Re: Nazareth College

1

Which queries in particular, all of them or just some?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:11 PM
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Specifically, 1, 3, and 5 are out of line. Item 4 is reasonable, but it's unlikely that it would actually be an issue, given how happy they'll be to pawn intro courses off on someone who wants them. Maternity leave is reasonable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:12 PM
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I mean, I have no idea what they offered her, and what her colleagues are earning. Maybe 1 is reasonable - but the idea of comparing salaries at Heebie U to general industry salaries is absolutely ridiculous.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:13 PM
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3 and 5 are the kind of thing you could ask for at a research university - it just indicates that she has no idea how different a teaching college is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:14 PM
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Also, our philosophy department is like three people. Lobbing 4 as a demand, rather than forming relationships and treating your colleagues as allies who all have common goals, is a big red flag.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:16 PM
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But even if the requests are unreasonable, you don't have to read them as confused about where Nazareth fits in the hierarchy of colleges, just about what Nazareth is able to afford. She might perfectly well be realistically delighted that she got a job anyplace, but just out of touch with what are reasonable and unreasonable asks, and there's no compelling reason to think that she wouldn't figure it out after working there for a bit.

Mostly, I find it horrifying that after she had a job offer, politely negotiating over terms that aren't facially ridiculous (that is, she's not asking for a pool boy or a pony) led to the offer being rescinded. I'm not clear enough on industry norms to be sure if I'm horrified because Nazareth are specifically terrible people, or because the academic marketplace is generally a harsh, cruel place.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:17 PM
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In the discussions about this I've noticed that non-academics (and, surprisingly, some academics) are unaware of how paranoid SLACs are about the possibility of hiring someone who thinks they really belong at a research focused institution.

I was surprised by the maternity leave bit. Is it normal to negotiate maternity leave on a case by case basis? It seems like the sort of thing for which there should be an institutional policy.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:19 PM
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I'm prepared to believe she was asking for too much, but withdrawing a job offer over this kind of thing still seems pretty harsh. Wouldn't saying "no, and if you have another offer that comes anywhere close to those types of terms go ahead and take it" have done just as well?

(Or, on preview, what LB said in 6.)


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:22 PM
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7 wasn't in reply to 6.

When I was considering applying to SLACs, I was cautioned to go over my application package with a fine toothed comb in search of anything that might even hint that I was really interested in R1s are even that I had been interested in them in the past.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:23 PM
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3:

A commenter elsewhere found that the average salary for junior faculty at Nazareth is $58,000, but that's across all divisions, so a new assistant professor in the humanities would be making substantially less. She was asking for an R1 humanities salary.


Posted by: lambchop | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:24 PM
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Abrupt rescission seems a bit draconian to me, not to mention precisely the sort of thing to get leaked to Inside Higher Ed etc. No one would have written a blog post anywhere if Nazareth had responded with something boring like "We don't think we can accommodate all of your points, but we'll be happy to discuss them. Are you available later this week for a call?"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:26 PM
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11: Or even, "No. This is our offer. You may accept or refuse."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:29 PM
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In the discussions about this I've noticed that non-academics (and, surprisingly, some academics) are unaware of how paranoid SLACs are about the possibility of hiring someone who thinks they really belong at a research focused institution.

Why is that? I mean, from what I hear about the job market, it's not as if their new hires are going to be leaving them for jobs at research institutions in droves. What's the problem with someone who might have liked a slightly different job better?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:29 PM
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12: Yes. Whence the "Your negotiation attempt has poisoned our relationship" position? I've rebuffed a million dumb demands over term sheets and whatnot* but still managed to sit through dinner with those people.

* "We don't want to have to repay the loan if there's an earthquake or something." "Oh, come on, [name redacted]."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:31 PM
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13: She'll take the job and won't be able to find another job, but she will be very unhappy, so they'll be stuck listening to her whining for 40-50 years.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:32 PM
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@13

I don't know how it works out in practice, but the widely believed theory appears to be that such a person would either a) leave for a more research focused place as soon as an opportunity comes along, or b) stay and be a pain in the ass for potentially 30 or 40 years, as per 15.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:36 PM
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Assuming the concerns are something like what Heebie describes, I don't see any problem rescinding the offer. Having someone come who won't fit in/obviously wants to leave is a problem, and if you're too aggressive with a counter offer, well, that's the risk you take.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:37 PM
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13: I guess, but most of us aren't firemen or astronauts, and yet the people at our workplaces aren't made miserable by our whining, disappointed selves. It seems weird to me that 'was interested in working at a research college' either would be, or would be regarded as, a strong proxy for 'will be intolerably annoying to work with because of disappointment.'


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:37 PM
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Oh my. Without having seen the request list, I was horrified that the offer would have been rescinded. Now that I've seen the list, it seems like this applicant is possibly insane. A quick search shows four tenured profs in that department, one associate, three full profs. Does she not understand seniority as it pertains to teaching assignments? Another 16 months of postdoc before starting? That screams eagerness.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:39 PM
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yet the people at our workplaces aren't made miserable by our whining, disappointed selves.

Academics pride themselves on being whiny and disappointed at a higher level.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:40 PM
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10: Right. That number includes the economists and accountants and computer scientists. Her $ ask is like 20% higher than what their humanities asst. profs. are making.

This story is making me a little nuts, because it is being presented in the non-academic blogosphere as "woman seeks work-life balance and has job offer rejected." Maternity leave aside (and NC has it anyway), she's asking for more time to do research and to finish a post-doc -- not exactly flex-time. Three-person departments can't cover that, if they want to keep bringing in majors and offering the necessary classes and keep themselves from being folded into the religious studies department.

I don't think they ought to have pulled the offer (and certainly not in that bitchy way), but of course they said no. Also, I think that 30-sometimes with PhDs ought to be able to do a little research into the institution for which they are considering working. The defense of "But she's at a R1 now! How could she knoooow?" is flabbergasting.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:44 PM
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Since graduate students are by definition at research schools it's very hard for them to know what is and isn't different at a SLAC. This is true even if they were an undergrad at a SLAC, because how would undergrads learn about things like pay or sabbaticals. So I think it's pretty unfair to punish someone for not knowing.

If a student had asked me for advice on this point I would have advised against asking for 3 because its clearly unreasonable (only the very richest research schools do that) and would have said not to lead with 1 or phrase it that way (they're not going to grant it unless you have another offer, so the only point of mentioning it is to let them counteroffer other terms). It would never have occurred to me that 5 was unreasonable.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:44 PM
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21: 30-somethings. Not sometimes!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:45 PM
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18: I think the idea is that the jobs are very, very different. Like if someone applied to be an attorney and wanted to be sure they could have first refusal/choice of cases (no idea how this works, but I assume there's a system and this is not it). Or indicated they thought they'd be solving crimes, maybe? Or someone at a white shoe asking for six weeks paid vacation. Wouldn't you be a bit concerned that they didn't understand what they were getting into? Or maybe applying to be a forest ranger and negotiating for telework? Her asks indicate a pretty flawed understanding of what the job actually entails.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:50 PM
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how paranoid SLACs are about the possibility of hiring someone who thinks they really belong at a research focused institution

Okay, but there's also the tendency for SLACs to think they can have it all now that the job market is so tight. We care most about teaching! ...but you should probably also publish something if you want tenure. A friend of mine at a great SLAC was told as much by his department chair: to take teaching seriously, sure, but not to believe that the tenure committee wouldn't also be looking at his publication record, whatever the college's rhetoric might seem to say otherwise.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:51 PM
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I also would have advised a much lower money ask. It's always reasonable to ask for a match of another offer, but if all you're saying is "this would seal the deal and let me accept now without waiting" it's not reasonable to ask for more than 5% increase.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:52 PM
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I'm going to keep defending her here. First of all, in the humanities job market these days, it's not like you can exactly decide that you're going to go for one kind of job or the other. You go for all the jobs. And when you see jobs that should be "teaching jobs" at little SLACs going to people, say, from Princeton, who you know haven't taught much, if at all, I don't think she is necessarily crazy confused. SLACs are able to get researchers previously above their caliber, and are doing so, sometimes at the expense of a clear record of teaching success.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:55 PM
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@25

I've heard of this happening, at one place in particular. It's terrible as it sounds like they basically set their new hires up to fail.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:56 PM
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27: There's no problem with applying to all sorts of jobs, but I think you need to illustrate that you understand what you will actually be doing in each job. It's like she mixed up response letters. If I started applying to CCs, R1s, and SLACs, I'd be sure to ask for different things with each place if I were negotiating. Maybe it's different in humanities, but it seems like a totally crazy set of requests for the type of school, especially as a set.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:02 PM
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What a fallen world and a fallen site that the noun "asks" has become unremarkable.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:03 PM
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Yup. Yet another way that the academic job market sucks.

Though if you were really good enough, you'd probably already devoting 100% of your time to both of them, right?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:03 PM
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31 to 28.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:04 PM
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How are grad students supposed to do research on these questions? It's not like anyone posts sabbatical information. At some places or in some fields you can find out something about salary numbers, but otherwise it's not easy to find any info about terms of employment. This is all done purposefully in America (even moreso in industry) to give employers a negotiation advantage over employees. You can't blame candidates for not knowing things that employers purposefully hide, especially if the candidate is from an underrepresented group and so has less access to informal channels of info about this. Also everyone is getting bad information from their mentors (who know nothing about the modern job market and probably know little about SLACs).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:05 PM
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19: in reasonable depts, like mine, the way that seniority works in teaching assignments is that the less senior person gets priority.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:08 PM
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33: The salaries are certainly easily available, or at least numbers like "average assistant professor salary" are. And then I guess one can use common sense to realize that accountants and economists and the otherwise employable are driving that number up.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:08 PM
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33: The salaries are certainly easily available

Yeah, at a minimum someone could look around at state teaching type colleges where salary info is public record.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:12 PM
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35, 36: Right -- and when I say "average assistant professor" salaries are available, I mean per college.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:16 PM
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Where are people finding reliable accurate salary info for Nazareth? Outside of certain state schools that are required to report salaries, and certain professional associations that do general surveys (not school specific) I'm not aware of reliable accurate salary info. Google gives several sites all of which are pretty clearly not reliable or accurate and which don't agree with each other.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:17 PM
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Or maybe applying to be a forest ranger and negotiating for telework?

Ha, we get this kind thing all the time. People who want to apply to be a homicide or financial crimes detective and skip the whole "cop" part of the job.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:19 PM
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38: The Chronicle lets you compare institutions. Nazareth pops right up.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:22 PM
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For example.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:24 PM
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I'm sympathetic to W because it's just not the case that actually being good at research means that one will be a bad fit, because many, many academics manage to adapt to the job that they wind up with. My dream job is not to teach at an open enrollment university with 170 students per semester. I'm still really fucking good at what I do, and I do a good job here, even though I'm perceived to be a flight risk.

And not to put too fine a point on it, the market is tight. Nazareth was probably really excited by all the really interesting and promising scholars they were able to attract that they couldn't attract ten years ago. When you attract good people, they sometimes like to do good work, even if they accept they will also be doing a lot of teaching. Her requests were unlikely to be granted, but... look, if your response to that is to get a case of the inferiority jitters and pull the offer, well, guess you're missing out on a buyer's market.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:30 PM
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40,41: Awesome! I'm not sure how I never heard of this before.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:38 PM
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Completely with LB here. As long as she's not being ridiculous, which is different from unreasonable or clueless, rescinding the offer without a phone call from Nazareth saying "This is who we are, you want to work here, right?" is totally unprofessional and punitive. If she's supposed to know all about Nazareth's culture and salaries, they can also be expected to realize that one standard piece of advice new job seekers get is "The time between the offer and acceptance is when you have the most leverage; use it." That's what she's doing, figuring that at worst, they'll say no. She'll take any damn job, just like every other new phil phd. Defenses of Nazareth mostly seem to be of the "Don't make massa mad" type.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:38 PM
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42: Exactly. And so Nazareth is missing out, but given that market, it means that this great candidate they're missing out on may not get any job anywhere else now. They've fucked themselves and her, and my sympathies are with her.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:39 PM
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It's too bad that the chronicle doesn't have a section for "new assistant professors" like the AMS does. At many many schools the starting salary is noticeably higher than the average assistant professor salary. So it's hard to figure out how to balance that affect against the "philosophy isn't a highly paid field" affect. From the graph it looks like something a little over 60 is well within what they're capable of paying a strong candidate. So it's not clear that asking for 65 (in an attempt to get 60) is all that ridiculous. Do we know what the offered salary was?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:43 PM
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When you attract good people, they sometimes like to do good work, even if they accept they will also be doing a lot of teaching.

That list of hers, composed after she's interviewed at and toured the college, doesn't sound like she was accepting the lot of teaching part at all.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:44 PM
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There's no salary data by discipline, is there? Or did I miss it?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:47 PM
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46 was based on a misreading of the graphical info. Anyway, I'm still not sure how to balance the two affects against each other. But aiming above 60 is pretty clearly unwise based on this data.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:49 PM
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47: And *someone* was going to have to teach the 3-person department's classes. Either one of the other people in the department or an adjunct.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:50 PM
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Given that 42% of their teaching staff or adjuncts, it's not clear that it's a hardship for them to have one year of classes covered by adjuncts.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:54 PM
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As long as she's not being ridiculous, which is different from unreasonable or clueless

She is being ridiculous! Again, she's toured the college, interviewed there, presumably endured a ton of lectures and conversations about the place, it's mission, etc. That list after the fact says she either didn't pay the slightest bit attention to all that or she did and is requesting it anyways, which is an indicator that she's going to be one of those special snowflakes who is a giant PITA to work with.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:54 PM
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Er, sorry, 58% are adjuncts. 42% aren't adjuncts.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:55 PM
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It's not as if the list of hers was a list of demands, all of which she demanded deference to. She was, presumably, knowingly asking for more than she thought she could get. She apparently was not doing so knowing just how much more, relative to Nazareth's resources etc., she was asking for, and was thus ignorant (and probably also imprudent). But to conclude that she wasn't accepting the lots-of-teaching part because she made any requests pertaining to teaching at all seems unfair.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:55 PM
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Defenses of Nazareth mostly seem to be of the "Don't make massa mad" type.

I've seen that movie - Twelve Years A Nazareth Prof


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:55 PM
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47: It doesn't read that way to me at all. Look, everyone is trained to be a researcher. Most people end up in teaching jobs, and most people manage to find some kind of balance. It irks me to no end that we expect candidates not to be ambitious or to pretend that the job is their one and only dream job when we actively design our searches to pick ambitious, talented people who hadn't heard of our college before the ad popped up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:56 PM
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Heh, turns out I was in grad school with Nazareth's department chair. I don't have great insight into his character, but he was a nice guy, although it doesn't surprise me that he'd be unsentimental about a decision like this. Business, not personal. Still, I think they were wrong.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:01 PM
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Her $ ask is like 20% higher than what their humanities asst. profs. are making.

