I have a tenure track position at a European university. Owing to some serious health issues in my family I will move to be closer to them.

I will resign before the term is over (but will try to keep on 1 day/mo to contribute to a small project and hopefully keep my title, I’m about to be promoted to Full Professor but I’m not sure how the faculty will react once they learn this).

No one knows this.

What’s the best way to move forward to preserve my relationship with the faculty?

  • 2
    Are you worried that it will put the promotion in doubt or just the question exactly as you asked it?
    – Buffy
    Sep 13, 2019 at 11:47
  • 1
    Honestly: I’m worried about both (even if the promotion was based on work previously done... there are expectations)
    – Teusz
    Sep 13, 2019 at 11:48
  • 1
    Feels sneaky to accept the position first and then level this bombshell... tho it would be pragmatic in a sense
    – Teusz
    Sep 13, 2019 at 11:48
  • 4
    I don't know how things work in Europe, but I would assume that if you truly resign, you are done at this university. No title, no one day of work per month, no nothing. So if you want to eventually come back, I would look into some form of long-term leave instead of resigning. Sep 13, 2019 at 12:53
  • 3
    Can you take unpaid leave? If you have to move permanently, then this wouldn't help -- but if a year would be enough to deal with the health issues you mentioned, then that might be a workable solution. Best wishes to you.
    – academic
    Sep 13, 2019 at 12:53

2 Answers 2


Assuming you have a good relationship with the faculty at the moment:

I would discuss the situation honestly with your head of department or other appropriate person. It sounds like you have a good reason to want to be closer to your family. It also sounds as though you genuinely want to maintain links with the university. Those are reasonable goals, and if your department values you they will try to support them. Maybe you can keep a day or two a week, maybe you can work remotely, maybe you can visit for a week every two months... hopefully you can explore options and find something that works for everybody.

  • 2
    I agree with this advice. If your mind is made up to go, there is nothing to be gained by keeping it to yourself any longer. Talk to your superiors and see what options there might be. Sep 13, 2019 at 21:42

The future is unknown. I suggest that you accept the promotion and also offer to continue your associations as much as possible given the family constraints you are facing. I don't see it as sneaky, as you have earned the promotion. It would only be sneaky, I think, if you had pre-planned every aspect of it.

I suspect that people will be reasonable, even if they are disappointed to lose some of your participation.

You might ease the shock a bit for them if they know that there is a situation beyond your control that you will be forced to deal with and that will require changes.

But, perhaps you can contribute more than you think, given today's communication capabilities. You needn't be "on site" to have an impact, I suspect. Time may be the biggest issue, rather than distance, and that would be the case even if you don't relocate.

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