I have heard that this happens quite regularly: someone takes a TT job at a place that they don't want to stay long-term, work for a few years and then move onto another TT job elsewhere. How do those folks find the jobs to move to? Is an Assistant Prof. position open to applicants who have 0+ years of experience in such a position? I have seen only a couple of ads over the past two years that explicitly stated mid-TT applicants were welcome. So, how do people find jobs to move to? Are these transitions more likely to happen in R1 schools? And who are the letter writers for such applications? If someone in the current department knows about a colleague's desire to leave, it may cause a lot of tension.
They may consider you for a job that is officially listed as "asst. professor" even if you area already a professor. This year I lost out on an asst. professor job to someone who had already been a professor for years despite the fact that it was supposed to be a JR. search. I also know of two people who did the same thing last year, got jobs that were officially listed as Jr. jobs, but were already professors before hand.
Anothergal, is your current rank Assistant Professor? Or are you already associate or full with tenure? It makes a difference…
Agree with At Anon. My understanding is that assistant professors who are trying to "trade up" are nowadays taking quite a few of the positions that are otherwise advertised as your run-of-the-mill TT assistant professor job. I'm a postdoc at a top-ranked private R1, and there was a search in my dept. this year for assistant professor, presumably for jr. candidates based on the ad. ALL interviews went to people who were already assistant professors at other places, and outstanding ones at that. It is seriously frightening to me that even stellar/superstar postdocs essentially had no shot.
Many places want a proven researcher who has had time to develop classes, research plan and skills, etc. That's why grad students have such a tough time landing jobs. If someone is an assistant professor, it signals that they have already been vetted carefully by another university.
That said, all 4 of the people we invited this year were post-docs in year 1-3 of their post-docs.
Thanks for the answers! But are the positions you're talking about primarily in R1 schools? R2 schools?
I'm currently a postdoc and am looking for a TT position, but if I am offered one that is not THE most ideal position, I want to know ahead of time what the chances in real life are for me to move somewhere else if I chose to do so in later years.
I'm in this position right now myself, and can provide a different perspective…I've been an assistant professor for 3 years, and I am looking to move…From what I have learned in this process, some places will see making a mid-TT move negatively, as the new faculty member will likely need to be brought in with up to 3 years toward tenure. Of course, other departments are OK with this and perhaps prefer it. The issue for the departments on the negative side is that they view that there is little time for someone to (re)establish themselves as a productive researcher capable of publishing papers and getting grants, and to adequately demonstrate effective teaching, service, mentorship, etc. I have heard of several places that have passed on candidates who are currently faculty members elsewhere in favor of post docs or current grad students for this reason. They may also sometimes pass because individuals not currently in a TT position can be brought in at a lower salary. Although the view that there is less time to adequately demonstrate the requirements for tenure is of course true, that doesn't seem to make it impossible to do so in 3-5 years time. One could argue that it is a limited perspective to not hire people already TT somewhere else because someone in a TT position is likely to already be established, and to have demonstrated excellence in publishing, getting grants, teaching etc.
So, I think it can go either way, and I would not consider it a hard fast rule that people currently in a TT position are more likely to be considered than a post doc or grad student. In fact, I'd say it's likely that most positions that are landed by current post docs or grad students had someone who is already TT apply, who was passed up on for some of the reasons mentioned here. My advice to the original poster of this thread is to consider carefully which position you take because it may be harder to move at the assistant professor level than you might think.
I made a move after being an assistant professor for three years. I applied to, interviewed at, and got offers from jobs that were for assistant professor positions. However, not every place will let you negotiate your past years toward tenure.
I have also known associate professors who applied to assistant prof positions. They knew that they would be taking a paycut and would have to go up to tenure, although they usually could go up for tenure sooner than someone in their first faculty position
Thank you for sharing your experiences!
I wouldn't want to make a move mid TT to another place, but given the tough job market (which is better than last year, but still very competitive!), I may not have options from which to pick. So, just gathering information :) Thanks!