I don't really have a firm position on this specific situation, because I have zero knowledge of academic employment norms, but I can't say a 20% over the odds demand would surprise or phase me in the least as an employer. It's negotiation - of course you make a strong play. It doesn't mean you're going to get it, or even expect to. On the other hand, I don't get why people are so shocked by the withdrawal of the offer either. It might have made more sense to see if common ground ccould be found first, but if she didn't accept the offer as granted, that's her problem (maternity leave being a possible exception on statutory and/or moral reasons).


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:03 PM
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Only three new class preps a year doesn't sound unreasonable at all -- she's not trying to limit her teaching load generally, just the number of unique classes she has to take on all at once.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:04 PM
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60

How is maternity leave usually handled in a situation like this?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:04 PM
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59: I've had only one new prep a year -- in part because I have a crazy amount of experience -- so that struck me as not really crazy in a functional department.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:07 PM
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I guess, as an outsider, 2 and 4 look perfectly reasonable -- it's hard to imagine how to manage a reasonable maternity leave that wouldn't kill a semester, barring very lucky timing, and the class prep thing seems reasonable. Number 5, the late start, sounds like the sort of thing that's worth asking for, because there's a chance that there's some coincidental thing that would make it mutually convenient; the guy who was retiring now feels as if another year would be nice or something. You wouldn't expect to get it, but you'd ask just in case.

So the unreasonable things sound like the salary and the sabbatical. And neither one of those makes her sound that weird -- if you're negotiating salary, you ask for more than you're expecting, because you think you're going to get haggled down. She might have made her first bid too high, but $65K can't possibly have been crazily too high. The sabbatical thing I don't know anything about, and I'll accept that it would have been unusual, but it just doesn't seem like that huge a mistake.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:17 PM
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I'll throw my ignorant vote in with LB at 62.

And I'll add that I'm shocked no one has pointed out that we know, for a fact, that women are punished for negotiating job terms the way that men do. Granted, I'd look askance at a male candidate who asked for maternity leave, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least to learn that Nazareth has never rescinded a job offer to a male candidate, no matter what suite of requests he made.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:23 PM
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It's interesting that this candidate not only made a bunch of requests that suggest "crazy person" in context, but also went very public when the institution responded by withdrawing the offer. One wonders if there were more warning signs when she was on campus and the email tipped the internal balance from people who thought she was worth taking a chance on to people who thought "crazy person! stay away!"


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:27 PM
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Granted, I'd look askance at a male candidate who asked for maternity leave

Joke, or would you actually look askance at a male candidate who asked for paternity leave?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:28 PM
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To put it another way, nothing about the list looks to me like an obvious tell that she wants to do research rather than teaching and would be a bad fit. Unless it's the sabbatical request -- is that a shibboleth, people at research institutions get them and people at SLAC's don't?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:28 PM
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Speaking as a department chair who would not have pulled the offer:
(i) the junior sabbatical is not very likely at a 4/4 institution, and obviously so-- not that saying no is hard, but it does seem a little clueless to ask.
(ii) postponing the start date is often pretty hard. Again, I would have just said no, but it can be a big issue.
(iii) keep in mind we don't know what the pool looks like. If candidate n+1 looks almost exactly as good and W's email seems annoyingly clueless, NC wasn't acting from a sense of inferiority or missing out. Certainly post-offer interactions with candidates have changed my preferences between them.
(iv) institutions can risk losing lines if searches fail. It's not like NC is bound to keep that line in philosophy.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:29 PM
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I feel pretty strongly that 5 is something that should be forgiven. At a larger department 5 is generally something that's beneficial to both parties (the new hire is trained without you paying them, it can allow the dept. to hire for next year now so as to save the cost of a search the next year, etc.). Clearly it looks different from the point of view of a small department, but I don't think it's fair to expect people to have worked all those differences out unless you tell them.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:29 PM
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SLACs range from (e.g.) NC to Amherst, which has a 2/2 load and is in many respects like a research institution. It's not at all a homogenous category. My institution has a guaranteed research leave before tenure, but I'm not on a 4/4, and research is a higher priority here than it is at NC.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:31 PM
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Speaking as a department chair

Hey, congrats/condolonces.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:32 PM
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I've been away, but boy do I have a strong opinion regarding whether or not she should have been better informed: yes.

She would have had a campus visit. She can find people at SLAC and ask them about life. The sabbatical thing is so wildly out of sync that it's a big red flag.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:33 PM
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If that's the case, then I stick with thinking that this was pretty brutal of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:33 PM
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72 to 69, and to 71 -- if there are SLACs where a sabbatical would be normal, then would it be really that crazy of her to have guessed wrong about where exactly in the SLAC category Nazareth fit? Like, is it wrong enough that being capable of making that error makes her likely to be a bad person to hire?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:35 PM
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The campus visit cuts both ways. I think more than it being the candidates responsibility to get that kind of information during the interview, it's the school's responsibility to inform the candidate about their institution. If the candidate didn't know what was reasonable, it's just as likely that it's the chair's fault as the candidates.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:35 PM
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73: You can tell them apart very easily based on the teaching loads.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:37 PM
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Brutal maybe, but also trying to avoid a costly mistake.

And am I just old or is this the kind of thing normal people handle on the phone or in person? I'd find that email off-putting as hell, but wouldn't necessarily react the same way to someone initiating a conversation about pay and benefits and what we might reasonably do to sweeten an offer.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:38 PM
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73: yes, I think it would be crazy. If you see 4/4 and think, hey, there's probably a standard guaranteed research leave before tenure, you're high. Also, if there's a research leave before tenure, it would be quite odd for the department not to make sure this is known.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:38 PM
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76 to 72.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:40 PM
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One wonders if there were more warning signs when she was on campus and the email tipped the internal balance from people who thought she was worth taking a chance on to people who thought "crazy person! stay away!"

That's my guess, but I have no idea how unusual and rude it is for an institution to pull an offer like this.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:41 PM
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77: You have to figure she knew it wasn't standard or she wouldn't have been asking for it -- she would have thought she had it. The question is whether it was far enough out of range that asking for it was unreasonable in itself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:43 PM
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I'm strongly on her side, mostly because I think having a taboo against schools doing this is the only way for employees to maintain any power whatsoever. If this kind of behavior stands what's next, offers that expire immediately? But that said, I do think the sabbatical request is clearly crazy.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:44 PM
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Ordinarily, I'm on the side of the candidate, not the institution, but in this case: no. She sounds arrogant and clueless, and comes across as someone who thinks she's a BFD. More to the point, she sounds like someone who is mulling over several offers (why else would she send a laundry list via email!?), and who doesn't have Nazareth at the top of her list.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:45 PM
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Given the number of candidates they must have had, why would they have chosen someone they thought might be crazy?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:46 PM
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I realize that she asked because she knew it wasn't written in, LB. The "you" in the second sentence of 77 is the generic "if one thinks this, one is insane." That is, it is far enough out of range that asking is unreasonable or somewhat weird. Again, I think the better course of action on NC's part is to call and ask W if she knows she's asking for things the institution just can't provide.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:46 PM
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Maybe part of the disconnect is seeing the email (rather than another means of communication) as norm-violating? I don't see that as all, and I don't see her tone, rather than the substance of her requests, as offputting, but I'm not in the relevant community.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:49 PM
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65: Joke, which is why I used "maternity."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:49 PM
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67, 70: Congratulations as well. I could have sworn you just got tenure, but I suppose it could easily have been five years or more ago and I just forget that time passes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:51 PM
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mostly because I think having a taboo against schools doing this is the only way for employees to maintain any power whatsoever.

This is very different from having a taboo against negotiating. I might not have rescinded the offer, but I would be sorely tempted to.

If I were the chair, I'd be thinking "This is someone who I'm going to work closely with over the next decade, and they couldn't just broach these topics during the campus visits and suss us out? We asked them a zillion times if they had any questions. She sounds like a difficult person who takes cooperative situations and turns them into adversarial ones."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:51 PM
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It must have been quite the gut-punch to get a response like that. Still, I sort of sympathize with the college. The sabbatical request seems especially tone deaf.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:53 PM
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I wouldn't have broached such topics during a campus visit, Heebie, because I … would have preferred to wait until receiving an offer before bringing that sort of thing up.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:53 PM
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(It's not like I won a Bancroft Prize or anything; being chair here is just something that rotates around, and it's my turn. "Not crazy enough to skip over" is my crowning achievement.)


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:53 PM
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Oh God, this gives me flashbacks to when I was placement director in my department. She may be crazily entitled, she may be sympathetically naive, it's hard to tell: the problem is that candidates are now routinely told that this is their one moment to negotiate. But it's hard to negotiate if you only have one offer, which is all that most candidates ever get, and so I find myself having to persuade candidates to dial back their demands, which makes me feel, particularly with dealing with female candidates who have been amped up on "Women don't negotiate! You need to negotiate!," like the very face of the patriarchy.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:53 PM
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But it's not like its bad for the department for the new hires to get good terms. A chair should want someone who can help them get better terms out of the administration. Also you have to be careful asking about these things before an offer because then you won't get an offer.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:54 PM
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I am at a 4/4 institution, fwiw. NC is sounding quite a lot like Heebie U. When we interview, the two most important things we're looking for is:
1. A really high quality teacher
2. Someone who actually wants to teach at a SLAC in BFE for not much money. Because that's what we are and can offer. It's really worth it to find someone who actually wants to be at an institution like ours, as opposed to courting someone who is a better fit for a more prestigious institution.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:54 PM
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88: I seriously don't understand this reaction. That is, I get that there's a problem if her requests are far enough outside the realm of the possible that she seems generally out of touch with reality -- I'm arguing that they don't seem that way to me (they might be the kind of thing that she wasn't plausibly going to get, but not insane to ask for), but I obviously don't know what I'm talking about.

But the reaction that negotiating terms of employment makes you a difficult person who takes cooperative situations and turns them into adversarial ones? I'm kind of shocked to see that put forth as a reasonable position.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:55 PM
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I wouldn't have broached such topics during a campus visit, Heebie, because I ... would have preferred to wait until receiving an offer before bringing that sort of thing up.

"Tell me about the tenure procedure!" "Tell me about the sabbatical procedure!" Neb, you should be finding out about the norms and culture during the interview. Really.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:55 PM
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"Not crazy enough to skip over" is my crowning achievement.

Good thing you redacted the archives.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:56 PM
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Ha, I should have THANKED dB.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:57 PM
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One can be asked if one has questions, but that doesn't mean that one should ask just any old questions one has. For instance, one doesn't ask for all the things that are (uncontroversially?) part of the later stages of negotiation. That's what the negotiation part of the dance is for!

Even if you think that the requests are totally out there (and I agree that the request for a sabbatical, and also for a delayed start, are pretty ballsy (though the latter seems less so to me, but what do I know?)), that doesn't mean that (a) it's all on her or (b) she disdains your institution or (c) whatever. She could be culpably ignorant, she could be the recipient of terrible advising, she could be thoughtless, she could be consciously trying to play harder ball than she would otherwise be inclined to do (she might be disinclined to negotiate at all—lots of people are!).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:58 PM
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Mme. Merle has partly anticipated 99.last.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:59 PM
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Speaking of junior hires, we're losing a guy. So, an office shittier than mine but less shitty than two other people's offices will be vacant. If I move the one with the shittiest office to the vacant office, the most junior hire will have a less shitty office than someone who started earlier. But if I do a chain move, it seems just a little bit too explicit how I order people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:59 PM
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95 last was snotty -- I should watch myself whenever I use the word 'shocked'. I guess, what I was thinking is that I'm actually not surprised to see an employer want to punish an employee for trying to negotiate; I've been scared of punishment every time I've tried it myself. I just thought that reaction was generally unspoken, and that the norm would be to for employers to at least say that there was nothing at all wrong with negotiating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:00 PM
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95: It's funny that you keep insisting on this, Lizardbreath. The norms of professorial negotiation are very different from what I imagine the norms governing lawyerly negotiations must be. And it's not all about the imbalances of the hirers' market: we're, well, not supposed to be in it for the money.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:00 PM
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If only I had had you to advise me, heebie, maybe I would have gotten a job offer, or even an interview, and then your advice would be relevant.

</notbitter>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:00 PM
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But the reaction that negotiating terms of employment makes you a difficult person who takes cooperative situations and turns them into adversarial ones?

Because it's a small department, and things need to be worked out informally all the time. I cannot understand why she didn't ask, in a friendly manner, about the standards around sabbaticals and class preps, during the interview. Or if there has ever been someone who has been granted a deferral start date. Or what kind of flexibility the department has for shifting around teaching responsibilities. These things are on her mind, and she's not...saying a word. At dinner. In a car ride to the airport. Etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:00 PM
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I get that there's a problem if her requests are far enough outside the realm of the possible that she seems generally out of touch with reality -- I'm arguing that they don't seem that way to me

You are wrong. They are.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:01 PM
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Maybe she was afraid of seeming over-eager to inquire about sabbaticals or something before there was an offer. It's a tense situation, especially if it was her one campus visit. Who knows!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:02 PM
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Well, there's negotiations with opposing counsel, and negotiations with one's employer. Obviously, negotiations with opposing counsel, you can be a little more freewheeling about being perceived as unreasonable, because you're already litigating against them. Negotiations with one's employer, like I said, scare me too -- I was just surprised at what looked like a statement that obviously taking an aggressive negotiating position means that you're someone who would be an undesirable coworker.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:03 PM
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Maybe she was afraid of seeming over-eager to inquire about sabbaticals or something before there was an offer.

Sure, but then she pulls this?! If she's thinking she can ask for an exception to be granted, she should be willing to ask about the existing situation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:05 PM
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It pains me, Heebie, but now I have to disagree with you. We warn our candidates against raising anything like this until they have an offer in hand. At dinner, in the car, what are they thinking about? They're thinking about how delighted they would be to spend their careers teaching your students; that's all they're thinking, and that's all they want to talk about.

I think what you're proposing is great advice for the negotiation stage. She should be asking what's possible (framing it as being in the department's best interests, as in "A delayed start date would allow me to wrap up some publishing projects before I throw myself into teaching," "Fewer new preps would enable me to really perfect my teaching of the core courses") in a phone call to the chair, not sending (!) by email (!) a list of demands (!).


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:06 PM
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99: consciously trying to play harder ball than she would otherwise be inclined to do

This. Very common problem for inexperienced negotiators, and it's one of the reasons why it's good to cut people slack when they act like they don't know what they're doing on the job market. Because, usually, they don't.

Although 23's comment that she would have been in her 30s makes me a little less inclined to feel this way. I'm used to thinking of first-real-job applicants as a bit younger than that. (Or is this not a first real job application? I had the impression it was.)


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:09 PM
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We warn our candidates against raising anything like this until they have an offer in hand.

Really? Against asking "What's the tenure procedure like?" "What's the sabbatical procedure like?" "How do departments juggle such-and-such situation?"

