I have a PhD and am a junior Assistant professor in tenure track. I had a chance to do a post-doc at an ivy league school, but accepted the tenure offer from a more teaching and less research school. I want to advance my career, and I believe part of the reason I couldn't get into a research school was my PhD university which is well known but not in US. I am thinking of doing a part time post-doc or getting an MSc in an ivy league school to help me advance my career (Machine learning/Data science field). Publication in my field take a lot of time and by the time that I have made an established publication stream I will not be as young and ambitious as I am now.

How awkward is it if an assistant prof does part time post-doc on summers (when not in contract) or even during the year?

  • Which adviser would take on someone as a part time postdoc? That would seem like a poor choice to get a project done... Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 2:41
  • That's a good question, but I had talked with advisors before, I don't know their reaction now, but my research is so that everything can be done online, I don't need a lab or anything.My question is mainly about should I approach the person who wanted to work with me as a postdoc in past? How is it seen by my colleagues? is it too awkward if I do that? or do people do this?
    – useR
    Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 3:07
  • 1
    There are cases where a tenure track assistant professor is allowed to spend time (whole semesters) at another university working on research. Whether your employer would allow this is a very different issue that depends on your particular circumstances. Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 3:33

1 Answer 1


This is a bad idea. Regardless of the "prestige" of your current institution, you have a PhD and are appointed as an assistant professor. Therefore, doing a post-doc or MS will not advance your career but represent a confusing step backwards in your CV.

Why not instead contact the ivy league lab that offered you the post-doc and inquire about simple collaboration? You get to still help with the research and get out (hopefully) top-tier publications, they get to save the salary since they're not employing you. If things go well, maybe there could be joint grants in the future where your summer salary could be covered, or possibly including buying out some of your teaching load to have more protected research time.

I don't have direct experience, but I have some colleagues at teaching-intensive universities, and if you can involve your undergrads in your research and are able to put out high quality papers in respectable journals, the university will likely be willing to go out of their way to facilitate you and you could be on the fast track to early tenure.

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