I'm coming off of a 1 year visiting position. I'd like to focus more on teaching than research, but to still keep research active if possible.

Two positions open to me are a 1 year VAP (possible 2 year) at a liberal arts school or a lecturer at a large public school. Both are similarly ranked in their respective categories (~top 40).

The lecturer position is essentially a permanent position, but there is a higher teaching load and not much room for research. I have to admit however that I don't want to be on the market forever, and given the cost of living there I think I could still be comfortable. Additionally, even without research I imagine it would be helpful for teaching-oriented positions if went back on the market. On the other hand, I have the impression that the nature of the VAP, (2/2 or 2/3 load, with research potential) would be better looking for more blended potential tenure-track positions.

I know the decision is mine based on what's best for my particular needs (for example, the VAP is much closer to family) but objectively for a career trajectory, does one make more sense than the other? Just trying to get ideas at this stage. Any similar experiences, anecdotes, cautionary tales etc. would be helpful!

1 Answer 1


My experience (based on chairing four search committees for tenure track and lecturer positions in mathematics in the last four years) is that full time lecturers tend to very rapidly become non-competitive for tenure track positions due to a lack of research productivity. If you want to compete for a tenure track position at an institution where research is expected then you would probably be better off staying in VAP positions with a lighter teaching load for another year or two while you continue to search for a tenure track position.

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