Update, 3/14: See W's response here.
Another reader of the blog writes in about the "fair amount of research on the backlash women can face when they negotiate, what causes the backlash effects, and how to keep them to a minimum. For a brief-and-breezy summary I recommend this article in the Washington Post." Our helpful reader also says, "If you would rather read a journal article with plenty of references to the literature, see [here]."
We're perhaps past negotiating season for those who secured job offers. But some people might still be negotiating, and some will definitely be negotiating in the future. This story is especially relevant to those people.
Spiros had a discussion on negotiating some time ago (Leiter also has a thread up about deferring a post-doc that is relevant here). He ended the post by asking:
But is there any reason why recruiting Universities should expect would-be new faculty to manifest that restraint themselves by simply not asking for the usual deal-sweeteners? Could it be right to give would-be new faculty the sense that merely asking for more stuff serves to (lightly) strain the new faculty's relationship with the administration?W, a friend of the blog shared a story about 'negotiations' with a SLAC--Nazareth College--that shows how at least one SLAC thinks about potential employees asking for "the usual deal-sweeteners." Now, it's not clear how much or if this story generalizes at all, but it's worth pointing out that at least in the case of this SLAC, asking for some fairly standard "deal-sweeteners" was cause enough to retract the offer altogether without further discussion.
The SLAC's thinking was that by asking for certain things W had "[indicated] an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college...that is both teaching and student centered."
I don't see how that necessarily follows or can even be easily divined from W's attempts to negotiate (I've included the relevant e-mails forwarded to me below). At the very least--and of course, I've made this judgment on the basis of limited information--I think that if the requests did raise questions, the SLAC should have discussed with W their reservations about her interest in teaching at a college.
If there were any doubts, questions wouldn't have been hard to ask, especially if they had entertained her candidacy through multiple rounds of interviewing seriously enough to offer her a job. Why did W want the things she requested? Because she cared more about her research than teaching? Were some of her requests to ensure she had the time to do what she needed to do to get tenure and teach well (while possibly getting other parts of her life started, hence the request for maternity leave)? Etc.
If W was unable to answer the questions in a way that demonstrated her commitment to providing the type of education a SLAC wants to give their students, then I could understand their position. But to send a PFO on the basis of a few requests--some of which appear prima facie reasonable (maternity leave, an increase in salary), but some of which W acknowledges as "easier to grant than others"-- seems a disproportionate response (even if it was well within the rights of the SLAC to do something like that).
Here are the e-mails.
As you know, I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to Nazareth. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier.
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.
2) An official semester of maternity leave.
3) A pre-tenure sabbatical at some point during the bottom half of my tenure clock.
4) No more than three new class preps per year for the first three years.
5) A start date of academic year 2015 so I can complete my postdoc.
I know that some of these might be easier to grant than others. Let me know what you think.Nazareth's:
Thank you for your email. The search committee discussed your provisions. They were also reviewed by the Dean and the VPAA. It was determined that on the whole these provisions indicate an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college, like ours, that is both teaching and student centered. Thus, the institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you.
Thank you very much for your interest in Nazareth College. We wish you the best in finding a suitable position.Yup. That's it. End of correspondence there. It's that last part, the refusal to negotiate before rescinding the offer of employment, that I found really flabbergasting.
-- Jaded, Ph.D.