These topics come up frequently in the campus visits that I've hosted. But I got zero advice as a candidate, and I don't advise grad students, so my sample is very specific to Heebie U.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:09 PM
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Responses along the lines of "she should have done it this way" are irksome partly because, as has been mentioned upthread, applicants have it drilled into them that the post-visit, post-offer period is the time to start making your requests. Yes, in this case, it would have been better for her had she done as heebie (e.g.) suggests; she may not have thought of that (and may be generally thoughtless about such things—who knows—that itself may constitute a too-great departure from the realm of collegiality for such a small department; beats me) or may have thought of it and unfortunately dismissed it for any number of reasons, and thereby come to commit a more serious trespass later. But NC's response seems ungenerous, and so do those that ask why she didn't go about it in another way. I mean, who knows why not?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:09 PM
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Deals negotiated by lawyers fall apart all the time, even after an offer, because counter-offers are too aggressive. At least this happens all the time in stuff I know a bit about, eg talent agreements. Blowing up a deal because a counter is unreasonable and reveals that your future partner/employee whatever will be a big PITA isn't that rare and I don't see what the problem is. She fucked up, it happens, the college isn't under any obligation to hire someone they don't want to hire until they've agreed on the terms of doing so.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:10 PM
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Neb is right: you don't breathe a word of what might be considered entitlement/demands during a campus visit. Sabbatical? I wouldn't even take one!

It seems pretty obvious that she was taking the "This is your one chance to negotiate" advice. I think that's why people are reacting so strongly to this: if you don't even get that one chance, workers are even more fucked that they thought, which was already a lot fucked.

She sounds arrogant and clueless, and comes across as someone who thinks she's a BFD

Boy, I don't see this, and obviously I find most women uppity most of the time. I mean, "I know that some of these might be easier to grant than others. Let me know what you think" is not exactly "Now rub my feet."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:11 PM
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This could easily be her first "real job" go-round, in her 30s, if she's coming off a post-doc. Naivete, yes. I would not have rescinded the offer, but I might have written a stern response along the lines of "Are you sure you actually want to be at a teaching institution?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:11 PM
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I think the requests are outside the norm to the extent that they're unlikely to be granted, but not outside the norm given that the standard advice is to wait till you have an offer before you broach anything like salary, teaching, maternity leave, and so forth. Shouldn't the school also take some responsibility for knowing what the conventions are, and not conclude that someone is treating them with disdain and is never going to be happy there because they asked about the possibility of a sabbatical?

Especially because it's very likely that the school played up how great they were to work for, too, and tried to make themselves seem to be appealing to her.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:11 PM
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Sure, but then she pulls this?

See "consciously trying to play ball", etc., and 111 generally.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:12 PM
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109: I'm just not getting why your reaction is "then she pulls this?!" with the interrobang. I get "The content of the requests reveals her to be so wildly out of touch that she's not worth hiring" -- I'd still think it was a brutal reaction, given that her actual academic work made her desirable, and she's not being hired to be knowledgeable about the academic job market, but I'm an outsider and I don't know the norms, certainly not in the detail I'd need to talk about it.

The email's superficially polite -- it doesn't hedge around what she wants, but she's not insulting anyone. How is it rude enough to merit the italics and interrobang?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:12 PM
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The thing is, even without a discussion of sabbaticals, etc - all her demands are communicating "I really value and prioritize research". Which is absolutely fine, but means she would be miserable at Heebie U.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:13 PM
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HELP!!

Someone answered an ATM bleg for me about vitamins with helpful links. I think that it was ydnew. I can't remember what thread it was in, and my google-fu is failing me. I need to send the prisoner I visit research for his paper.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:15 PM
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all her demands are communicating "I really value and prioritize research".

Maternity leave? Higher pay? No more than three new class preps per year?


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:15 PM
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but means she would be miserable at Heebie U

I don't think you can know that. She's come up on one track, and would be shifting to another. It doesn't mean she would be difficult/miserable/incompetent. I mean, ask Cala.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:17 PM
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120: Not the salary. Not the maternity leave. Those are both unrelated to research.

Asking for fewer unique class preps sounds as if it could just as easily be about wanting to teach better as about research. God knows I taught better the year I had three distinct classes than five, and I wasn't trying to do anything else other than avoid intestinal parasites.

And the delayed start date doesn't have to be about prioritizing research over teaching; it could be just as well about feeling loyalty to her current postdoc, and wanting to see if there was a way to take the job offer without leaving her current employer in the lurch.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:18 PM
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I'm just not getting why your reaction is "then she pulls this?!" with the interrobang.

I'm saying that if she was so very timid that she didn't feel like these topics could be broached during the interview, then it's 180° away to aggressively negotiate.

If you might negotiate aggressively, then you should get informed when you have the chance.

And if she was following advice about not raising these topics, why didn't she talk to someone at a similar institution? Show them her list of demands?

Honestly, to backpedal for a moment: I imagine the candidate is the victim of a perfect storm of well-intentioned advice, and is only a little naive and tone-deaf to boot. But she really sounds like a terrible fit for the job, as a result of these demands.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:18 PM
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Heebie, for how many years did you have four or more new class preps each year?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:19 PM
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It amuses me to be so thoroughly on LB's side in a disagreement. Wait, does this mean I'm wrong? Shit!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:19 PM
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Your take is interesting, Halford, because it's so foreign to us. If one half of the academic gentility is "we're not in it for the money," the other half is "offers never get pulled." This is the first time I've ever heard of such a thing--and I spend way too much time reading the Chronicle--and I think that's why we're all in such a tizzy about it.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:19 PM
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It amuses me to be so thoroughly on LB's side in a disagreement. Wait, does this mean I'm wrong? Shit!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:19 PM
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Yes, I said in the second comment that I was waiving the maternity leave. And if she were inquiring about Heebie U, then the salary is a semi-red-flag.

Individually, all of them (except maternity leave) make her sound a bit naive. Taken together, they sound insane.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:20 PM
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Heebie, for how many years did you have four or more new class preps each year?

Never. See comments 2 and 5.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:20 PM
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Why is it not sufficient, as a reason not to hire someone, to conclude that the person seems like a pain in the ass and not committed to your organization's goals? I don't know that this is the best evidence in the world of that, but it's some evidence, and they're not obligated to hire her until they've actually reached an agreement to do so, which her counter blew up.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:21 PM
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Oh wait. Four new preps per year? Probably the first 2-3 years.

But if I'd raised it as a concern, my department would have tried to work things out to minimize it. But they couldn't guarantee anything - I was one of two people who can teach upper-level math courses, and many of the courses are on a two year cycle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:22 PM
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Because it's a small department, and things need to be worked out informally all the time.

In the context of a job offer, this (and this is probably uncharitable of me) is reminding me a bit of the current Git/Hub situation. You don't work out terms of employment informally; that's a recipe for getting totally fucked.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:22 PM
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That salary is unusually high?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:22 PM
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No one thinks they're legally obligated to hire her, Halford. The questions are: were her demands evidence of someone ill-suited to the job (I say no), and was the department's decision to rescind, rather than clarify, dickish (I say yes).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:23 PM
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(I was thinking 4 new preps per semester.) Generally I'd have gotten ~2 course of precal or calculus series, and the ~2 courses in the Linear Algebra/Diff Eq/Discrete Math/Real Analysis/Abstract Algebra side of things. 4 new preps per year - easy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:23 PM
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You don't work out terms of employment informally; that's a recipe for getting totally fucked.

It depends. Something like what you're teaching which semester? You are cooperating with other people to get a job done under perpetually changing circumstances.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:24 PM
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I may be misunderstanding, since math is different from philosophy, but only 3 new class preps a year (even with a 4/4 load!) seems very reasonable to me to the point where you shouldn't even need to ask for it a smart department just wouldn't give you that many new preps if it cared at all about teaching.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:25 PM
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114: Deals negotiated by lawyers fall apart all the time, even after an offer, because counter-offers are too aggressive. At least this happens all the time in stuff I know a bit about, eg talent agreements.

Funny, I read this, and was nodding along because "Lawyer, giving the real facts of lawyerly life," and then thought that actually, this is pretty alien to my experience. Negotiations I've been in, if there's a offer on the table, I can't think of when I've seen that offer pulled. But of course I'm a litigator, I'm thinking about settlement negotiations, where usually we're not worried about an ongoing relationship after the settlement, so anything that unreasonable behavior reveals about a party's character isn't important.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:26 PM
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Philosophy classes are probably harder to prep because the answers aren't in the back of the book.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:26 PM
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I basically agree with 139 - they should be looking out for you. If you said that you're worried about new preps, they can happily load you up with intro courses.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:27 PM
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That salary is unusually high?

We offered our math hire four years ago $50K, I believe. I don't know how negotiations went.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:29 PM
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Something like what you're teaching which semester? You are cooperating with other people to get a job done under perpetually changing circumstances.

Sure, a certain amount of flexibility is important. But a) that's something that happens once you're actually working with those other people, not while you're trying to work out a job offer and b) boy does this sound like a situation ripe for abuse.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:31 PM
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Ha looks like I went to a party a long time ago at the chair's apartment. I knew him a little bit, he thought I was a pretentious jackass. Good judge of character, apparently.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:32 PM
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143: But that's before tips.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:33 PM
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121: Here you go, at the end of the thread.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:33 PM
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How long ago, bjk?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:35 PM
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b) boy does this sound like a situation ripe for abuse.

Heebie U is one of the most earnest, sincere, and cooperative environments possible. People sort of fall all over each other to help each other out.

I'll backpedal (twice now!) and say that maybe I just don't have a good sense of what other schools are like.

Like I said above, I wouldn't have rescinded the offer, but her demands would have shocked me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:35 PM
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According the Chronicle HeebieU salaries are significantly lower than NC, so it's not really an apples-to-apples comparison.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:35 PM
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132 before seeing 128. If there's an incredibly strong norm that offers never get pulled, no matter what post offer, pre agreement information is revealed, then I guess this violates that norm. But that's a slightly weird norm to have and maybe more evidence of how unique academic employment is.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:37 PM
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No one thinks they're legally obligated to hire her, Halford. The questions are: were her demands evidence of someone ill-suited to the job (I say no), and was the department's decision to rescind, rather than clarify, dickish (I say yes).

This is well-formulated, but what it really clarifies is that we don't know enough to answer either question with any confidence. The questions, without more, could be naivete and poor negotiating skills or could be someone ill-suited to the job. The decision, without more, could be dickish or could be prudent. We don't know what else happened between candidate and school so we're guessing at what's plausible based on other situations we've encountered.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:38 PM
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December 99 I think.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:39 PM
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The questions, without more, could be naivete and poor negotiating skills or could be someone ill-suited to the job.

We do have the information that they gave her the offer in the first place, thinking then that she was well suited to the job, and there's been no indication that there was any negative interaction other than the email with the questions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:41 PM
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The questions are: were her demands evidence of someone ill-suited to the job (I say no), and was the department's decision to rescind, rather than clarify, dickish (I say yes).

Yes to both.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:41 PM
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December 99 I think.

Ah, after my time, grasshopper.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:42 PM
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150: Hmm. Yes, somewhat lower. (And they were significantly worse five years ago. The new president has made salary parity a BFD because we were unable to hire people.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:44 PM
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Got pulled away for a bit, but just wanted to note that I basically agree with 116 -- if she's out of touch with reality, then a sharply delivered reality check may well have been appropriate. Pulling the offer just seems, well, brutal, harsh, ungracious, dickish, call it what you will.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:47 PM
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There's nothing in the Midwest accreditation standards that says the professor can't be a mule.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:47 PM
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154: An offer isn't necessarily an indication that the employer thinks someone is well-suited to the job, but only that they appear, on balance, to the best choice in the pool the employer is picking from. Sometimes that might be a conscious choice to go for a high-risk, high-reward candidate over a candidate who has somewhat less upside potential but looks safer. In that kind of situation, it wouldn't necessarily take all that much incremental indication of risk to make the employer reconsider.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:48 PM
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Heebie U is one of the most earnest, sincere, and cooperative environments possible. People sort of fall all over each other to help each other out.

Sure, and there are plenty of for-profit companies where treating terms of employment casually works just fine and everyone walks away happy. But IME they're rare, and the failure modes are pretty horrible, so generalizing from them seems like a really bad idea.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:50 PM
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I read somewhere that it was a very contentious, divided hiring decision, with basically a coin toss on which side's person to pick. I can see how this would have given the other side leverage to go for their candidate instead. According to the candidate herself, she was asking for about a 20% pay increase. Also, she has other TT offers, so my guess is she wasn't going to accept Nazareth's offer no matter what.

There's also an element of give/take with negotiations. They knew her skill set and made an offer. To ask for more/different compensation, she should show that she has something in addition to offer or that granting her her requests would make her a better employee. Even though they probably wouldn't be granted, if she framed her requests as how granting them would make her a better faculty member at Nazareth, she probably wouldn't have gotten the offer rescinded, keeping tone and substance the same.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:50 PM
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Shouldn't the school also take some responsibility for knowing what the conventions are, and not conclude that someone is treating them with disdain and is never going to be happy there because they asked about the possibility of a sabbatical?

Just for closure, this is not what she did. She asked for a pre-tenure exception. After a deferral. This sounds like someone who will be happy doing research and not happy teaching to the exclusion of research.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:50 PM
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161: Don't be a jerk in your cut-n-paste. The very next sentence was me conceding the point, so you don't need to keep arguing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:51 PM
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I taught one class. Teaching sucks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:51 PM
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164 sounds harsher than I meant it. I meant it to be chiding.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:52 PM
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She asked for all those things separately, recall.

It does sound like someone who would be happy doing research; going from there to "not happy teaching" seems unlicensed.

Also, it seems as if your response to the question "shouldn't the school have been more charitable/considered other explanations?" is "no. the school's conclusion is correct.", which, again, shouldn't you be more charitable?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:53 PM
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Research is great. I've been doing that for twenty years and still enjoy my work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:53 PM
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162 is useful info, and kind of makes me think it played out exactly right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:53 PM
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How did I get so fucking old?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:54 PM
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164: Sorry! I'm a little out of it and should probably have either more coffee or a nap.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:54 PM
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167 - I mean, see 116.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:54 PM
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171 - I mean, see 166.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:54 PM
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||

Does anyone have an e-mail for ydnew?

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:55 PM
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172: well, ok!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:56 PM
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I bet ydnew knows it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:57 PM
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Does anyone have an e-mail for ydnew?

No, but she did reply at 147 (just in case you missed that comment).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:57 PM
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163: What's the difference between asking about the possibility of a sabbatical and asking about a pre-tenure exception? Real question -- you sound like it's obvious, but those aren't words I know in enough detail to understand the distinction you're making.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:57 PM
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I might have written a stern response along the lines of "Are you sure you actually want to be at a teaching institution?"

I don't see how you could trust any reply to that. If I meant 'no, of course not, I love research but I also love eating and this is my only option to continue eating until my research pans out and I can get the hell back to civilization', I would write back 'why yes, I have always longed to teach'.

