Short version: For tenured professor in small and less prestigious universities. What are the factors to be considered and balanced when making the decision on whether or not to try hard to move to bigger and more prestigious universities?
Long version: I am a (recently tenured) professor in a small regional public university in the northeastern part of United States. I am fairly happy with my current situation:
- I have an active research program;
- I kept up with newest research trend and established myself as a leader in a subfield;
- I have an NSF grant (for now) and, thanks to the PUI status, have good record of getting grants;
- I don't mind teaching, and sometime even find it fun;
- Service expectation is low; As long as my research is going well, I can usually pick some light service responsibilities that I enjoy;
- I am well respected in the department and college, and (when I have a grant) even the provost seem to like me;
- The politics in the department is quite simple; There are occasional problems, but the department is so small that, at the end, everyone needs everyone else;
- My salary is not high, but with the low cost of living, living condition is pretty good;
- The student body is such that I feel I'm actually making a difference in their lives;
- And I have tenure.
However, one in a while, I also feel the urge to move "upward". To list some cons for staying in a small lower-tier undergraduate-focused university...
- I have no chance to academically reproduce;
- It hurts my ego (occasionally);
- I won't get to work with the best students;
- My salary is low and will probably remain low forever;
These are the cons I can see. My questions is: Are there other factors I should consider in such cost benefit analysis?