Starting Off Strong

Contract Negotiation

One challenge for prospective faculty members is contract negotiation. This is particularly true for historically marginalized faculty, including women in many fields. Here we have provided some resources for contract negotiation, recognizing that the particular unit, department, and position description, as well as the broader context, limits flexibility.

Most academic institutions expect candidates to negotiate once they have been made an offer and prior to accepting it. It is normal to negotiate, especially in tenure track lines. However, this negotiation is occurring between (new) colleagues, so approach it in this spirit.  After you have been contacted with an offer, consider your counteroffer or requests in the context of both the position itself and the institution’s mission, values, and culture. For example, if you are in a research-heavy position, consider what would help you succeed in your field. (It could be additional start-up funds, course releases/funding for research, grant-writing support, graduate assistants, additional training, or travel funds. Faculty have also negotiated relationships with DU institutes or centers, such as IRISE) Or, it might be more important to adjust your teaching load, limit unique course preparations per term, or add support in the classroom such as Teaching Assistants. Within the published ranges, you might also ask for increased salary, an adjusted start date, or compensation/time for expected high impact practice work, like intensive mentoring or research collaboration with undergraduates. Again, each program has different constraints that limit what may be possible. It is often useful to have comparable salary or other data to support your negotiation; consider using data from neighboring public institutions. At this time, DU does not have a spousal/partner hire policy or program. Although not all contract negotiation requests can be met, DU’s leadership wants its new faculty to succeed and will do what it can to support your growth and productivity.

Additional Resources for Contract Negotiation:


Welcoming New Faculty

DU’s begins to welcome new faculty during the search process, where representatives from ODEI meet with job candidates to answer questions candidates may not feel ready to ask their search committee. Once hired, prospective faculty can expect to be contacted by their Chairs and administrative support to ensure a smooth transition to the department. They will also receive communication and guidance from campus leadership, particularly over the quarter prior to coming to DU. DU offers a formal employee orientation, but also a set of welcoming activities for faculty only which introduces them to important contacts on campus. In the first year, new faculty in all series are invited in a Faculty Learning Community and to events throughout the year designed to help them have a satisfying and healthy first year, while making progress towards tenure and/or promotion. We provide training for teaching that suits the individual needs of faculty, who might be seasoned veterans or new in the classroom — or facing a new modality such as online or hybrid. Throughout the first year, we offer programming, mentors, and resources to help orient faculty to resources, campus norms and policies, and situate them well to do the scholarship and teaching they value. This support and cohort-building continues throughout their time at DU, changing to fit the different stages of faculty life, but even extending into retirement.