I would run as fast as I can. These two posts point to a dysfunctional department that will your life miserable. I don't know what the repercussions might be but you seem to be competitive in the job market so hopefully you can find another job in the area soon.
Date: 26 Jan 2016 04:45
Number of posts: 10
RSS: New posts
Based on what you've written, I'd back out. Remember that these people would potentially be your colleagues for years, and if there is already apparent dysfunction within the department and a lack of trust in the chair, then I doubt you'd want to be stuck in that kind of environment.
You might burn some bridges backing out on a signed offer, but sometimes it's better to burn the bridge than to cross it and end up in an academic hell.
I don't see it as backing out. The offer you were provided is not the offer they are honoring. The question is whether you want to accept this lesser offer, and the answer seems like "no", especially now that you have additional information about the quality of life at the department. So, I'd decline this new offer (aka "run").
But, since no one else is expressing it, here is another view on things. IF you got tenure at this new place, then how many of the other things actually matter to your happiness? Perhaps you'd be too focused on the happiness of having a job-for-life near family to worry about publishing somewhat fewer papers due to a potentially higher teaching load and fewer resources! It all comes down to this: if the details end up worse than promised, and there is "harm to your career", how much is that "harm to you"? It becomes easier to separate them once you have tenure!
As someone on the job market for the first time, I would RUN. My advisers strongly warn against such potentially toxic environments.
You can always try the market again next year.
This is the most justified "backing out" I've heard of on here, other than perhaps the person who wanted to back out of an adjuncting position for a TT one.
I would probably back out if I were you but I get the thing about family. It sounds like the dean has got your back, but the chair is weak and crappy overall. Another problem you'll have to face (other than the chair) is that the faculty might blame you for the lab space switch. Or if they didn't get a grad student they wanted accepted, but you brought yours. I think it's possible to put up with a crappy chair as long as the other faculty in the department are behind you (and you might just elect a new chair soon anyway) but I could see this situation causing you to start off on the wrong foot with some fellow faculty, too. Probably some hate the weak chair and will know who to blame, but others might not think it through that carefully.
I also agree with "Other View" — you need to decide how much each of these factors matter in comparison to the family factor. And even "family" is a vague factor. Are these family members very good with your kids and do they have time to spend with you and them if you were to live nearby? It would sure be a disappointment if they were never available or didn't get along with your kids if you sacrificed so much to move. Is it just grandparents, or are there family members in your generation? (There are pros and cons to grandparents vs. aunts/uncles of your kids)
I just made a move to be close to family and it is glorious (we also have small children). I also got a department chair upgrade, though, so it wasn't such a hard decision. And, we are living near the more available, more kid-oriented set of grandparents, which is huge (the other set loves their grandchildren deeply, but aren't the babysitting type.)
Get out now. If it's this bad now, it's only going to get much worse when you get there.
Re: Other View's comments…
The notion that your career is not your life is something I think we forget in academia. True, you need to assess if being in a certain area or having the ability to work reasonable hours to have a home life outweighs a less than ideal work situation. That said, aside from sleeping we'll all pretty much work more than anything else. If you're working with people you don't like, in a toxic environment full of back-stabbing, at a college or university that lacks resources to let you do your job effectively - this will all carry over into all other areas of your life.
A toxic work environment will lead to a toxic home life. The stress and frustration will carry over and impact relationships and family. So, if you can avoid a rotten work environment, do so. I say it's better to work at a good community college than an R1 if you need to be in a specific geographic area. I know colleagues who went this route after promising research paths. They seem to have no regrets.
What a dysfunctional department you have. Given such a toxic environment plus the new phd program, they will be whole lot of politics for the coming years. For instance, you have the research vs teaching camps keeping battling. Thats why I left my previous place. Also, you will have lot of services due to the new program. If you like research and quality teaching, that's a bad place to be. Further, if you can't bring your current phd students, they will be much like adopted kids in your current place.
I remember your earlier post. Go with your gut on this.
If you're still not sure: ignore everything that was verbally said or promised to you and consider only the behaviors and actions that you have observed; as we all well know, past behavior is a great predictor of future behavior.