I can't see how an affirmative answer means yes for sure from the college's perspective.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:58 PM
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177 is like looking in a window at a useful version of me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:59 PM
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she has other TT offers

Aha! This is good information (cite?). If Nazareth knew that, and it had already been a close call, they could have reasonably interpreted her email as "If you give me the moon, I'll come" and decided to just cut her loose for everyone's peace of mind.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:01 PM
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I value and prioritize research. I would be happier, I think, at a different job. But that doesn't mean that I'm not glad to have this one, or that I don't do an excellent job teaching or that I don't like it, or that I'm not a team player.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:01 PM
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The former sounds like "I'd like to know about the norms and standards for this institution. What's it like to work here?" The latter sounds like "research is really important to me, and I'd like to carve out significant time for it."

Typically, your research will nearly grind to a dead stop for the first few years at a 4/4 institution. A lot of people (including me!) are really resurrecting their research when they get a sabbatical, post-tenure.

If you want to do research at a 4/4, it should involve student research - lots of support for that. That's not what a sabbatical implies, though. This sounds like a person who will be unhappy shelving her research for a few years.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:02 PM
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183 to 178.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:03 PM
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Huh, I thought she didn't have other offers.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:04 PM
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I don't see how you could trust any reply to that.

You can't. You're hoping to steer her away from accepting a job offer that she does not want, especially if she's deciding between different offers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:04 PM
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I get it -- the bare word sabbatical implies post-tenure, so asking about a pre-tenure sabbatical is very different from a post-tenure sabbatical.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:05 PM
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She didn't want the job on the terms offered, or any realistic alternative terms. She was offering a pretty radical counteroffer, to see if they might accept, which if all her requests were granted would have made the job offer a possibility she would actually have considered. But her counteroffer made crystal clear to the college that she didn't really want this job, and it seems very possible they felt significant time pressure to try and hire their second choice candidate. What if that candidate accepted an offer somewhere else? So, they obviously couldn't leave their offer hanging out there for several weeks while this clown took her time rejecting it. She made clear that she wasn't interested in the job, so they rescinded the offer. Her pretending to be offended by that is bullshit. The only party who did anything wrong here is her, for publishing this whole episode in a one-sided way that puts NC in a bad light. And obviously they're not going to jump into a public debate to defend themselves.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:06 PM
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187: Well, at research institutions, there do exist pre-tenure sabbaticals. And I have a friend who had one at Bates. That's why it seems like she's picturing a more prestigious or fundamentally different institution (than Heebie U, at least.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:06 PM
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Urple seems to be making sense so I assume I've had too much.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:11 PM
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188 is uncharitable but plausible.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:12 PM
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Maybe I've got it wrong, but the course preps per year seems crazy for a first year prof. After that, no problem, but at a little school, there will probably be very few courses that repeat every semester or run several sections. As in, they might have PHIL101/PHIL102 for freshman, where 101 is fall and 102 is spring. A more common (better understood) request is to request an upper level course every semester or to develop your own special topic. Or, if you want to teach intro courses, fine, say that. The way it's phrased says, "I don't want to do much work for my classes."

The sabbatical and maternity leave together is asking for 1-1.5 years not working out of your first seven. Fine, I guess, but taken with the rest, it doesn't seem like she's too thrilled about the work.

There are certainly ways to discuss delaying start dates, but it's a little insulting to imply that your postdoc is more important than their job. I can't imagine an postdoc leaving an employer in the lurch by accepting a job for fall 2014 in mid-spring 2014. If it's for personal reasons, fine, perhaps they could be explained.

The salary she's asking for seems high, but chiding the college for being out of step with current "industry standards" is really tone-deaf. Agree that rescinding is kind of awful, but I read that list and seriously did not want to work with her.

Does she have no friends who have jobs like these? Never met a SLAC prof at a conference and asked about their job? Didn't get any sense of what the members of the search committee did with their days?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:12 PM
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190: You know you're not supposed to eat that!


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:13 PM
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Sorry, BG - does the link in 147 give you what you were looking for?

Thanks, NickS.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:14 PM
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If she has other offers in hand, then my position would soften a lot. It'd be weird then for her email not to mention the other offers. I still think it'd be better to give the candidate the opportunity to say no rather than rescinding unilaterally, but in that case I'd understand the chair's position.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:14 PM
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I guess -- if she had other offers and Nazareth knew it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:20 PM
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Agree that it's a significantly different scenario if she had other offers in hand, both in terms of her likely motivation for sending the e-mail (less likely naivete, more likely deliberate hardball) and in terms of the amount of tears to be shed on her behalf.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:21 PM
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NC's response admittedly makes the most sense if they think she had other offers, regardless of whether that was true.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:23 PM
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I will say that if they thought she had other offers, while it doesn't seem to me to be that brutal, it still seems weird to me for them to treat an email like that as diagnostic of anything negative about her at all, other than maybe irrational optimism about what it's worth asking for.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:25 PM
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It's funny how everyone seems to immediately think that either the college is crazy or the applicant is crazy. My first response, I guess not surprisingly, was to think that the college is crazy. Because I have no idea how teaching colleges work, and those requests would be completely ordinary at a research university.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:25 PM
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it still seems weird to me for them to treat an email like that as diagnostic of anything negative about her at all

They didn't treat it as diagnostic of anything negative about her at all. They treated it as diagnostic of the fact that she was not going to accept the job offer.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:30 PM
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Like I say, I don't know the chair all that well, but if this other scenario was the case--she had other offers, he knew it, she asked for the moon just cuz--then I can very much see him writing that email with a smile on his lips and a Fuck You in his heart.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:32 PM
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201: That's idiotic. If their problem was that they thought she wasn't going to accept, why bother to rescind? Rescinding only makes sense if the college has decided that they don't want her, and would be displeased if she accepted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:32 PM
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203: they needed to be able to quickly extend an offer to another candidate, and couldn't do that with their offer to her hanging out there.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:34 PM
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203: no, if they had another candidate in mind who they needed to clear the decks for, they needed to rescind the offer to her.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:34 PM
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whom, and damn it I thought I'd get there first!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:35 PM
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Presumably, they had already given her a time-frame for acceptance, which was workable for them. Responding to her email with a quick "1. No. 2. No..." wouldn't have extended that timeframe a moment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:36 PM
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Or possibly 202 instead of 204. Either way.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:36 PM
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207 -- No, they were worried they'd lose the other guy, too, if he accepted someplace else. Urple is right that if they were convinced by the counter that she was going someplace else anyway, and wanted to get another person before that other person accepted someplace else, they would have been right to rescind as quickly as possible.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:41 PM
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Is staining one's clothes with food at least once a week something that should be taken as strong evidence that one just isn't cut out for a professional work environment? I just spilled sour cream on my suit AND my tie.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:42 PM
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I have strong opinions about this situation, mostly because it hits quite close to home for me, in two ways. I am relatively new faculty in the humanities at a not totally dissimilar institution just down the road from Naz (I literally drive by it on my commute). I think the gap between her asks and the realities of teaching at a place like Naz are real, but being exaggerated by many here. My institution gives everyone a pretenure sabbatical, pays close to what she's asking, and has an actual maternity leave policy. I don't know if you could negotiate a delay for a postdoc - I asked and was refused, but I didn't get offered the postdoc until after I'd already accepted their offer, so I had zero leverage at that point. Certainly no one held it against me to ask. Preps would depend on the specific position - in my department it would not be possible or particularly reasonable to ask, but I think our phil department would be receptive. I know I have a friend who is teaching three sections of intro there this semester.

Anyway, we are not Naz, but we are not so different. We have a 3-2 load and some research expectations, and fancy ourselves to be more prestigious, but are certainly not anywhere near elite. Certainly these asks don't suggest to me that she wants to be at an R1, although they might suggest she'd prefer a slightly more research-oriented SLAC. They absolutely don't suggest to me that she would not be a good faculty member at Naz.

Anyway, I have more to say about the politics of this but I will go eat dinner instead.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:43 PM
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210: I certainly hope it's not. Also, that's a shame about the tie. Maybe you can save the suit.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:46 PM
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210: On the contrary. Now you don't have to worry about packing lunch for tomorrow.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:46 PM
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207: It's not always possible to give a timeframe that's both within acceptable norms and which is compatible with the second candidate's deadlines. Losing out on the second candidate is a real worry.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:46 PM
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210: No. It's fine. At lunch today, I realized that my shirt had beer stains from when I spilled on it Monday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:47 PM
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I wish I knew so many schools had pretenure sabbaticals! The only place I knew of was Yale. Now I'm wishing I'd negotiated a pretenure sabbatical!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:48 PM
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Lots of places have pre-tenure sabbaticals. Places with 4/4 loads typically are not among them, but the advice is usually "it never hurts to ask."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:53 PM
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http://philosophysmoker.blogspot.com/2014/03/w-speaks-about-her-pfo-fo.html

She mentions successfully negotiating for other TT offers, so we can presume that she has preferrable options on the table.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:00 PM
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Rule: Don't haggle unless you're willing to walk away.

Corollary: Don't haggle unless what you're haggling over is somewhat important.

It appears she asked for a bunch of benefits because she thought she could, and not because she much cared about whether any particular one was granted. That shows awful judgment.

On the other hand, if one of these demands is indeed a deal-breaker, she could have focused on that demand alone, and likely gotten a better hearing. I'm not in academia, but at my business we wouldn't hesitate to retract an offer to somebody who asked for a shopping list like that.


Posted by: Dan | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:07 PM
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The advice in 219 is a recipe for not negotiating and getting screwed.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:09 PM
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Sorry, name fail. As though it matters given my grand total of a dozen comments here ever, but still.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:15 PM
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And a pre-tenure sabbatical *alone* wouldn't have been quite so staggering, although unlikely to be granted.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:15 PM
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Actually, comment fail. Not going to retype it all, but I think many negative reactions to her negotiations speak to a really insidious endorsement of the unequal power relations produced by the terrible job market in the humanities. I mean, the job market is terrible, but we shouldn't be *encouraging* colleges to use that as a defense against treating job candidates poorly, which I absolutely think is what happened here.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:17 PM
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The advice in 219 is generally good advice. It seems like the profs intuitions to the contrary are driven by a norm where even people in the humanities with only one job offer in a terrible market, and therefore no leverage or ability to walk, still "negotiate" after getting an offer. Which is a weird norm.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:29 PM
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Does she have no friends who have jobs like these? Never met a SLAC prof at a conference and asked about their job?

The second of these questions calls to mind the difference between humanities and science. I've never met a SLAC prof at a conference, because they don't go to the same conferences I do, because they don't have data to present.

And why does the answer to these have to be yes?

The "She has other offers and didn't want to work there so who cares" argument is more plausible, but the "She was naive" argument is still a possibility.

Clearly in this thread there are vast, not-even-overlapping differences between people's view on whether these negotiable issues should have already been discussed during a campus visit.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:37 PM
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http://philosophysmoker.blogspot.com/2014/03/w-speaks-about-her-pfo-fo.html

The things that strike me about that are:

1) She's remarkably gracious, all things considered. I'm sure she was pissed to get the e-mail.

2) It doesn't sound like she was deliberately being (or coached to be) aggressive to compensate for a natural dislike of negotiation -- she seems pretty comfortable.

3) It doesn't change my opinion of the situation at all (which, admittedly, isn't a very strong opinion, but I am inclined towards the gswift/Heebie end of the spectrum).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:40 PM
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I think many negative reactions to her negotiations speak to a really insidious endorsement of the unequal power relations produced by the terrible job market in the humanities

Christ, no it's not. The market is tight for almost everyone. No one is saying don't negotiate, but as a general rule if you're in a tight market you should avoid presenting a list of requests that make your potential employer wonder if you're high.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:42 PM
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Yeah, I don't think her employer could actually reasonably be wondering if she's high based on this list of requests. Also, yes, the job market is tight in general, but the job market in academic philosophy is worse than for just about anyone who's finished high school.

My position boils down to: at the moment, there is a strong norm against rescinding academic job offers after they are made. This norm is just about the only thing that allows most job candidates any degree of leverage in the process, and it's very important to support it in all but the most egregious scenarios. This set of requests might be slightly eyebrowraising, but it's not egregious.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:55 PM
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I'm trying to imagine the reaction if I'd presented a similar list when the chief gave me my offer letter. "I'm very enthusiastic about the possibility of becoming a police officer. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier. 1. A guarantee of at least one weekend day off.
2. A sabbatical from the homeless shelter at some point.
3. No more than two dead bodies a year for the first three years."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:57 PM
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It's not abuse of candidates if what they're asking for is wildly different than what the current faculty gets. At Heebie U, it would be. I would think she's high.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:57 PM
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at the moment, there is a strong norm against rescinding academic job offers after they are made. This norm is just about the only thing that allows most job candidates any degree of leverage in the process, and it's very important to support it in all but the most egregious scenarios.

This is silly. The leverage a candidate has comes from the fact that the institution wants to hire that specific candidate. Not from the norm of whether or not anyone withdraws an offer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 5:59 PM
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This situation reminds me of a non-academic job negotiation I did years ago that ended in a mutual walk-away after the company extended me an offer. I had been laid off from my previous software job back in March of 2003, at the height of a tech recession, and I had been meeting with a job counselor at an outplacement firm that was part of my layoff package, who advised me on my search and negotiation strategy. Meanwhile, I was working on an independent research project, developing some prototype software that I hoped would at least turn into a publication, and possibly a startup.

By November, I had landed my second interview, the first to result in an actual offer (my first interview with another company got caught up in a job freeze that got imposed the week after I interviewed). I had told my job counselor that I wanted to make sure I could finish the workshop paper I was working on, but he advised me to avoided discussing that with the company until after they extended me an offer. (Using pretty much the same rationale discussed above, that the post-offer period is the time of maximum leverage for the employee.) So a couple of days after the company extended an offer, I met with the hiring manager, and I told him that the proposed salary and benefits were fine, and I was eager to work for him, but that I needed to either delay my start date by a month, or go part-time for the first 3-4 months, so I could finish the program and my workshop paper on my own time.

He was taken aback by my requirement, and told me he would have to discuss it with his manager and get back to me. The next day, he called me back, and told me that his manager had concluded that this demand showed I wasn't serious enough about the job, so they were withdrawing the offer. I told him I was sorry to hear that, but if they were unable to accommodate me on this, I would not be able to accept.

In retrospect, it's probably just as well that they didn't accept my proposal. In the wake of that exchange, I suspended my job search, blew off the balance of my unemployment insurance (which might not have been available anyway, depending on whether or not the authorities considered that exchange to be me declining an offer of employment), and embarked on three really intense months of work to finish the program and the paper. That got even more intense a few weeks in when I got word that someone else at the same workshop was going to be be presenting what seemed to be very similar work (it turned out to be not quite as similar as the title had suggested, but I thought I was in a real race to publication). I had already been scooped once before on an idea I had spent years developing, and I was determined not to let that happen again. If I had had to juggle a full-time job after the first month of that sprint, it would have been excruciating.

When I met with the job counselor for the last time, shortly after that exchange, he was surprised that the company had withdrawn the offer, but he was also surprised that I had taken such a firm line about it, in spite of all I had told him about how important that paper was to me. He told me that nineteen out of twenty people in my position would have backed off as soon as they encountered resistance, or groveled to get the offer back. I told him that he had just met the twentieth.

