Thursday, April 21, 2011

Start-Up Advice for a New Faculty Member

Recently a female postdoc who has worked with me was offered a faculty position. She had never negotiated a start-up, so I gathered some advice from colleagues and added some of my own. I repeat it here in the hopes it will be useful to others.

things that are useful to ask for:
- teaching release: one less course for your first semester
- grad students: minimum 1 person x 3 years; get numbers from department
- travel: $15,000 (you want to represent your new department at meetings)
- research equipment including computers (fancy ones)
- more travel
- publishing costs (no joke I've spent more than 30k in publishing in the last 5 years).
- undergrad stipends

As a different colleague put it:
-Remind her that now that she has received an offer, she is in the position of power to ask for what she wants.

-She should think about what she really needs for the first few years to be successful, and ask for that (grad student salaries, computer, travel, etc.). It is in the department's interest to give her the things she needs to be successful.

-Also add some stuff which she would like to have but is not an absolute necessity. This gives her a bit of padding which, if necessary, can be reduced during start-up negotiations.

With some hesitancy this person asked for everything she really needed. She asked me privately: Will they think I’m greedy? Will they want to hire someone cheaper?

In fact they gave her 100% of what she asked for.

-Doug Duncan [dduncan_at_colorado.edu]

1 comment:

John Gizis said...

Probably they have some budget in mind. Just to add to this, it's fairly routine for physics experimentalists to get over half a million dollars in start-up costs. (Every physics theorists, it seems, can use a $100K computer cluster.) Now physicists need lab equipment, so it's different, but that's why $100K-200K may not even make them blink. They want you to be successful. (The flip side is they expect to you to be getting grants in a few years.)

(You might even think of a share of the SMARTS telescopes or other telescope facilities.)

Your institution may vary!