Friday, March 21, 2014

Rescinded offer.. links and my brief thoughts.

Perhaps you have already heard of the tenure-track faculty candidate whose negotiation efforts landed her not just with "no's" to her requests/ demands, but resulted in the college rescinding their offer to her.

There's some very good discussion in the comments section of this post

regarding negotiating a tenure-track position at a PUI. Read the comments and follow the links...

Here's more,

and the comments seem more oriented to SLACs. In this case, W, the applicant responds.

My thoughts are along these lines (from Philosophy Smoker), however more understanding and less harsh. I would probably not pull the offer. Do I think she is being punished for negotiating too aggressively? Yes, mostly. Do I think her counteroffer showed a lack of understanding about the institutional culture? Absolutely. Do I think it is gender related? Not enough information to make an informed opinion.  (Thanks nicoleandmaggie for pushing me to clarify)
Anonymous said...
I'm with the university on this one.

"1) An increase of my starting salary to $65,000, which is more in line with what assistant professors in philosophy have been getting in the last few years."

Is this what professors that *that institution* have been getting in the past few years? Because that's what matters most. If she wants to be paid more than everyone else getting hired there, she needs to demonstrate why she is that much more valuable than other new colleagues at that institution.

"2) An official semester of maternity leave."

This is reasonable, and may even be legally required. However, this gets buried in unreasonable demands.

"3) A pre-tenure sabbatical at some point during the bottom half of my tenure clock."

Again, do all new hires get this kind of leave? If not, see #1.

"4) No more than three new class preps per year for the first three years."

This is something that can be reasonable negotiated, but without knowing what she was hired to do, it's a tough call. If she was hired to explicitly teach in multiple areas, then it's an unreasonable request.

"5) A start date of academic year 2015 so I can complete my postdoc."

Nope. If you want to finish your post-doc, that's fine. But you don't get to hold up that university's need for a new faculty member so you can not teach (and presumably go back on the market again). They have a need for the following year; if you can't satisfy that need, then you shouldn't be hired for the job. That alone is reason enough to offer it to someone else.

She was offered the job, and told them: I need more money, a research leave (that, presumably, others won't be getting, else it would be part of her contract already), and a year off before I start. Nope. If I'm on that hiring committee, I pull the offer too.
March 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM


  1. You pull the offer instead of just saying no to all of the above? Great way to teach women they're not allowed to ask.

  2. Thanks nicoleandmaggie for pushing me to clarify, I have amended the para after the links.

  3. I don't understand how the issue of finishing up her postdoc, for instance, didn't come up during interview. Or maybe it was enough to say no, and she would start when needed. The number of preps and potentially extra sabbatical, again, sound like things that should be discussed during the interview. Salary is not a deal-breaker in my eyes; the phenomenon of salary inversion (new hires getting more than senior ones) is a common phenomenon.

    I think pulling an offer is bad form, period.


    I am in a department where I witnessed an offer made to a candidate, and the candidate starting to act as an unbelievable douche in negotiations. Just very abrasive and aggressive. We held our end of the bargain but several people mentioned that they wished they'd never given him an offer. The person ended up being seriously problematic as faculty and did not get renewed after year 3 on the TT. So it's a lot of wasted time and energy. We would have been better off pulling the offer, but it is bad form indeed.

  4. Yes, it is hard to imagine that these things didn't come up, but also easy to imagine, too. My interview with colleagues was research and lecture talks and fit-based questions. None of the negotiating was done in this setting. I only negotiated with the Dean at a lunch after the end of the interview with colleagues. The committee said yes or no, the Dean offered the contract. Moreover, when I pushed for a bigger start-up package, the dean called the financial people to arrange for that. My colleagues/ the committee had nothing to do with that.
    Surely my experience isn't all that unique?