hard or isn't going anywhere after all, who cares you're on to greener pastures and they're apparently trying to play you like a fiddle, so play them like a fiddle! Doesn't seem like your group deserves your serious commitment at this point anyways. At the end of the day, you're in this for yourself, not for anyone else. Do what's best for you. Loyalty begets loyalty, but blatant dishonesty/disrespect begets the same.

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  49. This might not be helpful to the OP at this point, but here are some thoughts that might be of use to someone else in this community:

    1) I'm a firm believer that the majority of us will have only a handful of really interesting ideas during our careers and that it's best to reserve them for ourselves if we ever plan on doing the work. I'd be interested to know the reason why you presented the idea to your PI in the first place. Did they ask, or did you volunteer? If the former, that just seems like a lazy way for the PI to lift ideas from individuals in subordinate positions. If the latter, were you trying to impress the PI or just suggesting an avenue for research?

    2) Unless you were self-funded, I don't think that you should expect to have much bandwidth to pursue your own lines of research. Assuming the PI supports you on a grant, there's a contractual obligation to work on the funded project. Depending on the commitment to the funding agency, it might actually be unethical to work on side projects while being funded for something else.

    3) I may be assuming too much, but it sounds like your research idea originated during your PhD work. If that idea in turn resonated with your postdoc advisor, is it safe to assume that your postdoc and PhD research areas were closely-related? The situation you've described is one of the reasons why PhD students are often encouraged to move into a different area research for their postdoc studies. That way, the postdoc period puts some distance between you and your PhD advisor, but you're not setting yourself up to be in direct competition with your postdoc advisor.

    4) It seems like the ideas that most faculty present during their job talks (myself included) end up on the cutting room floor within the first few years anyways. Things usually don't go how we expect them to in the beginning, and our research directions really take shape only when we start doing the work, experiencing failure, and pivoting to more productive lines of inquiry. It probably isn't worth dwelling on "what might have been", when what might have been might never have worked.

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    1. OP here; I just wanted to clarify a couple of your points (without getting too specific) in case someone else can learn from this.

      1) My PI asked me to come up with a research project/direction to work on when I joined the lab that fit the general framework on things the lab does. Since I assumed I would be working on it, I naturally gave it my best shot. I like the area my PI works in (hence why I joined the lab), so I was able to generate an idea that I liked as well that fit this general framework.

      2) This is why I was surprised when I was assigned to a different project when I arrived. I understand funding source obligation, which is why I was careful to build a project/direction that was possible to fit under a general funding umbrella.

      3) My idea was not generated in my PhD, since I conceived it for my postdoc. Obviously, there is some overlap (I didn't completely switch fields to something drastically different), but this certainly isn't competition with my PhD advisor. It is competitive with my postdoc advisor, by nature of the fact that I proposed it ad hoc when joining the lab.

      4) I keep telling myself that "this might not work anyway," but suppositional projections like this don't help if the project actually works and you're left with nothing but retroactive analysis of how you became a insignificant author on a significant paper that you conceived. Obviously, not every project will work, but some will and that's why I don't like the idea of giving "good" ones away so easily.

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    2. Do you not have a job offer in hand? Count yourself lucky. You obtained the job everyone visiting this blog wants. You obtained your dream job in a pandemic. You can start your independent career this year and no longer worry about a paper, person, place or an idea not giving you your "due". That will now be in your control. It seems awfully short-sighted to be worrying about whether or not you will have a first author paper on a hypothetical project when you're about to be so incredibly busy setting up your own lab and trying to make a name for yourself. You also won't likely be doing what your postdoc adv was doing in your new lab anyways. If you truly think this idea is the only quality thing you will ever come up with, then how did you get a job this year? It is time to gain perspective and move on.

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  50. Is it possible to do serious research in PUI ? What grants can I apply for there ?

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    1. Sure, for example ACS PRF ($55k for two years).

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    2. Absolutely. The timeline is often longer and the research is less consistent (usually big amounts in the summer, less while teaching). The amount of research varies at PUIs but there's definitely plenty that have professors who do serious research. It's not on the scale of an R1 but it can absolutely be comparable quality!

