Chapter Two

a. Negotiating salary and everything else
(A great source for Arts and Letters basics rules, regulations, policies, and procedures is a PDF file called "Orientation Guide for Arts and Letters Chairpersons")

The most important thing to remember when you have been made an offer is that the ball is now in your court. This is not to say that you can suddenly become rude or difficult and that there will be no consequences; rather, you shouldn't be afraid to ask for what you want and to negotiate from a position of strength.

Make a list of your priorities and ask for them. Be ready to make an argument for your number 1 priority. For example, in my department it was always clear to me that my job would involve an unusual service component (directing a play) in addition to teaching and research, and that the directing would NOT count (or not much) in the consideration for tenure. Given this, I was obviously concerned about workload issues. I asked for a teaching load reduction during the semesters I would be directing, in order to have some parity with other faculty. At first my chair refused, and I then raised the issue of additional compensation for the additional service. After our telephone conversation, I realized that in fact additional compensation was NOT what I wanted; I wanted a workload reduction. I composed a polite and carefully worded letter making the argument for a reduction and offering a compromise (making the directing a class) which I felt would work for me. I circulated the letter to two mentors for feedback, then sent it on to the Chair. We worked out a compromise AND I received additional compensation.

Since I had just had a baby, I also asked for a reduced teaching load in my first semester (I didn't get this; I advise you to turn to a WATCH person for assistance in negotiating this if you feel you need it).

A colleague negotiated for additional research monies because she had a project going that she knew would involve travel. This is another good thing to ask for.

The point is: ASK. As long as you ask politely, the worst thing that can happen is that your Chair will say no. If you have an offer from another institution, or if there is something that will be a deal breaker, you need to make that clear, but don't bluff ("I have an offer from XY University offering a course load reduction: can you match that?"). But remember that there are long-term perks and short-term perks, and keep them straight. A course load reduction in your first semester might make your transition easier, but chances are you won't get much scholarship done in the first semester anyway, so it might be a wasted opportunity. Don't let the short term stuff blind you to long term advantages (i.e. a research account or a library fund or an extra bump in salary will both go much further in terms of quality of life and ability to get your research done!)


Questions to ask your chair
You will want to try to pin your chair down as specifically as possible about what will be expected of you for both renewal and tenure. Some departments are willing to give you a quantifiable set of guidelines (i.e. you need to publish a book); most will be vague. The bottom line is that you shouldn't expect to get a very specific answer, but you should still ask the following questions: What will be taken into consideration when I come up for renewal? How heavily are teaching, research, and service weighted? How is teaching evaluated? How is scholarship evaluated?

You might ask for the chair's description of a hypothetically ideal case and a hypothetical case that fails to reach the bar. You should in any case ask for a copy of the university's Academic Articles and the department's CAP document, if they weren't distributed to you at the time the offer was extended.

What will be taken into consideration when I come up for tenure? How heavily are teaching, research, and service weighted? How is teaching evaluated? How is scholarship evaluated?

What will be the department's expectations of me in terms of service in my first couple of years?

How do you evaluate conference participation (or other things particular to your field)? Does it "count"?

Does the department offer mentoring? Where do I go to get advice about teaching, publishing, and committee work?

What is the department's record in tenuring junior faculty? Has anyone not received tenure in the last few years? If so, why not?

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b. Mentoring

There are three kinds of mentoring available at the University: two official (university supported) and one unofficial, through WATCH.

Department and college mentoring
Just recently, academic departments have been strongly encouraged by the Provost to set up mentoring systems for newly arrived faculty, especially for those who are untenured. Most departments have devised different plans for doing this; a few haven't bothered. If you are not offered a mentor soon after you arrive, you should feel free to request one from your chair. The purpose of departmental mentoring is primarily academic — to help guide a faculty member through the particularities of renewal and tenure — though individual mentors can offer much more than that. In most cases, the Department Chair will assign a mentor from the ranks of tenured faculty in that department who theoretically could show you the ropes and advise you on funding opportunities, on research, on academic responsibilities, on teaching resources, on day-to-day paperwork requirements, on the selection of outside reviewers, on conference papers, etc. Certainly it's in your interest (and it is your right) to request an alternative mentor if your relationship with your assigned mentor is unsatisfactory for any reason — that is, if dialogue is difficult, if any hostility is evident, or if it is hard to get the help you need through lack of availability. If you are not satisfied with departmental mentoring or if you desire additional cross-disciplinary mentoring, you should consult your college leadership. In Arts & Letters for example, the ISLA Director and the Associate Dean of Faculty both have fostering of trans-departmental mentoring relationships as part of their portfolios.

