Faculty Jobs: Descriptive Statistics Report

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Being a bit of a scientist, I like numbers. So here's a great quantity of histograms to illustrate my experiences with the assistant professor job market. Now when I spout off my experience writing faculty job applications, handling remote academic interviews, and thriving during 12 hour campus visit interviews, you'll know just how many grains of salt to throw my way.

I applied to 31 schools...most of which were research institutions, but a great proportion were liberal arts colleges as well.

I had a very busy autumn getting married and applying to academic institutions avoiding those ~3 weeks of wedding/honeymoon activity. I was essentially out of commission October 15 - November 10.

I've withdrawn myself from consideration from all remaining institutions, so hopefully these graphs won't change too much more! I received remote interviews from two-thirds of my liberal arts college applications and a little over a third of research universities. To me, this is representative of two things: (1) I felt much more passionate about my liberal arts materials, and (2) my publication record could use some work. I've been in the process of switching communities, and it's been a rough switch. Nonetheless, a 50% return rate on applications --> remote interview is pretty lovely.

I had originally thought I'd done terribly on phone interviews rather than Skype/video interviews, but it seems I performed pretty well on both. 75% of my phone interviews turned into on-campus interviews, and 50% for the remote video interviews. I know the "No"s here are actual "No"s and not "???", as once I had a job offer, I contacted the places with which I had remote interviewed, forcing them to provide me a concrete answer with respect to a campus visit interview.

There was quite a bit of variance in how long it took academic institutions to extend remote interview invitations (left) and campus interview invitations (right), with teaching-oriented institutions keeping the tightest schedules. With the research universities it seemed almost random how long it would take to get an invitation!

I received on-campus interview invitations from more than 50% of the places I remote interviewed with: 2/3, to be exact, with a 100% success rate with research institutions and a 50% success rate with liberal arts colleges. I apparently could've used a bit more practice on my remote interviewing skills from the liberal arts perspective.

I received 5 job offers at varying points, and I withdrew myself from consideration for the two research institutions listed as '???'. So we may never know my absolute success rate!

However, I'm exceedingly pleased with these results. I worked my rear off on my application materials, and that process really helped me communicate more effectively about my work both during remote and face-to-face interviews. I'm proud of myself for committing so well to this process, learning so much, and not falling asleep during any of the 9 interview dinners at the end of a day of being "on". There's a great deal of luck involved in this process. Some institutions just weren't looking for a me-type professor at this time, but luck worked out pretty well on my behalf anyways. I'm incredibly grateful, and so excited about how things worked out!!

Tea Review: More Adagio

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Adagio Peach Tea
This black peach tea from Adagio is absolutely fantastic with some milk in it. Really very, very good.

Adagio White Blueberry Tea
Surprisingly low on the blueberry flavoring, this Blueberry White Tea from Adagio is alright. White teas are usually paired with fruit, but I don't think I've had blueberry in my collection yet.

Adagio Green Rooibos Bonita - Properly Brewed
This Adagio Green Rooibos Bonita supposedly has peach and strawberry in it, but all I can taste is the citrus. It's rather nice for a rooibos, but not as nice as this next one...

Adagio Caramel Almond Vanilla Rooibos
YAS. This "Hugs and Kisses" Rooibos Tea from Adagio is "blended with rooibos tea, rose petals, blue cornflowers, natural almond flavor, natural caramel flavor, natural creme flavor & natural vanilla flavor". It's very very good, if you like a naturally decaffeinated rooibos with a bunch of sweetness. I'm a fan.

Faculty Jobs: Reflections on Negotiation

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Now that we're really getting into territory that I'm not an expert on, might I recommend Stanford's Career Center Guide for PhDs? Page 36, in particular, includes "36 Negotiable Items in an Academic Position". This is very useful to read. As is talking to your fellow students who have recently obtained assistant professor jobs, your PhD advisors and/or postdoc mentors, as well as any contacts you may have at similar institutions.

