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Author Topic: Negotiate for Associate Prof Postion  (Read 3613 times)
pete_l_clark
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« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2012, 1:37:10 PM »

Honestly I don't get the "take an assistant professor position" so that you eventually get a raise argument. Presumably negotiating for an associate professor position means also negotiating for commiserate pay. I suppose there might be some satisfaction in getting a raise from (say) $60k to $80k after waiting a few years to be promoted to associate professor--but given the choice I'd rather start as an Associate Professor at $80k.

You are indeed making a presumption by thinking in terms of "commiserate pay" (let me instead say "commensurate pay").  One good thing for all of us (including me) to keep in mind of these fora is that circumstances, expectations and norms can vary wildly across different fields and institutions.  I am not aware of any American institution where the average associate professor makes 4/3 as much as the average assistant professor (as in your $80K/60$K hypothetical figures).  But there is a nice chronicle page where one can look up this information for many American universities, and I was easily able to find places at which the ratio is considerably larger than 1.  The largest I found so far was Smith College: 91.7K/75.6K = 1.213. 

However, at many other universities the numbers are quite different.  I am a recently tenured and promoted associate professor at the University of Georgia: a public R1 with some standards and pride but very much the victim of a poor economy and the whims of a shadowy Board of Regents.  The ratio at UGA is $79.2/$75.3 = 1.05.  In my own department (mathematics), the ratio is very close to 1.  We are currently involved in a job search, and we have been given a suggested minimum (especially, pre-negotiation) salary for a new hire assistant professor.  I was hired six and a half years ago as an assistant professor and was (like most others hired in the last few years, it turns out) able to negotiate a non-negligbly higher starting salary than the one that was initially presented to me.  After six years, tenure and promotion, my current salary is about $1K higher than the aforementioned minimum for our new assistant professor hire.  In fewer words, my department toes the border between salary compression and salary inversion.

Given the choice you propose above, of course one should choose to start at an Associate Professor level.   But at least at some institutions -- my guess is that what happens at my institution is reasonably common among public R1s, but if it matters to you of course don't guess: look up the particulars of the institution in question -- it would be at least as easy to negotiate an assistant professor position with an $80K starting salary (perhaps with a shortened tenure/promotion clock) as an associate professor position with an $80K starting salary, and it is clearly financially advantageous to start at the lower rank.

As a recently tenured and promoted associate professor at a public R1 in poor economic times, I am not confident that I will get any raise at all until I get promoted to full professor, unless I solicit an outside job offer.

Sorry for all the bold-face, but that seemed important.  Let's again compare faculty salaries at Smith and UGA.  The starting salaries for assistant professors are almost identical.  The big difference is that the affluent, private Smith College gives standard yearly raises to all of its faculty, while UGA does not (one year we got a pay cut, in fact).  This is something to keep in mind!
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katttt
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« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2012, 2:45:41 PM »

Well, my original point was that the people I've known who started in academia at the Associate professor level, started at that rank because of their salary demands, not because they were negotiating for a higher rank. I agree that if there is no/little difference in pay, it's better to be an Assistant--mainly because the teaching load may be lighter and the expectations a bit lower. But in some institutions having the rank of Associate does gives definite salary advantages.
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oldfullprof
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« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2012, 3:03:14 PM »

Certain applied disciplines (where the candidates are older and have field experience) will often hire at the associate level.  Even when the person has not previously been an assistant.  E.g nursing, education, criminal justice, etc.
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Taste o' the Sixties
pete_l_clark
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« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2012, 6:52:57 PM »

Well, my original point was that the people I've known who started in academia at the Associate professor level, started at that rank because of their salary demands, not because they were negotiating for a higher rank. I agree that if there is no/little difference in pay, it's better to be an Assistant--mainly because the teaching load may be lighter and the expectations a bit lower. But in some institutions having the rank of Associate does gives definite salary advantages.

I agree that things will be very different across disciplines and institutions -- so much so that fully generalized advice is probably not worth very much.  What I can do is tell is how things are at my institution so that the OP and other interested readers can keep these realities in mind and, when pertinent, ascertain whether they apply to them.  

At my public R1 (the University of Georgia):

* Tenure and promotion are distinct, formally but also practically in some respects.  
* The minimum time in rank for an assistant professor is four years.  The minimum time until tenure is five years.  
* A raise accompanies promotion but not tenure.  
* (In my department) The teaching load increases slightly upon tenure.
* There is no difference in job duties between assistant and associate professors or -- apart from the slight teaching load increase -- between untenured (but tenure track) and tenured faculty.  There may be some differences in expectations between untenured and tenured faculty but these seem small compared to differences in motivation and personality between individual faculty members.  
* (In my department) I expect that by next year the average salary among assistant professors will be higher than the average salary among associate professors.  
* One encounters maximum financial generosity at time of hiring.  Indeed, our salaries for assistant professors are slightly above the median whereas our salaries for associate and full professors are well below the median.
* The administration is very resistant to conferring tenure upon hire.  (I am told that before about ten years ago it was strictly forbidden and this was enforced at the level of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.  It is now possible, but you need to be a real star.)  
* In order to hire at the associate professor level, we need to get permission from the administration and put this in the initial job posting.  It is not possible (or at least, prohibitively difficult) to be offered an assistant professor job and after negotiations be hired as an associate professor.

If you were already a tenured, associate professor at some other research university making, say, $90K or more, then it would seem implausible to seek employment at my university as an assistant professor.   But at my university the sort of job candidate who is on the border between assistant and associate professor levels would gain a financial advantage by being hired as an assistant professor (possibly with a shortened tenure and promotion clock) and then getting the raise that accompanies promotion to associate professor.  By my rough calculations doing so would result in approximately $150K more in total salary over the course of a long academic career.  This seems to be significant enough to be worth pointing out.  

I know that the story I am telling is far from universal.  I would be very interested to hear similarly detailed information from those with different experiences, especially with accompanying information about which universities (or types of universities) they are speaking from experience about.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 6:54:12 PM by pete_l_clark » Logged
mur_eddie
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« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2012, 3:50:20 PM »

Dear Members,

I got the offer!

Negotiated for salary, teaching load, research, travel, spouse job and start -up package.

In most cases I won!

I guess I did a pretty good job!

Thank you all for the great inputs.

Sincerely

EM
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prof_smartypants
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« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2012, 10:18:31 AM »

Dear Members,

I got the offer!

Negotiated for salary, teaching load, research, travel, spouse job and start -up package.

In most cases I won!

I guess I did a pretty good job!

Thank you all for the great inputs.

Sincerely

EM

Congrats! Did you try for the Assoc position, and did you get it?
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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2012, 11:50:43 AM »

Certain applied disciplines (where the candidates are older and have field experience) will often hire at the associate level.  Even when the person has not previously been an assistant.  E.g nursing, education, criminal justice, etc.

Even STEM fields that overlap mine will hire at the associate level for someone who has significant research experience after the PhD but no TT experience.  I can think of a dozen people who have done so in the past few years.  However, those people were generally established people like Southerntransplant and Usukprof who could move their groups into academia.  They were not people with a couple years as a postdoc and a handful of papers.  As others have mentioned, that's an average assistant professor. 
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I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
larryc
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Be excellent to each other.


WWW
« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2012, 11:58:13 AM »

Thank you all for the great inputs.

Sincerely

EM

Careful! Advice on these boards is for entertainment purposes only!

(Congratulations.)
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Trolling for sex is not what this forum is all about.
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