Informal mentoring
In 2000, at the recommendation of the University Committee on Women, the Academic Affirmative Action Committee and the University Committee on Cultural Diversity, the Provost's Office initiated a program of informal mentoring for recently hired faculty of both genders. This is a volunteer program at both ends: new faculty members can request an informal mentor from the Provost's office; individual (experienced) faculty members can volunteer to serve as informal mentors. This mentoring can involve anything from a social meal together or a trip to Chicago to see a ballet, to shopping trips, house hunting, advice on schools in the area for children an/or overlapping research interests or just an occasional cup of coffee. This informal relationship is meant to complement existing sources of information about Notre Dame and South Bend, and to offer kind and generous support to the recently arrived. Click the link to find an informal mentor, or to volunteer to be one.

WATCH mentoring
Just pick out a member of WATCH and ask for any kind of help. (As noted in the introduction to this book, the generative idea for the WATCH group was to provide mentoring for women faculty who were up for renewal and tenure, considering an appeal on a tenure decision, or considering a job offer from another university.) Departments are notoriously various on how they communicate to junior faculty — particularly about tenure requirements. There is huge talent in the WATCH group in this arena — women who've been at this university for up to 20 years, who have seen everything, who have contacts up and down the hierarchies of academia, who are experienced teachers, who have contacts in academic publishing. Of course, they are particularly informed about gender issues on campus and they are more than willing to help.

WATCH mentoring is completely informal and private. Just ask one of us for advice, and if she can't help you, she'll know someone — or a group of someones — who can. Besides the academic stuff, we're also skilled at finding babysitters, good restaurants, flea markets and farmers' markets, gardening, childcare (some of us are good at this — some of us haven't a clue), golf, tennis, yoga, aikido, cinema, theatre, etc.

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c. Departmental service

Though a certain amount of departmental, college, and university service will be an important and reasonably-expected part of your job, it will be essential to keep the amount of service you perform within some fairly strict boundaries. This can, depending on the requests made of you, be quite a challenge: it is all too easy to say "yes" to too many service requests, with the result that you have no time left for your own research. This is, for a variety of reasons, often a particular problem for women. It is essential that you determine, early on, how much service is reasonable, and how to avoid service above and beyond this level.

How much departmental service is reasonable will vary to some extent from department to department, depending on such factors as the size of the undergraduate and graduate programs, and the number of faculty members available for departmental service (and not, for example, serving as university administrators). To get a feel for what's reasonable, you'll need to ask around, determining:

What are the departmental committees that need staffing and chairing, and how time-consuming are each of them? (Note that this varies very, very widely, from committees that meet once a year to those that meet every week

How much of this kind of work is done by each of my departmental colleagues?

How much of this kind of work is done by people at my level (brand-new assistant professor, full professor, etc.), both within my department and in other departments, and by acquaintances elsewhere?

Having gotten a feel for the work-load distribution in your department, keep in mind that it is reasonable to expect newly-arrived faculty members, particularly those at the beginning of their career, to be asked to perform less service than those further along in their careers. Assistant professors should generally not be asked to perform the very time-consuming, and potentially contentious, jobs of director of undergraduate studies and director of graduate studies — in fact, the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters has advised strongly against it. Quoting directly from the Final Report of the Committee on Institutes, Departments, and Collective Resources in Arts and Letters, 5/15, 2001, "One aspect of mentoring is guiding faculty members through service assignments. Chairs should mentor incoming faculty members on their commitments and make every effort to protect junior faculty members from overly onerous committee assignments that take unusual time away from teaching and scholarship. Chairs should also make provision for an incoming faculty member whose appointment has been understood from the beginning as a link from the department to an institute and vice versa. In such cases, the chair and the institute director should consult to determine appropriately balanced service assignments."

Similar remarks apply to service for the college and for the university. Unless you or your department have unusual commitments to interdepartmental programs or the like, it is not unreasonable to postpone service outside your department for a few years, until your research is well under way. Though there are no hard and fast rules about how service "counts," service outside your department will typically not do much to enhance your prospects for renewal, tenure, or promotion. It might help increase you salary for the next year — a bit.

You should also consider which service assignments are most attractive to you. Service on a curriculum committee might be useful for your teaching, and service on a lecture committee might allow you to help host interesting speakers and potential mentors. But some assignments may be far afield from your developing intellectual interests.

What to say when I'm asked to do more?

Though some particularly time-consuming service assignments (chair, director of undergraduate/graduate studies) are typically accompanied by a reduced teaching load, other service assignments usually come along with no such compensation, which is to say that they cut directly into your research time. So it is, again, essential that you avoid unreasonable such assignments.