I was greatly privileged, of course, to have enough savings that I wasn't financially desperate to take the job. But given that, it was actually a pretty easy choice. I told myself at the time that if I hadn't found another job in my field within five years, I would regret not having taken the job. But I also knew that if I didn't finish the paper, I would be asking myself "what if" for the rest of my working life. Ultimately, I went with the choice that I would regret sooner if I didn't take it.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:03 PM
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The thing that I'm most shocked about in this thread is how many candidates are being advised not to discuss in frank terms what working at the school is like.

If it's good advice, I'm appalled that so many schools have such fragile egos about their strengths and weaknesses. If it's bad advice, then that kind of fear-mongering does everyone a real disservice.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:08 PM
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heebie, you've mentioned how high the salary demand would be for your employer so often I have to ask - you are considering it compared to what she was offered rather than to what you would pay, right? Pretty sure there are major cost of living differences.

I'm annoyed by the comments like 204/209 that stress constraints on the school - not that there won't be internal constraints and preferences and politics, but everyone here knows how ridiculously advantaged academic employers are today - and against 227, I'd guess an order of magnitude than any other industry, because where else do people train for years for jobs that barely exist anymore? Regardless of what they themselves may think, swimming placidly in the sea of their market power, they are probably going to be extremely well-served by anyone in their top 10. I'm playing my tiny violin if they lose their second choice.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:14 PM
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You reacted very strongly to her list of requests. Don't you think that if she communicated at her interview that those were things she'd like, that there's a chance you'd let her inquiries influence you against giving her an offer?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:17 PM
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I was told that no one ever gets a pretenure sabbatical at my institution, but the guy across the hall got one. This is perfectly in line with all the other evidence that some of the junior faculty are treated as if they're actually real colleagues who are going to be around for a while, and the rest of us are treated like our job is to do whatever the senior people tell us to do and then leave in five years.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:21 PM
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The candidate's response makes one thing clear: Heebie's 120 is so, so wrong.

When I was working on the campaign, lo these ten years ago, some young, eager guys showed up from out of state and asked how they could help. Next, they asked what there was to do on the weekends. They were sent home.

candidates are being advised not to discuss in frank terms what working at the school is like

Not quite: they're being advised not to ask anything that makes it sound like they have high expectations or dealbreakers. It's a fine line between incurious and high-maintenance.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:24 PM
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The norm matters because without it candidates would feel they had to continue to, for example, pretend they don't have kids during the negotiation phase.

Naz is actually in a super cheap area of the country, so heebie's comparisons are probably on point. Although the terrible weather should count as negative salary or something.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:24 PM
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234: I haven't mentioned it since Unfoggedtarian explicitly compared Heebie U and NC.

235: I'm sure everyone will cry foul, that I'm demanding perfection in a candidate, but it would depend on how she asked. If I got the sense that she wants to know the ins and outs of Heebie U, then no problem. If it seems like she's poorly suited to Heebie U because she actually wants a research position, then that will count against her.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:28 PM
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gswift you are in a union. So your job conditions are bargained collectively. People who aren't so lucky as to be in a union have to bargain individually. You can't make those kinds of demands, but presumably your union opens negotiations aggressively (and if they don't then you should get a better union).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:30 PM
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238: maybe I'm out of touch, but you're asserting a slippery slope that sounds ludicrous. You can't mention your kids because some other woman asked for items 1, 3, and 5?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:31 PM
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I am probably? maybe? underpaid for my position, but I got buckets of perks (and am no kind of superstar). The main thing that I think went wrong with this email was that it was an email. Most everyone (presumably including the recipients) reads it as a list of demands, despite its real attempts at indicating that she doesn't expect anything like all of these things, she just wants to put them all on the table. That's a lot easier to pull off in a way that feels exploratory rather than demanding on the phone.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:31 PM
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Also, 204/209 seem eminently reasonable to me. Why should the search come up empty if there's a situation that's best for everyone that depends on rescinding the offer? I'm assuming knowledge of other tt offers in saying this was best for the candidate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:34 PM
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239.2 really just seems like asking for trouble, or rather asking to trouble the candidate. Judgments of "how she asks" and your sense if that it REALLY means will weigh that much? Better to keep your trap shut since who knows how your attempt at a polite inquiry will be taken.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:34 PM
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240: I'm joking around there, but the point is that making those demands would indicate that I had a hugely unrealistic expectation of what my job at that department would entail and that the dept. would be right in thinking that maybe I wasn't a good long term investment.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:35 PM
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"If that" should be "of what".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:36 PM
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I also most certainly torpedoed myself once in a 4-4 campus visit by asking too much about research-flavored things. It all worked out for me, and I am happier where I am (because I really really like where I am, except after overly fraught department/college/whatever meetings) but I did truly like it there too! And they were making noises about supporting research so I thought I was picking up what they were putting down, but I was el wrongo.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:37 PM
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Hmm. The Chronicle's numbers for the two state schools where I had offers are within a few percent of what I was offered. Their number for my current institution is more than 30% higher than what I'm paid. Are they including summer salary?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:37 PM
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244: I'm just saying, if she brought up all five items in the interview, she could easily do so in a way that would be completely reasonable, and she could do so in a way that communicates that she is looking for an R1 job. Observing that there's a ton of different ways to frame your questions isn't silencing the candidate. It's how human communication works.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:40 PM
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249: But, as a number of people have said, pretty much everyone who goes on the job market is given a lot of advice about not asking these kinds of questions until they have an offer in hand. Also, at the better-organized places I interviewed, the chair always explained all of these things to me; at the poorly-organized places, they didn't, just kind of said "so, any questions?" and then talked about their research or the local football team or whatever.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:42 PM
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I'm not making a slippery slope argument, I'm saying that there are things that candidates are already encouraged not to mention while interviewing, and if colleges feel that they can rescind offers, candidates will feel that they have to keep up the pretense until they have a signed contract.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:43 PM
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The chair doesn't sound very competent. If he'd been doing his job properly, he could have gently brought the candidate down to earth about what was possible and avoided any scandal. She was trying to do right thing for herself in accordance with what she'd likely been told about job negotiations. She was just doing it with a tiny place that almost certainly couldn't do most of the things she asked for, even if they wanted to. Maybe she was a little ham-fisted about it, but so what--she's a grad student and doesn't know much. BFD. Even small places have their pick of people in the current market, so they should've been a little nicer about it.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:44 PM
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192 There are certainly ways to discuss delaying start dates, but it's a little insulting to imply that your postdoc is more important than their job.

I think somewhere around 90% of people I know who started faculty jobs in the last several years delayed the start date to keep doing a postdoc. I guess this is a research vs. teaching thing, but it's totally standard in the research university context.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:46 PM
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See 233. I get that, now.

It's clear to me that my experience doesn't reflect squat, after this thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:47 PM
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254 to 250.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:47 PM
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On this particular topic, at least, McMegan is making sense.

Did I just write that? Good heavens!


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:50 PM
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It's possible that there are just epic amounts of bad advice going around. I didn't follow a lot of the advice because I wasn't comfortable making big demands, but I was told by several people to ask for even more than the most extravagant thing that seemed remotely plausible.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:51 PM
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The chair doesn't sound very competent.

Chair has tenure. Doesn't matter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:52 PM
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Maybe this person just spent too much time reading liberal blogs, and was convinced that she needed to move the "Overton Window" on the negotiation by making outrageous demands.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:53 PM
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Good grief, McMegan and Urple in the same thread? Next you're going to tell me Ogged is back or something.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:54 PM
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257: I am understanding this all a lot better since I stopped thinking about it from the perspective of someone who's been in professional jobs for a while and recalled some of the stuff that passed through the law student/junior associate grapevine as What You Must Do.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:57 PM
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224 It seems like the profs intuitions to the contrary are driven by a norm where even people in the humanities with only one job offer in a terrible market, and therefore no leverage or ability to walk, still "negotiate" after getting an offer. Which is a weird norm.

That may be partly because you're thinking of it in the wrong way. A lot of these negotiations are really between the department and the university (deans or other administrative types). The department chair usually wants the candidate to get a lot of these demands met because it's a way of extracting resources from the university. I'm not sure how this translates across the research/teaching divide, but for things like startup funds, the department chair definitely has an interest in the candidate pressing as hard as possible for a large amount of money.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:58 PM
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So at the time when I had a single offer, the negotiation was basically the department chair telling me "it's in our best interests that you're successful, so make a case for us about what you need to do your work without too many distractions and we'll bring it to the deans."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:59 PM
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Amazingly, 256 is indeed right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:00 PM
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And to be clear, I don't think that the college had any obligation to give her any of what she was asking for. It's the rescinding the offer for asking that is the problem.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:02 PM
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Ah. 262 is informative and I wasn't thinking of that dynamic. That does make the college's position a little bit more annoying, if there's an understanding that you can ask for whatever you want because you're just helping the department to demand more from the administration.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:02 PM
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265: well, I think they were jerks how they handled it too, so comity.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:04 PM
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262 is true! 256 is also, bizarrely, true.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:05 PM
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It might be different at teaching institutions. I think part of heebie's reaction is that it seems like some of the requests could come at the expense of other faculty. If there's a given set of courses that have to be taught no matter what, one person getting some relief adds more work for others. As opposed to research funds, where you can make the pie higher for everyone.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:05 PM
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262-3, 266: Yeah. Chairs can be variably competent and on your side in recruitment. But the basic idea that you're really negotiating with the Dean--with the Chair as broker--is right, if only because in general Chairs have no budgetary authority over salary-setting, research money, etc.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:06 PM
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I haven't read the thread, but my initial response was, if I'm Nazareth, I'd wonder what about our search process led us to make the offer in the first place? But they probably could have had a discussion with the candidate and, if the candidate turned out to really be R-focused, then rescinded the offer and not gotten the notoriety they've gotten now.

Losing an offer is a nightmare for a job candidate - though now I guess she can finish the postdoc and go on next year's market - but it's also usually a disaster for the department. I don't know Nazareth's financial situation, but failed searches can be pretty costly.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:08 PM
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The chair might have different ends. If the department has decided this candidate is a pain in the ass, he might want to give an excuse for rescinding an offer in order to make an offer to the other candidate.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:08 PM
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A lot of these negotiations are really between the department and the university (deans or other administrative types). The department chair usually wants the candidate to get a lot of these demands met because it's a way of extracting resources from the university.

Right. It may well be a dean (or someone else in admin) who put the kibosh on the negotiating-by-email candidate.

Amazing how many comments this case has generated, given our lack of concrete information.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:09 PM
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Why do people think Nazareth cares how they look here? They're breaking the norm discussed above so future candidates will be less inclined to negotiate, Naz has to give up less, it's not like people will stop applying given the market.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:10 PM
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269: yeah, maybe. A finite pie coupled with prisoner's dilemma - a department works best when it's collaborative. Not only is the pie finite, but you're threatening our collaborative, generous atmosphere with your technique.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:11 PM
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257: Don't you think that was because they thought you were buying a chinchilla or something?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:12 PM
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I admit that in a SLAC department with four tenure track faculty, it'd have been hard for the chair to read these requests and not reply with the subject line "JESUS IT'S NAZARETH".


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:15 PM
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The chair might have different ends.

One hopes or that would require a weird hat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:15 PM
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Heebie, I don't even think this is academia-specific, just general interviewing advice. It's understood at all kinds of interviews that the candidates are naturally interested in, say, the benefits package, but if the candidate actually asks about the package before the offer, that's often taken to be a Bad Sign.

But no matter how general the advice is, I think it's excellent advice for candidates from Mme. Merle U. Can you imagine if they showed up at Heebie U and started asking about salaries and leave policies? It wouldn't take a fragile ego for your department to suspect that the answers to those questions, if they're so important that they *had* to be asked prematurely, were not going to satisfy.



Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:18 PM
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That is not the same as asking about the tenure and sabbatical processes in general, so that you get a sense of what's normal on campus.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:23 PM
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277 is funny.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:27 PM
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(Delurking) I'm very late to this particular conversation about "W," but I want to underscore Sarabeth's comments about the strong norm of not rescinding an offer being one of the few protections that academic job-seekers have. The violation of this norm, to me, marks a shift towards even shittier working conditions for academics across the board. And I think the "she should have known better" comments play into that erosion (as maybe someone upthread mentioned) by implying there is a non-arbitrary world in which this might not have happened--if W had been fully knowledgeable/fully advised/ fully a rational human being.

In judging whether "W" was out of line or out of touch in her negotiations (and I do think the $65G is a wee bit high), it's worth considering too what information she did or did not get during her on campus interview. I was a TT faculty member at Naz until a couple of years ago (I resigned) in a different department, and my on campus interview was more than a little misleading on some issues (especially how supportive of research the institution was) and utterly clear on other (sabbatical timing). So, W's requests ALSO suggest that there was a huge failure on the dept's side in the on-campus interview. Tenure criteria and sabbatical timing should have been a standard item in the chair's discussion with the candidate. On the other hand, from the on campus interview I thought the institution valued research such that allowing for a delayed start wouldn't be crazy (also, this is something the hiring committee knew about when they invited W to campus).

Re 2: Naz has no official policy for maternity leave. Seriously. No policy. It's completely dependent on the relevant chair and dean. In this case, fuck yeah I'd try to get something in writing.

Re 4: for most departments (as of 2 years ago), this was pretty defacto across the college, so I'm not sure where the dept's objection arises.


Posted by: Sensibility | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:29 PM
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Me again: yes, my sense is that the the Dean and VPAA were key elements in the offer being rescinded.


Posted by: Sensibility | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:33 PM
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Naz has no official policy for maternity leave.

How does that even work? People negotiate one-off deals for whatever they can get beyond FMLA? That would be a very crazy way to do things.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:41 PM
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253: Yes, the boyfriend is bringing home reports about a friend's job search that involves a one year delay in order for his wife to complete a full year at her postdoc, which doesn't strike me as odd at all. The way that her point is written, it just sounds like she'd rather be at the postdoc for another year than at the job for no particular reason (or at least not a reason that would be mutually beneficial). With research-based positions, she might be bringing some of her postdoc work for the greater glory of the college, but the extension might not benefit a teaching university. Maybe she was clearer in previous e-mails, but the goal of the postdoc is frequently to get the job, right?

Cryptic Ned @225, I've got friends from grad school at SLACs. One in particular has taken a few students to the big national conference every year. She's not at a college that does much (any?) research, but she's there taking the students to talks. She goes to regional meetings with students as well. There are often education talks, too, which one might attend for networking purposes. I don't know anyone who takes undergrads to little boutique conferences.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:43 PM
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Having read more of the thread, I'm definitely sympathetic to the candidate. I do think it's the institution's responsibility for making sabbatical, start date, teaching commitments, salary, etc. clearer to the candidates, so they can get a better sense of the candidates' expectations before making an offer. If you really don't want to hire someone you think will run off to a research institution as soon as they can, design your hiring process so it's hard for candidates to hide that ultimate goal.

