Harnessing the Collective Power of the Academic Blogosphere for Good

I feel awfully elitist posting this—but something to think about while I am on the road for the next week.

I was trying to help a grad student think about the things that people negotiate at a tenure-track job offer, and while my overall advice was pretty basic, I think it was really helpful that I was able to give some benchmarks—e.g., this school offered X amount in moving funds, but this other school uses Z amount. So she knows that a demand for Y should not be out of line.

So I’m thinking it might be a useful resource to collect some anecdotal benchmarks in one place. There is salary data out there (AAUP, AHA), but I don’t see published studies on the things that supplement salary for tenure-track or other full-time professor positions.

For instance, for research funds I know an SLAC (probably Top 30-50 but not Top 10?) that gets two conferences per year paid for, no maximum amount mentioned, international conferences allowed. I know a phd-granting state flagship (for a poor state) provides $2500 a year in reimbursement on conferences, travel money, books, etc. I know a conservative religious university with a 3/2 load that will let people apply for up to $500 a year for a single conference.

Some numbers I’ve heard for moving expenses: $4000 at one school, $2000 at another school. Both phd-granting institutions. $1000 at the same conservative religious university.

Anyone want to join me in the comments? I’m hoping mostly to collect numbers for humanities (literature/language/classics/philosophy/history/etc) types, and the interdisciplinary “studies” (women’s, ethnic) that hire in those fields, and perhaps non-lab social sciences (anthro/soc/history/etc)—the structure is very different in any field that requires a lab or that is competing with the possibility of non-academic jobs. Obviously we aren’t going to arrive at any sort of conclusion, and average numbers would be silly—the point here is just to map the landscape.

Any category you have data on: photocopy/printer quotas; computer start-up funds; free/cheap lunch in the faculty cafeteria; etc, as well as research funds and moving expenses; and try to characterize the school loosely, as above. Just remember it isn’t a competition.

Please pass the link around, or feel free to tweak the survey on your own blog and post a link to it here. A wiki, or the Chronicle forums (like this one on health-care costs), might be better methods—anyone should feel free to improve upon the idea.