The academic job offer is the moment you’ve been waiting for; after working for who-knows-how-many-years, you’ve finally been invited to take a real, grown-up place at the academic table. Once you get an offer, you may be tempted to say “yes” right away–after all, negotiating the academic job market is a harrowing, stressful process which can have the unfortunate side effect of crushing your self-esteem. You may be tempted to grab that offer and hold on for dear life with no thought as to what might or might not be included in it. It’s wiser to thank the committee, graciously acknowledge the offer, and ask for some time to think it over (a week and a half to two weeks is reasonable) while you give some serious thought to things you need to be successful as a junior faculty member at that particular institution. So, what are some of the things that you can ask for?
Start-up funding. Now that your dissertation is done, is there another project that you’re itching to get started on? A new scholarly book you’re dying to read? Start-up monies are sometimes available to help you get going on your next research project, or to help to build up your personal library with an influx of needed scholarly books or journals. You can never have too many books as an academic!
Technology funding. Every faculty member needs a computer of his or her own, and universities generally will provide this to you. However, no computer package is one-size-fits-all, so think hard about what you will need as a scholar and teacher. Do you need a more powerful laptop? A tablet? A particular software package? Microphones? Camcorders? Make sure you spec out exactly what will make you a success in your first few years.
A reduction in your teaching load for the first semester or the first year. Transitioning from graduate student to junior faculty member is tough, and your work load may seem overwhelming. While you’re getting adjusted to life in your new school, in your new department, lightening your teaching load could make a huge difference. It’s fine to ask for your load to be reduced by a course or so for a semester or even a full academic year.
Reimbursement for moving expenses. You know all that stuff you’ve accumulated since you’ve been doing your PhD? All those books? You’re going to have to move them, whether it be across the state or across the country. Moving is stressful enough without thinking about the expense involved, so ask if your potential employer can offer any monies for relocation.
The moment of the offer is the one time in the job market process where you (sort of) have power. They have offered the job to you, which means that they have made an investment in your success. Don’t be unreasonable, but take advantage of this moment.
As for other resources, academic coach Karen Kelsky has a great series of blog posts about negotiating offers.
What about you? What are your best tips for negotiating the academic offer? Share your advice by clicking here.
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