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Presentation in the 2006 Rice University NSF Advance Conference entitled “Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position”. This presentation introduces the reader to the things to consider when negotiating a start-up package. The original presentation authors are Rebekah Drezek (BioE) Behnaam Aazhang (ECE), Barry Dunning (Physics), Jim Kinsey (Chem), Marcia O'Malley (MechE), and Michael Diehl (BioE).

Workshop Authors: Rebekah Drezek, Behnaam Aazhang, Barry Dunning, Jim Kinsey, Marcia O'Malley, and Michael Diehl

Slide 1: our plan for this session

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

Slide 2: negotiating your first position

Slide 3: my favorite general references

  • The absolute best reference:
    • HHMI Lab Management: Making the Right Moves
  • Other good ones:
    • Tomorrow’s Professor–Preparing for Careers in S/E
    • A PhD is Not Enough!
    • The Chicago Guide to Your Academic Career
  • And you have to read:
    • Ms. Mentor’s Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia

Slide 4: a day in the life of an assistant prof (2/17/06)

  • 8:30-10:15
  • Meeting at MDACC on ovary study. Our protocol was approved (Yay!). Did we mention it has to be absolutely pitch dark?
  • Try to get back to Rice on time for nanobio training review. Hope it is not raining (irritates my Segway…)
  • Nanobio student No. 1 review (I am co-supervisor on joint project)
  • 10:30-10:45
  • Nanobio student No. 2 review (I am supervisor on joint project)
  • 10:45-11:00
  • Meeting with postdoc No. 1 on paper revisions due last week.
  • 11:00-11:30
  • Meeting with student project team No. 1 for BIOE 572
  • 11:30-12:00
  • Meeting with grad student No. 1 on fl project.
  • 12:00-12:30
  • Meeting with grad student No. 2 on job search.
  • 12:30-1:00
  • Meeting with grad student No. 3 on protocol for R21 (Did I mention we have a R21 due today? By 5:00.)
  • 1:00-1:30
  • Forage office for food.
  • 1:30-2:00
  • Meeting with student having HW trouble in BIOE 572
  • 2:00-2:30
  • Meeting with student project team No. 2 for BIOE 572
  • 2:30-3:00
  • Meeting with grad student No. 4 on paper submission
  • 3:00-4:00
  • Weekly teleconference on RO1 No. 1. Curse each other (as always)for choosing mouse model for colon cancer. Learn more than you ever care to know about strategies for colonoscopy in mice.
  • 3:45-4:00
  • Leave teleconference early to hook up computer for this seminar.
  • 4:00-5:00
  • Give seminar.
  • 5:00-6:00
  • Teleconference to discuss competing renewal of RO1 No. 2.

TIME is the new MONEY. Negotiating start up is not about maximizing dollars but maximizing your opportunity for success.

Slide 5: example: a bare bones offer letter

Letter 1

Bare Bones Offer Letter


  • salary
  • start-up fund
  • initial summer salary
  • graduate student/yrs
  • moving expenses


  • raise to reflect late start date*
  • teaching relief
  • how long do you have to spend money?
  • when can you start spending?
  • where is space?
  • how much of it?
  • renovations?

*if not incorporated into offered salary – will be difficult to figure out if only 1 year delay

Slide 6: example: a more detailed offer letter

Letter 2

More Detailed Offer Letter

Slide 7: 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…

Slide 8: the chair/dean perspective


  • Realize this is when your chair/dean are forming their impression of you asa future colleague
  • Have and communicate a very clearidea of what you need (2-3 pages)
  • Differentiate between what you absolutely can’t live without and whatwould 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 inthe dept. you are interviewing in
  • Know your space needs (special power, cooling water, etc.)


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

Slide 9: potential q and a topics

  • Points from Other Panelists
  • When is the right time to bring up “two-body” issues?
  • What is the right approach to handling multiple negotiation processes?

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, 2006 nsf advance workshop: negotiating the ideal faculty position. OpenStax CNX. Jul 31, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10442/1.7
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