The Professsor Is In also has some posts about negotiating offers: (1) How To Negotiate Your Tenure Track Offer, (2) Negotiating Your Tenure-Track Offer(s), (3) How (Not) to Negotiate a Tenure Track Salary, (4) Stop Negotiating Like a Girl, and (5) Category Archives: Negotiating Offers. The Professor Is In even does negotiation consulting for about $500, here: TPII: Services and Rates.

University in Vermont

So there's lots of lists that include what to negotiate for at a higher level. But what do the items in these lists include? I'm going to list some specific items. These aren't necessarily what I requested, but maybe it'll give you a good feeling for what can be requested? I stuck every item I wanted into a spreadsheet with (1) the item (and quantity), (2) price, (3) frequency needed (once, every year, etc.), (4) URL, and (5) Note/Justification. Just remember, I don't actually know if I did any of this successfully or not ;)

I included everything I could think of needing for my first three years, even if I knew the school would be supplying that (i.e., a desk, student funding, etc.) from alternative sources outside of the start-up package. I told the search committee representative (who was negotiating with administration on my behalf) that we could discuss what items on this list are being provided by other resources, so s/he knew that I was open to items being removed from my proposal.

Do not spend excessive amounts of time finding the best deal, in fact, quote the price of the highest quality version of the item you can find. You might be stuck with that item for quite awhile!
  1. Salary: 5-10% increase. Research says women tend to avoid negotiating, so I made it a point of feminism to request this, no matter how uncomfortable I felt about it (i.e., very). Your justifications are either your qualifications or other comparable offers you have (careful).
  2. Start-up package (first 3 years):
    1. People: Student researchers (number of grad students, undergrads, etc.) during the school year and during the summer, Transcription services, Human subjects payment funds, Research programmer time, Lab managers?, ...
    2. (Equipment) Computers: Laptop and desktop, Laptop docking station, Ergonomic keyboard, Ergonomic mouse, Wrist rests, Monitors, Monitor stands, Powered USB hub, Port adapters, Printer/Scanner, Speakers, Headphone/Mic set, USB Conference phone, Webcam, Pointer/Clicker, Other things you need to virtually collaborate or give presentations...
    3. (Equipment) Research Equipment: Audio recorders, Video recorder, Tripods, Student/Lab computers, Mobile devices, Mobile device camera stand, Bamboo tablet, 3D Printer, Laser cutter, Eye tracker, Virtual Reality whatever, High speed computation access, Other specialized equipment you need to do your research...
    4. Software: Statistical software & add-ons, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, Data Visualization Software, Cloud server storage (AWS?), Professional Github Account, Mobile Developer Licenses for you + students, Other software/digital licenses needed to do your research or presentations/publications, ...
    5. Furniture: Ergonomic chair, Ergonomic keyboard, Ergonomic mouse, Adjustable standing desk, Standing mat, Sitting chair, Task lamp, Whiteboard, Rollable Whiteboard, Bulletin board, Lockable filing cabinet (for you and students, if needed), Bookshelves, Stuff you'll need in your lab space...
    6. Space: Office, Lab/Desks for students, Human subjects room/closet, ... (Note: Liberal arts colleges tend to be a bit squishier on the space-front)
    7. Miscellaneous Office: Money for books and articles, Money for printer ink/paper, Research poster printing funds, Money for assorted office supplies, Professional memberships, ...
    8. Travel Funds:
      1. Money for conferences you're presenting at
      2. Money for conferences you're not presenting at (Justification: Networking)
      3. Money for PC meetings
      4. Money for workshops
      5. Money to send students to conferences, etc.
  3. Moving Funds: Get an online quote or two to move your belongings and car. If you're going to drive your car, there's a government reimbursement rate for mileage you can find online.
  4. The Internet recommends other categories: Extended time to consider the offer, Guaranteed junior sabbatical, Summer salary, Starting date, Paid visit to look at houses, Spousal positions, Summer insurance, Purchasing your graduation regalia, etc. etc. Ask around. Do your research. I've emptied my pockets of ideas.
The Professor Is In says to never accept an offer the day you receive it. She also says to request the offer in writing, and not to negotiate before you have that. However, every academic institution I spoke with wanted to know my start-up package and salary demands before writing an official (PDF) offer. So, while theoretically it may make more sense not to negotiate until after the official offer is provided, practically, I'm not sure if that ever happens.