This kind of avoidance is sometimes extremely easy: when asked by someone outside of your department to serve on a college or university committee that you would like not to serve on, simply decline, promptly and politely, explaining that your other commitments make it impossible for you to serve this year. You will probably get quite a few such requests, and your general rule of thumb early in your career should be to decline them unless there is some particularly strong reason for you to serve.

But things are less straightforward when the request comes from within your department. The difficulty here is that it's very important both to pull your weight within the department (and be recognized as doing so), and to maintain good relations with your colleagues, without acceding to unreasonable service requests. If your chair asks you to perform more service than is reasonable, the first thing to do is to discuss with him/her the reasons you take the service in question to be overly burdensome. That may be enough: your chair may well agree, and ask someone else to do the job instead. You will have saved yourself from too much service, and will have made the point that you are not the person to be turned to for all and sundry service tasks.

If this doesn't work, which is to say that you're still asked to take on the service job that you take to be overly burdensome, it's possible to try to minimize the overall impact on your research by bargaining about future service or other items. Ask, for example, that you be relieved of certain service tasks next semester in return for taking on the task in question this semester. Or if your research would be helped by some extra research assistance by graduate students, you might ask for some hours of research assistance in return for the service overload. Or for a teaching assignment that will be closely related to your research or just less time-consuming than others. Though there is a limit to how much your department can do for you, be creative here, and try to come up with ways in which the department can help you to get your research done even in the face of the extra service. Keep in mind that it's in your department's interest, not just your own, that you get your research done.

If, finally, you experience a pattern of unfair service requests that can't be dealt with in either of the above ways, then it's time to seek help elsewhere. Discuss the problem with trusted senior colleagues in the department, and, finally, take up the issue with your dean. If there is a consistent pattern of overburdening women assistant professors, get together with them and discuss the situation, then consider approaching your chair as a group. If that produces no relief, you can consider going to the Office of Institutional Equity and asking for help there.

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d. Spousal hires

Colloquially, the term "spousal hire" is used for a person hired by the university because his or her mate (or partner, or spouse) had been offered a job at Notre Dame and was able to negotiate a 2nd job for his or her mate/partner/spouse (hereafter in this article called "M/P/S"), which could be you.

Being the M/P/S can be very trying, especially if you were the chosen hire (even the cherished hire) of your last employer. If, in the negotiation process, you are offered a regular Teaching and Research (T&R) line in the process, all well and good. Take heart from the fact that most likely, most of your departmental colleagues-to-be were not the first choice of some (perhaps sizable) fraction of your new Department, and managed, eventually, to feel welcomed and integrated into the Department. You can do it too.

But what if you are not offered a T&R line? Now the trouble begins. Why? Because in general, the non-T&R faculty are hired at the rank of Special Professional Faculty or worse yet, Adjuncts. SPFs and Adjuncts are exploited economically, professionally, and are sometimes psychologically damaged by the experience. (Some exceptions: All library faculty are SPFs, as are some well-paid and well-esteemed administrators. I am focusing here on non-T&R teaching faculty.)

As a non-T&R faculty member, it is likely that you will be asked to teach twice as many courses as your colleagues, and to do that for about half their salary. (Some SPFs who are very active in research teach are contacted to teach a 3-3 load instead of a 4-4.) And you will be defined, not as a heroic martyr, but as a second-rate scholar who deserves no better. After you're in that position long enough, you could come to see yourself as a second-rate scholar who deserves no better. But you do deserve better — everyone does — though it is very profitable for the University (who pays you less than your T & R colleagues) and for your colleagues (who have a lighter teaching load because of your labors) to make you think you deserve no better.

What to do? You are in your best bargaining position when you and your mate have not yet accepted a contract and thus can negotiate the terms of both jobs. Push for T&R positions for both of you. Barring that, push for a half-time T&R position for the M/P/S that can turn into a full-time position later. That way you will get the same benefits and pay-rate as everyone else. Barring that, push for a non-T&R position that is as close as possible to a T&R position in terms of salary, benefits, and research supports. Then carve out a unique area of teaching for yourself in your Department, get your publications to match or surpass the publication-record of your untenured colleagues, and then attempt to renegotiate your status. If possible set up an explicit timetable for renegotiation and clear criteria for what it will take to change your status to a regular T&R position. And get it all in writing. In addition, during the time it takes to move toward renegotiation, remember always to push for more salary, a better computer, compensation for professional travel, less teaching, etc. — that is to say, whatever it takes to make your position indistinguishable from a regular T&R one. That way, when the time comes to renegotiate, it will not cost your Department very much to transform your status from SPF to T&R... a strong argument in your favor. And remember always to guard against the demoralization that frequently comes with a non-T&R position and to strenuously fight against it.

