I am desperately looking for a sense of direction. I am about to start a career in academia and I am..I guess scared. My Ph.D. was something, it was enlightening, to say the least. I do not have too many publications, just 6 to 7 in total. In my second year of Postdoc received an offer for this tenure-track faculty position at a teaching-intensive university. Here is the problem: 1. The start-up money is pretty small, I don't know if I might be able to get my research up and going(even for preliminary data) They do not have a Ph.D. program, only masters. 2. I don't know if I can get a grant from the NIH based on having my publication number. Also, some NIH grants are not for H1B visa holders. 3. I cannot use my postdoc to generate data (That was one of the things that someone suggested to me). Not all PIs like that, also my postdoc funding agency doesn't include a portion for research, only stipend.

Did anyone make it through with something like this? How did you do it? How and which grants do you think I could apply to bring money in for a lab?

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    Note: if this question could be truly answered in a SE answer there would be no stress in academia.
    – Bryan Krause
    May 20, 2020 at 21:01
  • :))))) True but I guess all of us can learn from the other right? Who better than real human s to solve real-life messy problems.
    – Annallise
    May 20, 2020 at 21:03
  • Do you have collaborations that could continue? What I have seen (more in science/engineering) is that successful faculty at teaching-intensive colleges are part of larger collaborations. They can spend the summer in another lab (national lab, bigger university, CERN, ...), and then bring back tasks that can be done by undergraduates or masters students. Those students then, if interested, have a clear path to PhD programs at the other collaboration partners. Of course, this observation may have no bearing on NIH related programs...
    – Jon Custer
    May 20, 2020 at 21:14
  • That is in fact a very good suggestion. Thank you. I will make a note of that.
    – Annallise
    May 20, 2020 at 21:23
  • You should consult with your future colleagues about what they expect you to do in order to get tenure. Random internet advice won't help. Also, inability to get tenure/grants is not necessarily a reason to turn down the job. May 21, 2020 at 1:22

1 Answer 1


This depends on what you want your career to be like. At a "teaching-intensive" university or a Liberal Arts college, expect teaching to be much more highly valued than research, though you can't ignore the latter. This explains the small start-up funding. If you want, primarily, to teach, the position will probably serve you well.

But if you really want research to be your focus you need to think hard about it as you will probably be largely on your own for obtaining both funding and the time for research. Given that, generating lots of quality papers will be harder, though not impossible if you have, or can develop, a wide circle of collaboration. And without a lot of papers it might be harder to move up to a research focused position. Again, not impossible, but harder.

Your choice. Think first about what you really want from your career.

  • Those are good points and I agree with everything. Unfortunately, I don't want to give up this offer. I like the school, the culture and of course, it's where I want to be. Jobs in academia are pretty tough in these times. I want to succeed is all. I do not want to give up either research or teaching. I need to just bring in some money to support my research. How....is my big quest. But, thanks dear friend, I really appreciate it.
    – Annallise
    May 20, 2020 at 20:49

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