In other venues, a number of people have said that the candidate was probably negotiating based on the advice of someone senior who doesn't know what the market is like. Yes, candidates should be able to work some of these things out in research, but I'm sympathetic to people who get screwed over by bad job search advice given by people who don't seem like they're giving bad advice.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:43 PM
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284: that's actually how it's done at heebie u. It's not good. My chair and provost have always been great, but it's not a good system.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:44 PM
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When I was in history grad school, a postdoc who was just finishing up in the department got two offers: one from a teaching focused, but graduate program-having, rural state school in a Dakota or Minnesota or somewhere else northern, cold, and isolated and a rural SLAC that's probably better known than Nazareth but still probably not that well known outside of the state it's in. The SLAC offer came second and the postdoc took it fairly quickly. The most common response I heard from faculty in my department was: "Congratulations! [pause] You'll be able to write your way out of there."

The postdoc also got congratulatory emails from people at the state school, one of which said: "Congratulations! You deserved better [than here]."

Ten years later, I see that the postdoc got a book published (the manuscript was complete at the end of the postdoc, so not too much of a surprise), got tenure at the SLAC, and was recently awarded a prize for teaching.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:59 PM
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I don't have time to read this whole thread because I'm packing, but is anyone disagreeing with Essear about W's requests being totally normal for physical scientists at an R1 university? Because that was I.F.'s impression, too, and as she's right in the middle of negotiations, it's a matter of serious concern.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:03 PM
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Given all the sexual harassment in philosophy departments, maybe the chair figured her talk of maternity leave was a very direct chat-up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:10 PM
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It is outrageous that female job-seekers and female job-holders have to worry about negotiating a maternity leave. There should be a universal, paid parental leave policy (like unemployment insurance, worker's comp, and etc.). It would save everyone a whole lot of trouble; and anyway, it is backward and retrograde and unfeminist to not have a federal program.

If the Nazareth College candidate is currently pregnant, then I have a lot of sympathy for request/demand #2 (which wouldn't be a demand, or even a request, really, if there was a federal paid parental leave policy). If, on the other hand, she is currently not pregnant but is just thinking about maybe being in the family way in another year or two or five, then number 2 reads as just another item in a laundry list which signals: 'I actually have a much better job offer from a much better school, but I just thought I'd throw this out for your consideration to see how you would respond.'


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:10 PM
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My reaction to this - as someone who inhabits a totally different part of academia - depends a lot on when this email was sent. If it was sent the day after the offer was made, I'm on team "clueless but give her a chance." If it came weeks after the offer, with no or little communication in the interim, and if I knew she had offers from research oriented institutions, then it doesn't seem unreasonable to pull the offer.

And i will say that the requests, taken together, seem remarkable. She's asking to not teach 2.5 of the next seven years. I realize the maternity part of that is different from the others, but taken together the request is going to pose significant hurdles to all but a handful of R1s.


Posted by: spysander looner | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:23 PM
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289: Everywhere I looked at did pre-tenure course reductions, but not pre-tenure sabbaticals. Other than that, yeah all pretty standard for an R1 in math. I assume physical sciences are if anything better than math.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:23 PM
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287: Actually maybe not entirely crazy when I think about it more. I guess you end up with "comply with FMLA" as the policy and then negotiate additional time the same way you'd work with someone who wanted extended leave for some other purpose. But pregnancy seems to be something that happens to people with enough regularity that a more systematic solution is appropriate if you're routinely allowing more than FMLA requires.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:25 PM
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...as you obviously should.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:28 PM
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292: Maybe the folks here in the overlap of the lawyer/academic Venn diagram can speak to this with more actual knowledge than I, but one of the issues with FMLA in an academic context is that it tends not to work (or it's claimed not to work). So (at Naz, eg), folks are negotiating up to FMLA leave allowances, not up from. And it is, indeed, negotiated individually each and every time.

When I've discussed this with my EEOC lawyer friend her head explodes. She keeps saying, "But there's not an exception/FMLA applies."


Posted by: Sensibility | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:39 PM
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I concur completely with gswift and heebie here. I think she was pretty clueless at best and crazy at worst (and I also agree the school should probably not have pulled the offer). Here is the reaction I would have had as a Humanities chair if I had received her requests--the maternity request is fine; I don't hold the salary request against her, but it shows a total lack of reality to expect to get 20% more (as an illustration, if a new hire at my institution, a 4/4 SLAC in BFE, wanted 20% more than our starting salary, they would be making the same amount as I do (tenured and chair)). Every other request indicates to me that she wants to be at an R1 instead of a low-prestige SLAC. The restriction on preps is not possible given the small department and the nature of meeting the students' needs (they need some classes to be offered at certain times; if it is a new prep for you, too bad). For the pre-tenure sabbatical, she might as well have requested to take it on the moon. My institution doesn't offer these; even post-tenure sabbaticals are quite competitive--it's not a given. Both of these requests indicated that the teaching of undergraduates is not her main focus. The reason this would really count against her is that either she is 1) going to leave in 3 years or 2) will get tenure because getting tenure at a place like this is actually pretty easy and then make life difficult for everyone (but mostly me, her chair) for the next 30 years.

The problem with option 1 is that I just spent some hard earned capital with the VPAA convincing him to fill my line in the Humanities and let me do a search, then I probably spend 5 grand on the search (national conference, plane tickets, suite, campus interviews). If she leaves in 3 years, there is no guarantee I will get to replace her. If enrollment is down or the number of philosophy majors is down, the VPAA will probably decide not to fill the line, and we'll hire another athletic training instructor or something. So I could permanently lose this tenure line, which is something I do NOT want to have happen.

The problem with option 2 is that I ALREADY have a member of the department who is a terrible fit for the institution and who has tenure. There are thousands of collaborative decisions that have to be made (who is judging the senior seminar papers? who will present the philosophy major award? who is meeting with prospective students? who wants to take students to the undergraduate research conference? who will go take students to the career workshop, etc. etc.) for the good of the students and the program, and if one person in a four person department isn't gung ho and aggressively trying to help students succeed and learn (in part by doing the myriad of extra things that fall outside teaching in the classroom proper), that work will fall to the other three. Right now, the three other people have more work to do because one person doesn't really pull his weight, and this lack of enthusiasm is not enough to justify any kind of disciplinary sanction, and it wasn't enough to prevent him from getting tenure. It is just enough to make everyone else's lives a little more miserable, and because the job market is super tough, people can't move to places that are a better fit for them. Also, I would say that it is not great for the students because his teaching is adequate (he is very easy), but he is not giving them as much in the classroom as they would get from another instructor who actually wanted to do some work and teach them. It's also not great for him; he is clearly NOT happy and is always complaining about the institution's culture, which also makes it significantly not great to see this person everyday. So I really don't want to hire another person like him. Also, these kind of high-maintenance faculty are really a pain to supervise, and as the supervisor, I want to avoid that.

The tight job market creates problems for both sides of the hiring process and it make the process more high stakes for everyone. It is more binding than marriage these days--you should just basically assume these decisions will be binding you for the next 30-40 years (on both sides of the equation).


Posted by: Woodrow Wilson | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:58 PM
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she wants to be at an R1 instead of a low-prestige SLAC

Are there people, fresh out of graduate school, who prefer to be at low-prestige SLACs rather than R1s? Maybe there are, but I've never met even a single one. That's not to say there aren't people who prefer teaching to research -- I think I might be one of those people, though I don't like teaching seminars, unless they're filled with very smart students -- just that most freshly minted PhDs don't have their sights set on low-prestige jobs.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:58 PM
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Anyway, she did a lousy job negotiating -- she didn't do enough research, she asked for too much, she used e-mail -- but yanking the offer seems like an overreaction. Unless, as others have suggested, they knew she had other, possibly better, offers and they wanted to move on quickly to the next candidate.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:01 PM
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298: they might not want to be at low-prestige SLACs but they might want to be at a SLAC. Some PhDs are focused on teaching. I knew I didn't want to go R1 by the end of grad school.


Posted by: Woodrow Wilson | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:36 PM
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I would have loved a job at a SLAC rather than an R1 fresh out of grad school. But I was acculturated in my PhD program to think of teaching as less professionally significant than research -- even though my advisors were both prize-winning teachers -- and so I'm sure the questions I asked during first campus interviews could easily have been misconstrued as indicating a lack of interest in pedagogy. I've since proven myself a reasonably capable and popular classroom teacher, which leaves me thinking that reading too much subtext into this young woman's requests may well be a mistake.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:49 PM
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I should be clear that I'm not trying to argue with you so much as suggest that it's hard to know what people's interests are (not to mention what their talents are) when the job market is such a funhouse mirror.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:51 PM
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Again, both sides made mistakes. But such is the job market. Shit is fucked up and bullshit.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:52 PM
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289

Totally normal for the non physical sciences at R1s as well. We have new hires who get multi year research leave before they even show up. Of course, on the flip side getting tenure requires award-winning books and possibly a MacArthur genius award.

I think the consensus is at a research university or even a more prestigious SLAC her demands would be totally reasonable.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:11 PM
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289: Was I correct in having the impression that her job offer was outside the US? That might also change the story of what's a reasonable thing to ask for.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:38 PM
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The R1 situation is completely different, because the "negotiations" (except salary) are really attempts to delineate common interest between the faculty member and the institution: "If you give me this leave and that start-up and the other tech support, my research will flourish and we will all be happy." W could have made such an argument for part of her request: "Limiting my course preps in the first few years would help me do a better job in the classroom." But a delayed start and a pre-tenure sabbatical do nothing for a teaching institution; the latter can even be a real stumbling block for those who are struggling to bring teaching up to tenurable standard. As an R1 dean, I had to persuade more than one person not to take the pre-tenure research leave to which they were entitled because it would not give them time to overcome a flawed teaching record from their first few years.

As it is, she is not negotiating, because she has nothing new to offer as her contribution to the negotiation. She is only bluffing. She didn't ask for these things before the offer (we presume) because it would have reduced the chances that she was offered the job. So why is it a surprise that asking for them later produces the same reaction?

I was told I almost had the offer for my current job (a presidency) pulled because I didn't say "yes" to the board chair immediately when he called me -- unexpectedly at 9pm -- to make the offer. I said I needed to consult with my partner and would call him in the morning. He confessed later to having been very surprised and taken aback by that response.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:41 PM
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I was told I almost had the offer for my current job (a presidency) pulled because I didn't say "yes" to the board chair immediately when he called me -- unexpectedly at 9pm -- to make the offer. I said I needed to consult with my partner and would call him in the morning. He confessed later to having been very surprised and taken aback by that response.

I guess VW's lucky the Bancroft people didn't rescind his award.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:49 PM
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I guess VW's lucky the Bancroft people didn't rescind his award.

I expect that by the end of the conversation in which they informed me that I had won they wanted to do just that.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:54 PM
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I am now somewhat curious who Thomas Jefferson is, both here and in real life.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:54 PM
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But not curious enough to stay awake for much longer. Good night.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:55 PM
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Good night.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:56 PM
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I should go to bed myself, since I have to get up really early to catch a flight, but I know I won't for a while.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:18 AM
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This week I've been getting a lesson in how super-high-powered academic politics works. There's an epic battle shaping up in [country I'm visiting] between people who want to build an epically large [experimental thing] that would dominate the field for the next few decades, and people who want to build a smaller [experimental thing] that would let them keep doing slightly more precise measurements of the totally boring numbers they've been measuring for decades. Because the older people here seem to completely dominate and to not care about anything except the science they were excited about thirty years ago, the small-scale, totally uninteresting thing with no vision might win out over the epic thing that everyone else in the world would be totally in awe of. I'm going to go bang my head into a wall repeatedly now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:51 AM
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But if the people in that country don't build the epic thing, maybe you could! (Okay, I realize it doesn't really work that way.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:53 AM
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What if the epically large [experimental thing] destroys the [reasonably comprehensive local region of spacetime]?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:54 AM
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314: There's an outside chance of getting it built in Europe. There is zero chance in the US, because we can't afford it. That's another thing people here keep asking: if you're all so excited about it, why don't you build it? We try to explain how the US Congress has to allocate funds, and is completely dysfunctional, and they get very confused.

Here you just have to convince the right people at the top. The trouble is that very senior members of their national academy of science are strongly opposed and in favor of much less interesting projects, basically as a way to protect their own social status. The strongest supporter of the exciting project had a fairly major recent discovery, but his entry into the academy of sciences was blocked by people who have a grudge against him, so he has less sway with the government even though his standing in the international scientific community is much higher.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:57 AM
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What if the epically large [experimental thing] destroys the [reasonably comprehensive local region of spacetime]?

I think they call that "success."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:05 AM
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316.2 doesn't sound that different from how things work here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:52 AM
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Well, not "here" here. There here. You know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:52 AM
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As someone who has to hire people (not academics) from time to time, my sympathy is entirely with the applicant. The university was at best incredibly stupid. Plus, you'd think that they would think a little bit of the optics (and the legality!) of "we gave her an offer and she asked for maternity leave so we pulled the offer". But that sort of thing's probably legal over there.

Nazarene assistant professors apparently get between $50k and $70k, averaging $56k (web search) so $65k was towards the high end of the scale, especially for a new starter, but it wasn't ludicrously high, I would have thought. I'm not familiar enough with the environment to look at the rest, but if four course preps are standard, as heebie says, asking for three isn't insanely ambitious.

On the other hand, I bet the rest of the faculty are duly cowed now. No more complaints about salary or course load from them for a few years at least. If they'd happily bin a perfectly good candidate just for asking for time off for research, or maternity leave, presumably they'd happily fire an existing member of staff for doing the same thing.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:45 AM
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You know, essear, Max Planck once said "science advances funeral by funeral". And if these old guys are really getting in the way of scientific progress, than I know what Max would want you to do. I know what Science needs you to do.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 4:14 AM
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Are there people, fresh out of graduate school, who prefer to be at low-prestige SLACs rather than R1s?

Me. I definitely wanted a teaching school, and I felt a little uneasy about a prestigious SLAC. At the time, the reservation was most honestly phrased as "I'm not smart enough to teach the students at a great school." And in hindsight, I'd phrase it like this: it would have taken me longer to become a really good teacher for stronger students, and someone else is a better fit.

Whereas I'm great at breaking things down for medium to weak students, and enjoy feeling needed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 4:58 AM
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In my group of friends, there were several who wanted low-prestige SLACs. Some didn't want to do any research ever again, some wanted to avoid uncertainty in tenure decisions because grad school was enough stress for a lifetime, and some had very specific geographical preferences. One of the better grad student researchers I know is teaching at a tiny Catholic college in rural South Carolina that gives two and four year degrees. It was exactly what she wanted to do, and she was thrilled with the position.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:08 AM
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I miss having a research project. I want to write a paper called "Objectively Disgusting" on the veridical use of disgust as a moral emotion. My main claim would be that an employee not washing his hands before returning to work is objectively disgusting, while gay sex is not objectively disgusting.