Things To Ask About

  1. Expiration/Extension of start-up package funds
  2. Starting date (expected arrival / expected paychecks)
  3. What happens if I use up all my start-up funds before the 3 years is up?
  4. Faculty housing
  5. Look up benefits/insurance
  6. Know the tenure and sabbatical clock
College in Pennsylvania

Handling Multiple Offers and Various Timelines

Having multiple offers is a great problem to have, but it also introduces a great deal of pressure and stress. Quite simply, the schools on the earlier timeline (November and prior) will interview you in December and produce an offer the week of Xmas. Meanwhile, you're still waiting on campus visit invitations for January and February. Once you get an offer, you should tell any schools you've remote interviewed with in which you're still interested that you've received an offer with a decision deadline of __/__/__.

Thus begins the never ending dragging out! Academic institutions want you to accept within a week of the offer being extended. You can usually pretty easily get this pushed back an additional week. But two weeks won't be enough for the other institutions you've notified to give you a campus visit and offer. So you have two options: (1) begin negotiations or (2) be very grateful and appreciative as you decline the offer. If you do begin negotiations and you continue to get additional offers, then you may be able to get additional time, or decline less ideal options as you go.

In general, you should not decline an offer unless you (1) really don't wish to work there or (2) you've accepted another offer. This was advice I was given, and it nearly killed this honest-to-a-fault lady. So. I don't know what advice to give. These timeline pressures are awful, and I hated it, and I'm glad things magically worked out the way they did. And it's over. Thanks be to the FSM.

College in Upstate New York

Success: Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche [omg]

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche

This is far too much quiche for one person.
Thankfully, Jim is back from Korea. And there's always the Dizz. She's a real spinach and pie crust lover, lol.

SmittenKitchen's Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche is pretty darn easy (if you purchase the pie crusts from the refrigerator section), fantastically delicious, and absolutely busting at the seams with spinach. It is really quite tasty.


Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche
Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche

I've already made this twice. So. It's a keeper.

San Francisco: Fun Home

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Curran Theater - Fun Home
Between a friend's birthday celebration in Union Square and Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" musical 4 blocks away the next day, it made sense to Hotwire ourselves a schmancy hotel for a night and purchase late night street pizza.

The musical was very good. Not uplifting, but there were definitely some wonderful moments of humor and levity. At the very least, it's not Hamilton, so you can actually get tickets!

All part of our Bay Area bucket list. Only 5 months left, must do all the things!

Outside The Curran Theater View from Nob Hill
Geary Street
The Marker

Tea Review: Tea Selection from The House of Tea

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Overall, the teas from The House of Tea tend to be a bit subtler in flavor than my usual Adagio teas. This generally means I go through it a bit faster since they require a bit more intense of a leaf top-up for second and third steepings.

Decaf Vanilla Tea
Decaf Vanilla Tea. I like this tea, and it's especially nice because it's decaf. So it's a black tea alternative for nighttime, when I'm not feeling the rooibos.

Apple Tea
Apple Tea. Also quite good, but could do with a bit more apple. Fruity black teas are a nice thing to have around.

Peach Apricot Black Tea
Peach Apricot Black Tea. Smells heavenly and is delightful with a bit of milk. Peaches 'n cream. I'm always fascinated by these more pebbly-looking teas. Must be a different drying technique?

Ginger Lemon Green Tea
Ginger Lemon Green Tea. Hearkens to the German Green Power Tea of yore, but with less lemon/ginger and more green tea.

Rose Mint Tea
Rose Mint. This one's a bit flakier than the others, and lots 'o wee leaf bits made their way into my tea. Otherwise, this one's heavy on the mint flavoring. 'Can always use more rose (Rose black tea being one of my must haves...that I currently do not have, ha!).

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