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Negotiating a Faculty Position. Peggy Johnson Civil and Environmental Engineering. The Situation. You have applied for multiple faculty positions at different universities You have been invited to several interviews. What should you do prior to the interviews?.

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Negotiating a Faculty Position

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Negotiating a faculty position l.jpg

Negotiating a Faculty Position

Peggy Johnson

Civil and Environmental Engineering

The situation l.jpg

The Situation

  • You have applied for multiple faculty positions at different universities

  • You have been invited to several interviews

What should you do prior to the interviews l.jpg

What should you do prior to the interviews?

  • Research the department, college, university, centers, institutes, etc.

    • Research expenditures, ratings, faculty productivity, graduate program, …

  • Research the area

    • Schools, job opportunities for partner, cost of living, etc.

  • Think about what is important to you

    • What type of job do you prefer?

    • What do you need to be productive?

    • What do you need to be happy?

    • What are your work/life priorities?

    • What is essential to your personal and professional well-being?

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At the Interview

  • Ask questions!

    • Ask the same questions to different people

    • Ask about the strengths and weaknesses of the program, college, university

    • Ask about typical expectations for a new person

    • Ask plenty of questions that help you figure out how you’ll fit in, if you’ll be supported and happy

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After the Interview

  • The Department Head of University X calls you and tells you that he/she wants to make an offer and asks if you are still interested.

    • Of course you are!

    • He/she gives will likely give you some details of the offer verbally and then follow up with a formal offer in letter

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What will be in the offer?

  • Undergraduate/teaching institution

    • Salary (9, 9.5-month?)

    • Number of courses to be taught per year

    • Number of different courses to be taught

    • Start up (computer, lab equipment, etc.)

    • Moving expenses

    • Other expectations

      • Scholarly contributions, outreach, service

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What will be in offer?

  • Research institution

    • Salary (9, 9.5-month?)

    • Number of courses to be taught per year

      • Graduate vs. undergraduate

    • Start up (computer(s), research equipment, summer salary, RA/TA’s, lab space, travel $$, etc. )

    • Moving expenses

    • Other expectations

      • Research program, outreach, service

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What do you say to the offerer?

  • Let him/her know you are excited about the offer and look forward to receiving the letter

  • Ask for clarifications

  • You will think it over and get back to him/her

    • Few weeks? (this is also negotiable)

  • If asked if you have other offers?

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  • What is negotiable?


  • Why should you negotiate?

    • Because it’s the only chance you’ll likely have

  • How do you feel about negotiating?

    • Uncomfortable! Greedy! Ungrateful!

    • Women vs. men in negotiating

A man and a woman are offered the same salary in the same department. "She will say thank you very much and take the job. He will say, is that your best offer? He will get another $4,000 and she won't.”

Source: The Woman's Guide to Navigating the Ph.D. in Engineering & Science By Barbara B. Lazarus, Lisa M. Ritter, and Susan A. Ambrose, published by IEEE Press.

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Getting some advice

  • Discuss offer with trusted mentors

    • PhD advisor

    • Relatively new faculty member

    • Senior faculty member

    • Department head

  • Don’t be shy about seeking advice, getting what you need to be successful!

Elements l.jpg


  • Salary

    • Base salary – Why matters?

      • Know what a good offer looks like

      • Faculty salary survey (

    • Summer support – how many months/years?

    • Salary advance

  • Other compensation:

    • Relocation expenses

    • Health care

    • Family benefits

  • Start date

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  • Start-up packages:

    • Equipment

    • Laboratory space

    • Salary for students and staff

    • Computers and software

    • Travel

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  • Workload:

    • Teaching load and reductions

    • Advising load and timing

    • Committee responsibilities

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Dual-career couples

  • When do you bring this up?

  • Talk to other dual couples in college

  • Talk with dual career office on campus

  • Explain situation to offerer when verbal offer made

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Multiple offers

  • Strengthens bargaining position

  • Be honest

    • Keep everyone informed of the status of your other applications and offers.

  • If you intend to say "no," do it quickly.

  • Ask to extend deadlines if necessary, but don't miss them.

  • Only ask a school to match an offer if you really would accept it.

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Second Visits

  • Very common

    • Only request if you are very serious ($$)

  • Good chance to bring spouse/partner

  • Look at housing, partner jobs, schools, etc.

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The End

  • How many times should you go back and forth on negotiations?

  • How do you know when negotiations are over?

  • Remember:

    • “The ability to negotiate well is a skill that all academics need throughout their careers, especially if they take on administrative responsibilities. A job offer is your first opportunity to start honing that skill.”

      • Source: Negotiating That First Offer, By Jennifer S. Furlong and Julie Miller Vick, Chronicle of Higher Education, Thursday, February 22, 2007

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