It should be noted that arranging for spousal hires is sometimes a difficult and trying process for the Administration as well. Often they have a hard time convincing a department to hire, especially on a T&R basis, a new faculty member they haven't conducted a search for themselves. It can be that the spousal hire would duplicate skills and research areas already available to the department. Some departments are loathe to hire someone on a tenured, associate professor basis whom they have not tenured themselves, or at least searched for themselves. Sometimes this is just purely snotty on the part of the department and sometimes it is a legitimate concern. Even when the administration is most anxious to hire the spouse on a T&R basis, it might be that the relevant department rejects the offer. The Administration has some options left, in this case, but they are likely to be "costly": the promise of a new line for the department or some such.

Negotiating spousal hires is tricky for all three parties (you, the administration and the department) and could be the break point in the negotiations for the M/P/S's job. You'll have to judge/test/guess how flexible or inflexible to be.

(Take a look at Chapter 8 on Adjuncts and Chapter 9 on SPFs.)

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e. Split appointments and their hazards

A faculty position that is shared between two or more departments, Institutes or Centers offers many advantages. The faculty member has the opportunity to meet and work closely with a larger number of colleagues and attend lectures and symposia organized by either group. Institutes and Centers often have generous travel or research budgets that can supplement the funds available from one's department or college. At the senior level, a joint affiliation may increase a faculty member's visibility and range of professional associations. At the junior level, however, split appointments pose some difficulties, and it is helpful to think them through when negotiating the positions.

Spending one's time and energy in two places puts an extra burden on the faculty member, to account for how her/his time was spent, and to negotiate the boundaries of his or her responsibilities. Though the rewards may be substantial, especially in a tenured position, the potential pitfalls for junior faculty need to be considered.

In many universities, joint appointments can mean double responsibilities and obligations: for student advising, committee work, and department service. It is difficult for departments, Centers or Institutes to divide up this work proportionate to the position: what exactly is 50% advising, or 50% committee work? The problem of allocating work can be exacerbated when departments, Institutes and Centers fail to communicate with one another about what they require of a position. Academic units are famously loath to surrender any power, or source of labor, so there is no motivation to "share" human resources with another department. It is crucial that someone contemplating a split appointment work out in advance how these responsibilities will be managed, and to secure agreement with the arrangement from each unit. This is especially true with teaching, since each unit will arrange its schedule to suit its own needs, and the faculty member may be left with an untenable — and untenurable — schedule if there is no communication. Quoting directly from the Final Report of the Committee on Institutes, Departments, and Collective Resources in Arts and Letters, 5/15, 2001, "Probationary faculty members who do serve on committees or provide service to institutes should be given credit for that service. In response, chairpersons may want to reduce some service obligations within the department, or they may want simply to recognize this as additional work during annual reviews. Before assigning a major assignment to a junior faculty member, an institute director should consult with the appropriate chairperson and seek his or her advice in terms of the junior faculty members' trajectory toward tenure and other service commitments. The terms of such an agreement should be spelled out in a letter, a copy of which the probationary faculty member should receive."1

Even after issues of advising and service are worked out, there are less tangible factors, like socializing. People split between two departments often have twice as many social engagements as faculty members who are based in a single department: twice as many receptions, dinners, candidate lunches, retreats, etc. These social obligations do not "count" as part of one's formal review, yet they are vital to establishing and nourishing links with colleagues. And since academic units do not usually keep track of each other's social calendar, it can be difficult to explain how pressing these social demands are. A failure to turn up for these informal but important occasions could be held against a faculty member later on.

Split appointments also complicate the review and tenure process. This is the most dangerous aspect of the arrangement for junior faculty. The Academic Articles currently mandate that the tenure home be a department. But who will make the final decisions about tenure and promotions? Who will make the decision about salary, and how will the faculty member be reviewed, separately by each unit, or by the two together? What if the two viewpoints differ? If it becomes apparent that the candidate devoted more time to one unit than the other, will that decision result in a lower rating from one unit?

Anyone thinking about accepting a split appointment would do well to consult with wise and trusted people in her field to see how these things are viewed and to get a sense of how successful people who hold them have been when it comes to getting tenure, promotion, and professional advancement. It would also be a good idea to talk to people already on campus in such "split" positions - for example, people with appointments in English and American Studies; History and Irish Studies; Theology, Anthropology, or Government and the Kroc Institute; and other combinations.

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1. For more on this issue, see items 16 to 23 on the college website at http://www.nd.edu/~alcoll/dean/institutes-committee-report.html








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6/17/02 4:34 PM
2007 University of Notre Dame