In the talk version, I might show a clip of the Seinfeld episode where he gets his girlfriend's father in trouble because the father runs a restaurant and doesn't wash his hands, and that really grosses Jerry out. I won't show a clip of gay sex, though.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:26 AM
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What about washing your hands after sex? Or before sex if you touched the food at Arby's.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:31 AM
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If you have a low-prestige SLAC, isn't it just a LAC?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:34 AM
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Or is the S for "small"? I thought it was "selective".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:44 AM
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Sleepy Little Arts Colleges.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:47 AM
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Sexy Love Affairs Colleges.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:49 AM
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Seed, Livestock, and Agriculture College.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:51 AM
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t's interesting that this candidate not only made a bunch of requests that suggest "crazy person" in context, but also went very public when the institution responded by withdrawing the offer. One wonders if there were more warning signs when she was on campus and the email tipped the internal balance from people who thought she was worth taking a chance on to people who thought "crazy person! stay away!"

I agree with Dave L, in part, based on Heebie's comments that these demands demonstrate a lack of knowledge of the institution.

I would guess that someone had raised some red flags, but other things weighed more heavily so they made her an offer. Then, this email came back, and someone said to the other committee members "SEE????? She is going to be a problem."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:52 AM
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I won't show a clip of gay sex, though.

How about a fucksaw?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:57 AM
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I didn't have a problem with the maternity leave question. Nazareth should have a written policy about maternity leave. If they don't, then they deserve shame.

None of the demands seem like a problem if they were questions that she needed some clarification about. But, collectively as an email, I can understand the run away.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:02 AM
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I know employability etc. but it seems odd to me that the starting salary being discussed for a TT professor is pretty close to the required postdoc stipend in my field.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:08 AM
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So philosophy's different than math in that the job market's quite a bit tighter, and because we're not in the sciences and don't need labs (or wastepaper baskets, as the joke goes), there isn't as much tracking into teaching vs. research specialists.

So while I'm sure some people have preferences for teaching heavy positions, they'll be competing against people who might not have it as their first choice but who are better teachers. As a result a candidate would be a fool to downplay her research ambitions because it's not unreasonable to think that the committee will pick the person who seems like they have smart and interesting research over the person who finds research stressful.

In any case, I'd be willing to bet that NC didn't say in their on-campus visit, "Your research program is going to grind to a halt here." Certainly on my campus visit here they made sure I met the young PhD with a book at a good press, and in searches in previous years a number of candidates have been trotted by my office as proof that you can do interesting research things while teaching a 4/4 (and while being giantly pregnant! See, we're family-friendly, too!)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:09 AM
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you can do interesting research things while teaching a 4/4

I assume the method to accomplish this is similar to that suggested by the senior colleague who once pointed out to me cheerfully: "You know there are eight hours between midnight and 8 a.m., right?"


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:15 AM
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I kind of love the thought of the pregnant woman as a prop. (Prob to be throw back in other's faces as "Cala only took the weekend off to have her baby. And she wrote two articles over that same weekend.")


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:21 AM
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The applicant is George Costanza in that Seinfeld storyline where they're in talks with NBC execs to get the pilot.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:27 AM
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336: Pretty close (5am-7am, 8pm-midnight, no hobbies, in my case.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:44 AM
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So wait, if philosophy departments don't have labs, where the hell do they keep all the trolley cars and fat men?


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:58 AM
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I have a 5/5, like to garden, and get really cranky without 8 1/2 hrs of sleep.

Sigh. I guess there's only so much you can do in one lifetime.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:00 AM
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Oooh. I want to go to the one in 330.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:11 AM
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I am now somewhat curious who Thomas Jefferson is, both here and in real life.

I've only posted a couple dozen times under my normal name, probably, but have been around since nearly the beginning. My schedule makes it hard to be an interactive participant in conversations.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:38 AM
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If they'd happily bin a perfectly good candidate just for asking for time off for research, or maternity leave, presumably they'd happily fire an existing member of staff for doing the same thing.

As President Wilson notes, no they wouldn't (well, chairs wouldn't), because if you fire someone you might never get them back. I think 331.last if operative here -- while NC was dickish about how they handled it, the fear of having a candidate jump ship for a better job in a few years and never getting replaced seems like a reasonable one. (As rfts noted above, she got stung by this at one point, which is why we don't live in New England now.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:39 AM
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But not curious enough to stay awake for much longer. Good night.

There are (were?) regulars who knew my field and institution a decade ago, so there are enough clues in the archives for a historian to make a pretty good guess both about my other pseudonym and my identity. But sleep is probably a better way to spend your time.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:50 AM
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Hyde v Wrench; counteroffer kills offer.

More seriously, I spent a number of years hiring people to work in very small functional units, and if someone asked for 20% more than the offer, and indicated they really didn't want to be at this kind of job but wanted a different kind of job, I'd want to rescind too. Not academic, obviously, so that norm didn't apply. But seriously, is that norm strong enough to withstand 'thanks for the offer, I don't really want to come work with you, and already have a better offer, but if you make yours better than you're offering pretty much anyone else, I'll think about it'? The employer is stuck with a choice: (a) call the bluff, which may take some time or (b) end it and move to the next candidate, before that person takes a different offer.

All you folks concerned about working conditions for academics don't seem much concerned with that next candidate, the one who wants that job and is the better fit. Why not?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:50 AM
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We're disagreeing about whether she wanted the job and whether she would have been a bad fit for it if she wanted it. (Or, really, whether it was reasonable for the school to conclude that she didn't want the job and would have been a bad fit.)

There's not really a good analogy for most of her requests in areas outside of academia: that is, she wasn't asking for anything that was peculiar for an academic at her level, just for an academic at the precise school she was applying to. For a lawyer, on the other hand, I can't think what you'd haggle over other than salary and maybe vacation, so pretty much any other requests would be conspicuously strange.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:05 AM
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267: Comity!
This thread is probably dead, but I think 335 is important - people can do an excellent job in positions that wouldn't have been their first choice. Even if the candidate's requests made it seem like she'd rather be at someplace with a bit more of research focus, that doesn't mean she'd be a bad teacher or colleague.
Also, Sensibility's comments upthread confirm local perceptions of Nazareth as generally not being a great employer (using lots of poorly paid adjuncts, in particular).


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:06 AM
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The employer is stuck with a choice: (a) call the bluff, which may take some time or (b) end it and move to the next candidate, before that person takes a different offer.

The very very very very VERY strong norm in academia is that no, the employer isn't stuck with a choice, they're stuck with (a).


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:08 AM
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Focusing on the percentage her salary request might have been high is also a little misleading, given how low the salary is and the natural tendency to talk in round numbers. If they offered $55K, and she thought she had a shot at raising it at all, then coming back at $65K in the hopes of $60 seems reasonable, even though it sounds large stated as a percentage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:10 AM
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these decisions will be binding you for the next 30-40 years (on both sides of the equation).

In the US, apparently except for academia, it is more and more typical for people to change fields completely at least once in the course of a working life. This holds even for people with lots of training.

The difference seems really jarring. How is it possible to convey optimism in work circumstances like these?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:10 AM
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347 - For what it's worth, a followup on the blog where the letter was originally published indicates that she wanted the a teaching-centered job. (And she apparently has another TT job in hand.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:11 AM
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Right. Anyone saying that the employer was perfectly justified in thinking that she obviously didn't want the job, or that kind of job, has to contend with the fact that she explicitly says now, when she's not desperate for a job, any job, that she did want that kind of job. She could be lying, but the fact that she says it is at least a datapoint.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:17 AM
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That post makes her sound very decent and reasonable.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:18 AM
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354: she wouldn't have fitted in at all.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:23 AM
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335 So philosophy's different than math in that the job market's quite a bit tighter, and because we're not in the sciences and don't need labs (or wastepaper baskets, as the joke goes), there isn't as much tracking into teaching vs. research specialists.

Huh. In my field, the SLACs strongly and pretty uniformly only want to hire experimentalists who will have a lab. I don't think there's been a single opening for a theorist at a SLAC in the decade or so I've been paying attention to the job market, despite the fact that we're cheap.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:35 AM
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That's weird. I wonder if there's some folk belief among administrators that experimentalists are better teachers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:36 AM
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356: Do you think that comes from a perception that theorists are too hoity toity (or something)?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:37 AM
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or something

Abstruse, perhaps.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:37 AM
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356: The girls love the area of the natural history museum that's just a big sandbox table and a bunch of plastic toy dinosaurs to play with in it. Think you could use something like that and call it a lab?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:38 AM
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@356

I suppose it's because it's hard to find research projects in that area that are appropriate for undergraduates, even good ones. Maybe doing Monte Carlo simulations or something?

I do know one HEP theorist who's at a prestigious New England SLAC.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:39 AM
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347.2 -- Some firms give fellowships to do a half year of pro bono service in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Start date -- firms will defer for a prestigious clerkship, unless the need is acute, but might feel differently about deferring for a 3 month trip to Southeast Asia as a tourist. Deferring while someone takes a necessary course so they can sit for the DC bar (although they are already admitted to the NY bar, which has lower standards to sit for it [even if they're perfectly fine with failing lots of folks]) is a thing. Relocation costs. A candidate could try to make explicit workload demands, as this one did.

352, 354 -- Having set off a viral thing, one would expect her to write reflectively, and positively, about the thing.

Obviously an employer can get it wrong in assessing how much a candidate really wants the position. The norm in 349 means they have to make that guess before the offer and, usually, can't revisit if they come to believe they got it wrong, no matter how high the stakes are, or how good the number 2 candidate is. Because of the stakes and the norm, institutions are going to be much more tolerant of false negatives than false positives. Which benefits some applicants, and harms others.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:39 AM
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but might feel differently about deferring for a 3 month trip to Southeast Asia as a tourist

A friend of mine got a Big Law firm to delay their start for a six week trip to SE Asia.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:44 AM
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Some firms give fellowships to do a half year of pro bono service in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Start date -- firms will defer for a prestigious clerkship, unless the need is acute, but might feel differently about deferring for a 3 month trip to Southeast Asia as a tourist. Deferring while someone takes a necessary course so they can sit for the DC bar (although they are already admitted to the NY bar, which has lower standards to sit for it [even if they're perfectly fine with failing lots of folks]) is a thing. Relocation costs.

These are all plausible, you're right. But looking at them, is there anything on that list that would make you question a candidate's fit for a job because they asked about it? I'm a pretty nervous negotiator, and it wouldn't occur to me to worry at all about asking for any of that, including deferring for a tourist trip -- I'd be ready for a refusal, but I'd be really surprised if asking were offensive.

Would you regard a request for any of those as indicating bad fit (depending on the job)? If not, can you think of anything at all that'd be a normal request for some kind of lawyering job (at approximately the right seniority level -- obviously a request for a private secretary and a corner office would be reasonable for someone coming in as a senior partner but not for a new associate), but where asking for it would be a strong enough negative to reasonably motivate the withdrawal of an offer?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:46 AM
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Deferred start was reportedly a plus for some (many?) large firms for a few years when the market was really weak and they wanted to keep hiring incoming associates but didn't have billable work to give them. I don't think that's still the case today though.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:48 AM
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I don't think the norm is quite as universal in academia as redfoxtailshrub suggests. I've certainly seen other cases similar to W's where opinions change about a candidate during negotiations, and a number of other cases where an offer was taken off the table in an R1 after a more detailed discussion of laboratory needs led to a conclusion that providing appropriate facilities, controls, or equipment was not possible. Not always a formal retraction of an offer, but just a decision not to continue to negotiate start-up, which in an R1 can amount to the same thing.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:49 AM
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366: That's pretty different: you're talking, if I understand you, about a job candidate with inflexible needs for lab space/equipment that the college couldn't meet. That's a mutual failure to arrive at a meeting of minds, not a unilateral withdrawal of an offer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:52 AM
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Anyone saying that the employer was perfectly justified in thinking that she obviously didn't want the job, or that kind of job, has to contend with the fact that she explicitly says now, when she's not desperate for a job, any job, that she did want that kind of job. She could be lying, but the fact that she says it is at least a datapoint.

I am shocked that she wrote something that makes herself look more reasonable.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:52 AM
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365 My friend was coming on in the boomiest of boom times. There was certainly no work shortage. On the other hand it was also a time when any graduate of a top law school could count on a good Big Law job as long as hey had a pulse.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:53 AM
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You certainly have more experience than I do! I have definitely seen negotiations shut down over the impossibility of providing facilities/equipment/etc., but am pretty sure none of those went down as actual retractions of the offer. I was thinking of the norm specifically as being against the explicit revocation of an offer rather than against things like "We cannot offer you remotely what you need, which we realize probably means you can't and won't come here. We also need your answer either way by tomorrow."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:54 AM
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370 to 366.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:54 AM
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Having set off a viral thing, one would expect her to write reflectively, and positively, about the thing.

You're going to have to explain this to me. Is there some correlation between have created viral content and then seeming reasonable? I mean, she's being attacked, pretty viciously in some circles, for having negotiated (poorly, in my view, but not *that* poorly). And despite the fact that she paid a high price for her mistake/decision, she still comes off as quite reasonable about the whole thing. I wouldn't want to read too much into a short post -- any more than I'd want to read too much into her original effort at negotiating -- but she seems pretty grounded to me.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:55 AM
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370: I have never, ever, neverevernever heard of an offer being retracted in the humanities. I'm sure I don't have nearly as much experience as the Sage from Monticello (who, let's remember, owned slaves), but I was in a meeting yesterday with higher ups in the administration, and when this case came up, none of them had ever heard of such a thing either. Several of them did say that it's not unprecedented -- though still very, very rare -- in the sciences. The key variable, as President Jefferson suggests, seems to have been startup costs, which can sky into the millions.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:58 AM
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Has she paid a high price? Is this the academic version of a sex tape getting released?

She is in damage control or at least attempting to spin this in the best possible light. Wasn't she the one who released this information to begin with? So, she saw some advantage to herself to going public with this issue.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:59 AM
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It occurs to me that given recent events, I might need a new pseud if I'm going to continue commenting here. I'm generally fairly careful about what I say -- yes, I know that seems unlikely -- but it's become absurdly easy to connect my pseud to my real identity. I'll have to give them some more thought.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:01 AM
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Has she paid a high price?

If she wanted to accept the job at Nazerene, yes, she paid a very high price.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:01 AM
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37: if you plan on continuing to limp, Awry Cooter is available.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:05 AM
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There are some differences, but the common element is that in each case the institution decides that because of new information discovered after the offer it is time to move on to the next candidate rather than letting the candidate run out the original clock.

There are lots of things we don't know here. If the school has a great second choice candidate who has another offer with a deadline, then cutting losses fast becomes more important for the department. Rejecting a counteroffer and moving on can be done immediately. Countering the counter, by saying "no, but the original offer stands" restarts a clock and adds delay.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:06 AM
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I might need a new pseud if I'm going to continue commenting here.

Per the other thread, I recommend Fulda Gap.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:08 AM
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If she wanted to accept the job at Nazerene, yes, she paid a very high price.