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    3. Sometimes, I am really confused with the definition of R1, R2. Some R2 is a really good/great research institution, and some R1 is never heard of.

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  51. From my experience, it is possible to do "serious" research and publish in respectable journals, but it depends on the instrumentation and facilities available, your teaching and service workload, and your area of research. There aren't many hours in the day remaining for research and grantwriting if you are teaching 4 or 5 courses each semester and contributing to the shared governance of the institution. There are some departments, however, that encourage research by offering reduced teaching loads to individuals who publish papers and submit grant proposals. Faculty in my department, for example, can get a 2:2 teaching load (i.e. two courses per semester) by maintaining a certain level of research productivity, and faculty whose research interests have tapered off pick up more classes to teach.
    My research group works on only a couple of active projects at a time so that we can maintain focus on specific project goals. I think our papers are quite good and I can vouch for the quality of the science because I've personally overseen every stage of the projects. However, our publications take longer to finalize and there are naturally going to be fewer of them (compared to R1 faculty) because we work on fewer projects at any given time. The same outcome is true for funding; my colleagues and I submit proposals to NSF, DOE, DOD, etc. Our proposals are reviewed at the same time as those from R1 faculty and are subject to the same scrutiny (I'd actually argue that there is actually a slight bias against PUIs that manifests itself in reviews). Unlike R1 faculty, it is extremely rare for my colleagues or me to have more than one major active grant at a time, simply because our workloads are so much different.
    Do you have any details about the PUI you're interested in? Knowing something about teaching load, department assets, and your area of research might help us give you a better answer.

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    1. I fully agree. We do serious research but it takes longer to complete a project because teaching consumes a lot of our time. Faculty in my department have received ACS PRF and NSF career awards before.

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    2. Thanks both for your replies. I have a better idea now.

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  52. If a candidate is ranked second in an interview and the department is waiting to hear from the other candidate ranked first, what does the chair say to the second candidate? Is there any notification at all?

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    1. Usually, nothing. Which is unfortunate. I was told my one dept chair in the past via phone call that I was second and they told me how long they have given the first choice to decide. I would be aware though that some depts (not sure how common this is) will re-vote if the first choice declines. In my case, I got an identical call that I was second again. I would say in general though it is way more common to hear nothing. Good luck!

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    2. If you got an offer, and notice the department in which you rank the second or third, does that help to accelerate their decision on their first choice?

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    3. I think it's fair to notify the dept that you have an offer that you will need to decide on shortly, as long as it is true of course. I don't think it will accelerate the deadline they have given their candidate - if they wanted you that badly they probably would have voted you the first candidate. It may affect how lenient they are with their first choice trying to extend the deadline though, so depending on how long you have to decide on your first offer it can be worth doing.

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  53. What is the protocol on following up on applications? I submitted several apps Feb-April which state they want to hire someone for Sept 2021. In the past I have always been told to follow-up on job applications, but I understand that the academic faculty process is a completely different situation. Has anyone followed up on an application? Has it paid off? Note I am talking about reaching out without any sort of interaction. I haven't gotten a call/email, nothing.

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    1. My experience is that you basically can do nothing about it. You can ask search committee chair, department chair, secretary. However, you would get no response or template response. Put your feet in their position: the department is only interested in recruiting people that they consider a match. The best you can do is to write an impressive application package. After that, you are basically waiting for a response or no response at all.

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  54. Received rejection from The College of New Jersey just now.

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  55. For a position in an R1 dept. of Chemistry, it has been 2 weeks since the last candidate's interview. Today I receive an update from the chair saying that the dept. could not meet up to discuss in the last 2 weeks, and that they will come back to me with the final decision in 3-4 weeks. Is it normal that it will take so long or should I read something into it?

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    1. You can read all the things you want. They don't like any of the candidates and are debating; the dean is thinking on it; they are reviewing their financials; or most likely, they all have lives, work and families that have been seriously impacted by a pandemic. Consider yourself lucky that you ended up to the very end of the race and being in a position where you are waiting for an answer. Seriously.

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  56. Any news from the p-chem position at Akron?

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  57. Rejection letters from UTArlington

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  58. Rejection letter received from University of Southern Mississippi School of polymer science and engineering.

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    1. Yes, this position has been filled and announced 2-3 weeks ago.

