Navigating Your First Tenure-Track Academic Position

One’s ­first faculty position can be quite the mystery; at least it was for me. Negotiation often is not something taught to us, though it can affect the rest of one’s academic career. Everything is negotiable, including salary, administrative duties and startup funds.

Before negotiating, make sure you know the norms, history, and culture in the department. Existing salary databases are difficult to dispute and are a better basis for a negotiation strategy than one’s personal belief of what one is worth. A negotiation workshop may be one of the most important commitments for one’s career.

It’s no mystery that one’s salary affects one’s standard of living. Sadly, many early career academicians do not earn a high salary, despite 10 to 15 years of higher education. This is a good reason to make sure one’s salary is at least on par with faculty members of similar experience.

Keep your eyes open for additional salary opportunities, which can be paid from grants, summer teaching, administrative stipends and other means. There are useful tools one can look up to ­find the salaries of one’s counterparts to ensure salary equity prior to signing a contract.

The University of California has salaries posted publicly. Similarly, the Chronicle publishes the AAUP Faculty Salary Survey, so, if one is interested to see what assistant professors at Harvard versus Yale earn, one can ­find that information. <Read more.>

Via Brandon Brown, Diverse