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How and When to Negotiate a Strong StartUp Package

Module by: Rice ADVANCE. E-mail the author

Summary: This is a conversion of a presentation given at the Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position Workshop given on October 14-16, 2007.

Our Plan for This Session

  • Components of a Start Up Package
  • Faculty Member Perspective
  • Chair/Dean Perspective
  • Q&A Our Primary Emphasis

Example: A Bare Bones Offer Letter

Figure 1
Figure 1 (graphics1.jpg)

Example: A More Detailed Offer Letter

Figure 2
Figure 2 (graphics2.jpg)

Faculty Member Perspective

  • You are in your most powerful position during the negotiation process (almost impossible to add to once you arrive)
  • The chair is your advocate.
  • Teaching reduction buys you time – this is critical!
  • Flexibility helps a lot as your needs evolve. Can you change people into equipment? Graduate students into postdocs?
  • Talk to as many junior and senior faculty as possible to get advice on what is a reasonable package in your subfield before you start.
  • If there is someone at the institution you trust to ask about what a typical package in your field is like that is even better.
  • Cannot compare offers w/o understanding a school’s overhead and tuition policies.
  • Need to find out how much a graduate student costs and if it changes throughout PhD.
  • Also need to understand school’s overhead return policies and academic year buy out policies to compare offers.
  • And if it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist…

The Chair/Dean Perspective

DO

  • Realize this is when your chair/dean are forming their impression of you as a future colleague
  • Have and communicate a very clear idea of what you need (2-3 pages)
  • Differentiate between what you absolutely can’t live without and what would be very helpful
  • Know what equipment could be shared with others
  • Be prepared on the initial visit for your meeting with the Dean
  • Be prepared during the dept interview to say which courses you can teach in the dept. you are interviewing in.
  • Know your space needs (special power, cooling water, etc.)

DON’T

  • Repeatedly change your needs (This was the only comment that every single chair/dean independently mentioned)
  • Try to raise your offer at one school to make another match – it becomes obvious and reflects very poorly on you
  • Wait until everything else is finalized to bring up a two body issue (when to bring this up is a possible Q&A topic)

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