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    2. Where was it announced?

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    3. https://twitter.com/clemo_11/status/1376697690164187145
      https://twitter.com/USM_Polymers/status/1376730984951865346
      also, @Chembumpercars

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    4. Wow, you have a blue check mark, cool, got it.

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    5. What does a blue check mark have to do with anything? Genuinely confused as to what that means.

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    6. @4:40 on twitter it just means that the account has been verified, through means, that the account belongs to the person / organization it claims to be.

      @2:26 assumes, wrongly, that @1:24 is the person who got the position, and perhaps got resentful, by the look of it (but I am assuming: see what I did here?), because someone checks regularly the ChemBumperCars account.

      In fact, I am 11:46 and 2:26 and did not apply to USM-SPSE (and logically so did not get the position).

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    7. This thread has reached the end of its productive life. - CJ

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  59. I have been an assistant professor in an R1 university for 3 years. Some of my colleagues with the same years spent as assistant professors (in other universities) have recently told me they will go back to the job market to conclude the tenure-track elsewhere or for tenured positions. They say it is good practice to increase the chances of getting a better position or negotiate an increase in their funding at the current universities. How does the process work for these type of positions? I am now considering to do the same, but I am afraid that my current colleagues may "discover" this strategy and become resentful. Thank you for sharing any advice.

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    1. this is an interesting question. i myself have a follow up - is it a better time to look right before you go up for tenure or right after you get tenure? asking for a friend...

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    2. @747 I, too, am an assistant professor at an R1 university for some 3 years. I have never heard of anyone doing this and think it is an awful idea. I have had a lot of support from my peers getting up-and-running, with mentoring help, with COVID tenure extensions, and with collaborations. I am busy as hell getting all the grants and papers I need to get out this year for tenure. I cannot imagine spending my time putting an application package back together and then somehow managing to skip out of teaching for interviews, while hoping no one finds out. Who're are you having write your rec letters? What do you expect them to say?

      I seriously hope this comment is just a troll. What can you possibly hope to get out of this ploy except a lot of pissed off people? Either you're rocking it with grants/pubs and you don't need help. Or you're not rocking it and your department will give you help regardless of other offers. Or you can force their hand with this and make them either decide to toss you an extra 100k that you don't need to keep you (and make enemies, both at home and the place you're leading on) or decide you're a failure and not give you more grad students so you don't get tenure in three years? They dropped some fraction of a million bucks on you and your idea is to spend their money on preliminary results that buys you tenure somewhere else? You need to seriously reconsider your priorities as an assistant prof and stop listening to whatever dumb@%$! peer of ours is feeding you this &#!+ advice.

      @1001 I am working through some cognitive dissonance right now (apologies to 747 for unloading) as I do think that around tenure (either before or after) is a good time to do some shopping around. Presumably, you're going to GET tenure because of the grants you're bringing in and hence be attractive to other institutions. Apparently, one of the reasons we're underpaid compared to industry is our lack of willingness to move and negotiate better offers, so more of this would have the effect of driving professor salaries up. Some places salaries are completely independent of departments, so having your head get you a raise has no impact on them. And if some unrestricted money flowed your way to help get other project areas off the ground, that would be great.

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  60. @9.46 PM. I am 7.47 PM. Thank you for your answer, you have raised very good points. I want to clarify that my comment is not just a troll. I attach this link that may clarify why I got to the point of asking what I asked (after hearing of other assistant professors doing this):

    https://community.chronicle.com/news/416-the-professor-is-in-how-to-hop-from-one-tenure-track-job-to-another

    https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2018/11/07/three-mistakes-tenure-track-faculty-make-when-being-recruited-new-jobs-opinion

    I would like to hear some advice from people actually doing this, because I am as confused as the person who wrote at 9.46...but this is become a very popular strategy.

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    1. One of the best pieces of advice that I've ever been given is that the best time to look for a new job is while you are still employed. I disagree with the commenter at 9:46, simply because the situation they describe seems like a fantasy to me. If you work in a department that showers you with support and resources and is doing everything possible to help you achieve tenure, then by all means stay and repay loyalty with loyalty. But if, like many of us, you have genuine concerns about your department's commitment to you, there should be nothing keeping you from trying to improve your situation.