But, note, that her phrasing is pretty careful, "If the offer had been upheld, and I would have chosen to not accept the offer, it would certainly not have been because I want a more research intensive job . . ."

She pretty clearly does not say that she would have accepted the job (though she doesn't say that she would have turned it down either). But, yes, it is a gracious and well-written response (and, as I said in 226, it doesn't move me one way or the other).


I might need a new pseud . . . I'll have to give them some more thought.

Dontonio Wingfield

Evan EschmeyerEvan Eschmeyer

What sort of name are you looking for?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:09 AM
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37:

I'm for a 19thC chronicler of the West, like Cyrus Townsend Brady or John Gregory Bourke. Or maybe de Trobriand. Or you could call yourself Absoroka


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:09 AM
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Wow, somehow I made that HTML worse after previewing.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:09 AM
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Countering the counter, by saying "no, but the original offer stands" restarts a clock and adds delay.

What "restarts a clock"? What clock? What would keep a college from either sticking to whatever schedule they originally set for the candidate's decision, or, if the original schedule has somehow become unworkable, stating a new, shorter schedule? Are we talking about the situation where Awesome Second Choice has said "I'll work for you if you give me an offer in the next fifteen minutes" and there literally isn't time for an exchange of emails with First Choice? Because that sounds like a situation that wouldn't come up often.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:11 AM
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Isn't her response entirely consistent with the story that she had another job offer in hand, didn't want to work at Nazareth, and figured she would ask for the moon (in NC-terms) because she didn't have much to lose? And that Nazareth felt that by leaving the offer on the table they would either lose on their next top pick, have the search fail entirely, or have her take it and then jump ship within a year or two?


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:11 AM
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380: yes, that's why I said "if". Really, I don't think it's possible to know all that much about this case other than, "She negotiated by e-mail. The prospective employer pulled the offer." Everything else requires a great deal of speculation.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:12 AM
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I do, though, think we can be 100% certain that President Obama is just waiting for the right moment to gut Social Security.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:12 AM
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370: You are right that it would be far more humane to counter with "the original offer stands but we need an answer tomorrow." Changing the response deadline would still have been seen as unreasonable, of course.

373: All my R1 experience is in the sciences. My impression is that science deans are more likely to be dealing with short lists in which multiple candidates are juggling multiple offers, which does change the calculus.

VW -- The pseudonym situation is really hard. Although I've never met any of y'all, I've figured out over the years who a bunch of the regulars are in real life. I wouldn't care if any of you knew who I am, but having it generally known would make commenting completely impossible.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:15 AM
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If *someone* is looking for a new pseud, I will point out that Hipponax is said to have limped, like his iambs. FYI.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:15 AM
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387: Sorry to out you, but the archives make it very clear that you're the ghost of Raymond Chandler.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:19 AM
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372 -- She misread (a) NC when she sent her email and then (b) the potential for negative feedback (from people who don't know and/or care about the Norm) when she went public. It's to her credit that she is being much more careful in how she is presenting herself to the public now. It doesn't mean she didn't guess wrong. and then present poorly, before.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:21 AM
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383: by "restarts the clock" I mean just adds delay to an offer that now looks hopeless. Say that as dean I tell a candidate "You have two weeks to get back to us, and let us know if you and your family need to visit before you make a decision." That is really typical, in my experience. On Day 2, the candidate makes a counteroffer that makes us think that we are unlikely to come to agreement, and indeed suggests that we may have misjudged their commitment to this kind of place. If we have no backup, then just saying "no, but the original offer stands" is a reasonable response. But if we are afraid of losing a second candidate who a number of faculty really liked, then the sensible thing to do may be to just say "no, and good luck in your job search." Saying "no, and we now need a decision this week" may be legal, but will be even harder for the candidate to understand and accept.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:24 AM
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It seems like a reflection of the weirdness of academia that searches fail* at with non-negligible frequency despite the fact that there are hundreds of qualified applicants for every position. Does this happen in any other industry?

*by fail I mean "fail to fill the position at all", not "fail to recruit a particular person".


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:29 AM
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Ignore "at".


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:30 AM
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Sure, but I think the best way to deal with that situation is to be more upfront initially and tell the candidate something like "we want to give you time to make your decision, but we may need an answer sooner if our second choice candidate gets a competing offer." That's not too awkward a conversation, in my limited experience.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:31 AM
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Having set off a viral thing, one would expect her to write reflectively, and positively, about the thing.

Maximize the uncharity!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:39 AM
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It seems like a reflection of the weirdness of academia that searches fail* at with non-negligible frequency despite the fact that there are hundreds of qualified applicants for every position.

It happens in other fields too, if they have HR departments who are incompetent.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:40 AM
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Does this happen in any other industry?

Happens a lot in dating. Recruiting the right person to be part of your small group for the next thirty years sounds more like dating than hiring, and failing to find the right person happens all the time in dating.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:54 AM
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Searches fail for reasons other than incompetence. Top candidate takes two weeks to say no, in the meantime other acceptable candidates take other offers, now no one from the on campus pool is left, etc etc. With our recent search we extended the clock once then had to say no to another extension because we risked losing everyone else. We preferred #1 over #2, of course, but both would have been fine and both were far superior to a failed search. The only thing weird about lb's allegedly ridiculous scenario is the 15 minutes, and that not by so much. (My guess is that NC narrowly preferred w over x, then decided w was too likely to say no or leave quickly, so they wanted an excuse to make the offer to x.)


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:55 AM
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The fifteen minutes is the bit I thought of as key -- a communication that 'we're losing faith that this is going to work, and we need to move on to the next candidate immediately: yes or no?' wouldn't seem unreasonable to me at all. The idea that time could be enough of a pressure to preclude a single round of communication with the original offeree is what sounded implausible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:59 AM
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395 -- Hey, no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition. But it happens with disturbing frequency -- eg the woman with the PR job who said something dumb on Twitter and then got on a plane -- and damage control is definitely required.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 10:05 AM
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The other factor too is that academic hiring is cyclical.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 10:05 AM
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AAUP guidelines say two weeks, and here that's pretty much ironclad, though extensions can be any length. I don't know what the rules are about pulling offers because I'd never heard of it before now, but-- you'll be shocked to know-- institutional rules on stuff like this are often incomplete, so it might be, weirdly, easier to pull than to shorten. Sadly, unless Ogged re-establishes his connection with an old chum, we won't know much about the department's back story. It would not be shocking if W's request cohered well with prior worries and shifted the collective preference. There must have been an epic round of "told you so" after she went public.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 10:07 AM
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On the internet, no ever posts things that go viral, then when attacked doubles down on defensiveness and crazy.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 10:20 AM
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Will, bless his jaded heart, has already said what I was thinking. And this post makes me read AAUP as American Association of Unemployed People.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 10:40 AM
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If they offered $55K, and she thought she had a shot at raising it at all, then coming back at $65K

I don't know anything about Naz, but given that it's in Rochester I'm thinking they're offering something similar to SUNY pay levels because that's all you'd need to be competitive. Assistant prof starting this year in that system looks like 46K.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 10:56 AM
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Actually, the official SUNY minimum looks to be $33K, since I assume they are only paying a 9 month salary. But I don't know anyone who actually gets paid that little, and when I interviewed at a SUNY (admittedly, one of the more researchy ones), they were throwing around numbers that were at least above $50K.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:25 AM
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To clarify - of my friends at SUNY schools, I don't know anyone making that little.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:26 AM
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And since SUNY salaries are public record, I just looked up the numbers for SUNY Fredonia, where the lowest-paid assistant professor is on an academic year salary of $50K exactly.

It's obvious that I should be writing an article right now.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:33 AM
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Huh, I assumed the 12 month track because I thought no way would people be lured in at the 9 month because they'd have to deliver pizzas in the summer to get by. Is the starting level negotiable at the state schools? Cop salaries never are. There's the schedule as negotiated by the union based off of years, position, etc. and it's ironclad.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:36 AM
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Jesus, these salaries are terrible, especially for people who did what, 4 years of college plus 6 of grad school? I mean I knew that and know you don't go into philosophy for the money, but still.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:37 AM
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Higher than mine! But, negotiating shows you're just an entitled little shit, amiright?

409: Usually one is paid over the summer, but the contract is officially nine months. (Meaning if I am to teach in the summer, they have to pay me extra.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:40 AM
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If there is one message that Unfogged should be giving to the youth, it is this: Petroleum Engineering.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:42 AM
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Petroleum Engineering.

If you want to travel, or computer programming if you want to live in the Bay Area (or a couple of other places).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:45 AM
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I thought we had established in a previous thread that philosophers aren't in it for the money but for the right to sexually harass their students and coworkers.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:46 AM
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If there is one message that Unfogged should be giving to the youth, it is this: commenting on blogs is for the old and bitter.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:47 AM
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If you want to travel, or computer programming if you want to live in the Bay Area (or a couple of other places).

That's why I'm cracking the whip at my daughters towards that physician assistant program up here. No travel, indoors, live anywhere, and without the boom/bust factor of tech.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:50 AM
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Nursing, too, if they have the aptitude for it, gswift. We have a great program up here.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 11:54 AM
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Yes, starting level is negotiable, at least at the SUNYs, although I think there are some restrictions.

On the salaries, I think two things are going on. 1, very few people if anyone are actually starting at the low end of those ranges. 2, at least some folks are getting summer pay as well, either grant money (mostly in the sciences) or by doing extra summer teaching. But yeah, it's kind of grim. Particularly for the folks at Stonybrook, who have NYC-area cost of living.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:49 PM
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it would have taken me longer to become a really good teacher for stronger students, and someone else is a better fit. Whereas I'm great at breaking things down for medium to weak students, and enjoy feeling needed.

I envy this confluence of self-knowledge, talent and employment.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:50 PM
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I think this thread should have had a trigger warning.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:19 PM
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420: For candidates and employers both. Megan's dating analogy isn't that far off, except that you spend more time with your colleagues than your spouse.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:24 PM
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I admire the discipline implied by 339. This is why I would not have made it as an academic.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:25 PM
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Nursing, too, if they have the aptitude for it, gswift.

My daughter figured that out just before graduation and is loving an accelerated nursing program. She has a very spritely way of describing some rather grisly procedures.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:27 PM
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NMM to Fred Phelps, by the way. That's going to be an interesting funeral.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:03 PM
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I think there should be people literally having gay sex outside the funeral. Like, hundreds of people, on a float.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:36 PM
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424: I want to picket his funeral with a big sign saying something like "God is Love" or maybe with one of Jesus' more hippy-dippy lines about being nice to people and shit.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:37 PM
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"God Loves Fags
- Jesus"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:39 PM
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Well, I got the quotes wrong but you know what I mean.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:39 PM
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425: Be the change, dude.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:41 PM
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"Fred Phelps is dead and legal gay marriage in Texas is alive."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:42 PM
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Technically the decision was put on hold, pending appeal, but the sheer speed is still astonishing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:43 PM
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Kind of perfect: http://www.theonion.com/articles/fred-phelps-man-who-forever-stopped-march-of-gay-r,35582/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview:1:Default


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:47 PM
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431: People die faster than that often.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 3:02 PM
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432: Stupid iPad commenting.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 3:05 PM
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422: More aspirational these days, obviously. The baby ate my life.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 3:35 PM
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Only way to stop that from happening is to eat the baby back.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 3:37 PM
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340: They contract out thought experiments to the MTA.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 3:49 PM
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||
When people make solemn, dignified posts about Fred Phelps I find myself wanting to make not-even-clever comments about surprise buttseks with Satan. I don't really give a shit about Fred Phelps but come on.
|>


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:30 PM
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surprise buttseks with Satan

Metal. Brutal.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 5:38 PM
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438: Totes. Other people can take the high road, but all I can think of are big signs reading "God hates douchebags".


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:31 PM
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Well, nobody likes to interrupt or make trouble when somebody is trying to bury a dead family member.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:02 PM
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how about "here lies a sad angry bigot who accomplished absolutely nothing"


Posted by: turgid jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:06 PM
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Too broadly applicable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:07 PM
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He accomplished a lot, through carefully orchestrated litigation at least.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:24 PM
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444: not really-- a finger in the dike at most


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:30 PM
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I think he was opposed to that also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:32 PM
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441 is awesome.

I think this occasion means I can retell the story where Lee was driving the grandmother who raised her past the compound (which is right by the cemetery where all their family members are buried, so that's a twofer in the category of depressing things) and the older woman sucked her teeth and said, "Well, I don't know what a 'fags' is, but I just can't see why God would do THAT!" And Lee never knew whether that was a legit baffled response or code for "Seriously, we know you're gay and it's fine" or both or what.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:42 PM
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God hates cigarettes!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:47 PM
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Let's admit that God probably does hate the bassoon section.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:18 PM
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No way, bassoons rule.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:04 PM
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No way bassoons rule.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:08 PM
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Bassoons rule no way.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:08 PM
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Woo runs seasonably.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:54 PM
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441 is good. 446 is better.

And of course God's iffy on the bassoons. The awesomeness scale peaks with low brass. Woodwinds of all types are somewhere below french horn.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 10:27 PM
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And of course God's iffy on the bassoons. The awesomeness scale peaks with low brass.

Not at all. God hates the brass section. Marching band instruments generally, in fact.

"If I speak with the voices of men and angels and have not charity, I am become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal", remember?

In the context, obviously, that's a bad thing to become as. Sounding brass SUCKS, saith the LORD. The only use he has for it is as a warning noise to indicate "ATTENTION: the Apocalypse is approaching" like those things on trucks reversing.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 2:43 AM
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a warning noise to indicate "ATTENTION: the Apocalypse is approaching"

Personally, I'm hoping it will be "White Rabbit" precisely timed so that whatever shit is coming down happens just as the "rabbit bites its fucking head off."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 5:41 AM
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I'm sure Halford will back me on this: God favours the electric guitar and cranked Marshall stack.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 5:46 AM
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In fact one of God and Satan'a few areas of agreement concerns the riffs of Tony Iommi.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 5:47 AM
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If God hates brass instruments, how come the tuba player gets to dot the "i" on the script "Ohio"?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 5:51 AM
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Because he hates brass instruments?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 5:52 AM
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Maybe god likes OSU . . . just not their basketball team.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 5:53 AM
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Last year, some really drunk gamblers kept buying me beer to keep me seated because Ohio State started winning after I far sat down at the bar. This year, I didn't go to a bar during the game. My bad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 6:02 AM
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-far.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 6:14 AM
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In fact one of God and Satan'a few areas of agreement concerns the riffs of Tony Iommi.

It's a damn near unanimous consensus.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 6:53 AM
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Fred Clark over at Slacktivist has taken the occasion of Fred Phelp's passing to contrast with and remember the life of another Fred who was in many way's Phelp's polar opposite: Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers. Fred and Anti-Fred. In order, starting a few days ago:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/03/17/lets-make-the-most-of-this-beautiful-day/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/03/20/the-anti-fred-is-dead-look-for-the-helpers/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/03/21/fred-and-anti-fred-a-grace-note/


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 03-21-14 6:32 PM
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