I applied to a university that has overall okay world rankings in UK (though I believe it is R2), and seems like a good place to work at as an assistant prof, however it is teaching track. Currently, I am at a research university (R1) however its overall rankings are pretty low worldwide (and not among the elite in my country) I have a research background so I was not too familiar when I applied to this teaching position, I did apply because I really enjoyed teaching this year, and I felt like I might be stuck at this university I am at currently (I used to get better offers when I was doing research abroad but now I don't get callbacks from better universities).

I am conflicted however, because I love research and the reason I want to move to other universities are the better research capabilities (students/facilities/support etc). Will a teaching track be the end of research career? During my interviews I sensed that it was not for me, and I sensed that I was not exactly what they would be looking for (though with some training for education I would be a good fit). Now I got the offer and they told me I did very well. Does it make sense to choose this university because of its overall standings even if it is a teaching track? I feel like I will still have at the back of my head to apply to research track positions and that maybe it is early for me to commit to the teaching track only.

What do you think? Would a transition be possible? How is a teaching track viewed for research? Or would that be a bad move? I made some mistakes with the postdoctoral lab I chose (I couldn't get any papers out due to project/data problems, I was left alone, I didn't enjoy the people mostly, didn't know the language etc. and it was a much lower ranking university than my other offers - I took it because I thought it was a supportive/collaborative environment (it was not) and I could continue working on the same topic as my thesis) and then I switched to this university because I simply wanted away, thinking I could apply to better universities but now I feel stuck here as well) I don't want to make more mistakes. What are the future aspects? I need honest opinions. This is not to say one track is better or worse, but how it would work out for a person who actually wants to be in research?

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    Does a "teaching track" position lead to tenure? In the US, some do not, even (especially?) at quite prestigious places.
    – Buffy
    Jun 16, 2021 at 13:41
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    Just that the path from a teaching position to a research position is harder to manage than the opposite. Your own experience shows this. Some people are wildly happy teaching. Others not. Would you consider getting "stuck" in a teaching position to be a good thing or a bad thing. Lots to think about, but think long term.
    – Buffy
    Jun 16, 2021 at 13:59
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    Be aware that there's no such thing as tenure at UK universities (and hasn't been since the 80s, thanks Maggie...)
    – Rdd
    Jun 16, 2021 at 14:17
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    Make a difference for what? Generally, the academic job market is such that you should assume any job offer is the last job offer you will ever get. Jun 16, 2021 at 14:20
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    I tried writing an answer but it does seem quite... opinion based. Basically, in a teaching position, you'll have to do your own research as an extracurricular activity, as it will not be accounted for in your workload. This is very hard. On the other hand, you'll have a permanent position rather than fixed-time contract, and you can take your time (dangerous...) You're more likely to get research support if you find a good postdoc - and quality of recent work will "cover" your long postdoc duration (usually a negative). But a bad postdoc with low outputs might close additional doors.
    – penelope
    Jun 17, 2021 at 12:29

1 Answer 1


Do not take a teaching job if you do not want to teach. You will harm the students.

Pure teaching positions do not usually lead to research positions; it is not impossible, but it is less common.

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    Honestly I don't know why people say this. I love teaching and I got great feedback (to my surprise as well) from my students. Also I was told I did really well. One thing does not exclude the other. It is just a matter of what I want to pursue in the end, so thanks for the latter part of your answer.
    – dusa
    Jun 16, 2021 at 14:06
  • @dusa People say that because many top researchers (and also from my own experience) simply neglect their teaching duties. They don't prepare and respond to student questions. This is because they spend 100% of their time on research. Also, some universities do not reward teaching. Jul 16, 2021 at 20:25
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    @Prof.SantaClaus It really does not justify the accusatory tone of the message though.
    – dusa
    Jul 19, 2021 at 16:30
  • @dusa It's not accusatory; it's just ethical advice. Your question seemed to imply you only care about research. I'm pleased that is not the case. Jul 20, 2021 at 9:09

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