      The idea that you should be ashamed to "spend their money on preliminary results that buys you tenure somewhere else" is laughable. If you don't meet the department's criteria for tenure, they won't think twice about kicking you to the curb, regardless of how much money they gave you. Why should you feel any more duty-bound to them if they don't meet your expectations as colleagues? I don't consider myself a "dumb@%$! peer" for "feeding you this &#!+ advice". It's that kind of perverse indoctrination that makes it possible for departments to bully and intimidate junior faculty and perpetuate toxic department cultures.

      BTW, my advice is to begin the search before applying for tenure for two reasons. First, there will be more options open to you as an assistant professor. A lot of schools don't have the ability to convert an assistant professorship to an associate or full professorship at the time of hire, so there's a good chance you'd be hired on a probationary basis anyway. Second, a lot of schools have granted automatic extensions because of the pandemic, which could give you one extra year to look for that perfect job.

      Don't let the comments from 9:46 discourage you. You will actually find your application package MUCH easier to prepare because your research plans are now concrete and your teaching philosophy is based on experience rather than a bunch of pedagogical buzz words. Heck, throw in some examples of good teaching evaluations to strengthen your case and set you apart from some of the ABDs or postdocs. Don't lose sleep over taking time off work to interview and prepare your application, either. My guess is that you're on a 9 month contract, so unless you take all summer off, your institution is still getting a ton of free labor out of you.


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    2. I am 7.47 PM/12.39 AM. Thanks a lot, 12.25 PM, for your advice! What you said looks very reasonable to me. And yes, I am on a 9 month contract, so your analysis is correct. I have some questions for you:

      1) Is it a good idea to apply for other tenure-track jobs with no recommendation letters from my current institution or is it typically expected to have at least one?
      2) In case I got shortlisted, sometimes faculty candidates' names are made public in seminar ads. Would you suggest to contact the institutions to ask for hiding my name?
      3) Is it better to apply only for advertised positions at the beginning of a cycle or to contact the chairs in advance to talk about possible openings for somebody "less junior" as me?
      Thanks!

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    3. 12:25 here. I can give you my thoughts based on my experiences as both an applicant and member of the hiring committee.
      1) I don't know if there's a "typical" expectation for this situation, but I would find it useful to have a letter from at least one current departmental colleague if I were on the hiring committee. That letter should provide not only a recommendation, but should also confirm the reasons for leaving your current position. When I was in the same situation, I was able to get all three of my letters from departmental colleagues. You could argue that I should have had an external review letter, but I wanted to dispel any notions that I might be a trouble-maker or toxic personality in the department. When I asked for letters, I gave each person a copy of my CV and cover letter to help them stay "on message".
      2) I don't think it's inappropriate to ask that the seminar only be advertised internally. We have had applicants coming from industry who have made that request because the situation is even more sensitive for them. It wasn't a big deal to restrict the notices to internal emails and posters around the department. If I recall, the webpage simply stated "To be announced" or "Faculty candidate seminar".
      3) I don't have any firsthand experience with "cold-calling" chairs. It seems like that would be a lot of work and the most likely response might just be "please check our HR board for updates". At my school, I don't think our HR or diversity offices would approve of any unsanctioned discussions between potential candidates and departmental personnel.

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  61. I saw some new hire announcements in my sub-field, but I did not know of those positions's opening for this job market cycle. They were not on Chemjobber's job list, and I couldn't find them from my own search effort. They were not shown in the previous job market either, so I don't think that they are just delayed announcements. Is it possible that schools hire faculties without public announcements? Or how do you know the information?

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    1. I guess that this is the situation where most people choose to be silent out of the fear that their comments might be interpreted as politically incorrect. I would suggest to accept it as what it is and move on: life is never fair.

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  62. Has anyone else noticed changes to the priority dates listed for positions that you're following? I was looking at one job that originally had a June 1 date, but now it says May 1. Is there a reason why they may have shortened up the window? Are they getting too many applications, or have they already chosen most of their finalists and want to get started on interviews? It kind of sucks that they'd shave a month off of the application window.

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  63. This thread will close tomorrow at noon Eastern.

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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