Endowed Chair hiring process

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bibliophile789:
I was promoted to Full at a R1 last spring...and have been wondering, "now what?"

The next step would be an Endowed Chair. My research record is very strong. But that is nothing you can aspire to in your own institution.  From what I can tell, from this point forward, promotion to endowed just happens to you. A bit like getting hit by lightning.

BUT, there is a listing for an endowed chair at another R1 (a slightly higher ranked peer institution) in precisely my field.  And I'd love to work at that university and in that city.

What's the best way to get one's name in the ring?  Do you apply forthright?  Or do you send strategic smoke signals through prominent colleagues? 

I guess what I'm asking is:  How are the rules different for Endowed Chair recruitment?

All tips so very welcome!!

larryc:
I live in lower regions than you, my friend, so take this with a shaker of salt. My impression is that endowed positions are actually quite difficult to fill. A university endows a position in, let's say, the Civil War with the intention of hiring either David Blight or Eric Foner. And it discovers that they are not actually looking for a job. In fact, the folks at the top of the profession are not looking at the job ads, you have to cal them, and likely they are not interested. and the people who are do not fit the imagined research profile.

A regional R1 spent three or four years trying to fill a really generous endowed position, and finally hired someone several steps below (in terms of reputation) what they'd had in mind in the first place.

I'd pick up the phone and call someone in the department.

janewales:

There are many different kinds of "next step" appointments after full.

If you simply want to move to a better version of the position you now have, you might do so by moving into another full (not necessarily endowed) professorship at a "better" place. Senior positions are often advertised in the same way as junior ones, but as Larry says, since senior people aren't always thinking about moving, it's common for search committees for those positions to send out feelers.

So, you want to set up a situation where people sitting around a table brainstorming will throw your name into the "contact" pot. In addition to making sure you and your research are prominent (think about your web presence as well as about publications), you can also try to ensure that the small talk you engage in at conferences and such leaves the subtle impression that, while you're very happy where you are, you might move in the right circumstances.

Some universities have their own internal chair programs. Sometimes there's an application process; I've certainly written letters supporting colleagues who were targeting their own institutions. Sometimes these internal designations (things like Super Wonderful University Professor) are simply bestowed, and so far as I can tell, the same kind of stuff that might result in an invitation to apply to a university elsewhere, is also useful here. In addition, you can chat casually with your chair in such a way as to plant the idea that you would be an appropriate candidate for some further internal recognition. At some places, if you're identified as a "flight risk," you might enter someone's field of view for an internal chair.

Some endowed chairs work exactly the way Larry describes-- a combination of wishful thinking, invitation, and at last advertising and a degree of "settling."

And some really huge deals are just straightforward, advertised competitions: even the most exalted Oxbridge chairs can fall into this category.

bibliophile789:
Thank you, both for this.  Very helpful.

Now just trying to figure out how to subtly get my name in the pool...

ruralguy:
Even my teeny-weeny college has both fully endowed chairs and partially endowed  chairs.(a modest, but not horrible, tack on to salary and travel, etc.). So, I imagine many other R1s, SLACs, etc, do as well too. None of these are given to outside stars. They are all given to various faculty at various levels, depending on their achievements. So, OP (and others), its absolutely worth looking into at your own school. I would have to agree though that the ads are probably crafted to get stars or maybe proto-stars :-) But who knows.
Look internally, and also AFTDJ.

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