I spent 2 years in a Visiting Assistant Professor position, which just "ended" after 4 tenure track positions were filled. I was not considered for any of them. My best guess is that I a) don't have enough research, 2) am older (definitely 40+) so won't be there for long enough. After the semester, the Chair called to ask if I would like to stay as a Visiting Assistant Professor one more year to teach Statistics, which I am not good at so said no thank you. Yesterday, I accidentally received the minutes from this week's department meeting which state an "request to fill" position was just approved, so they will be "rush hiring" for that this summer. Should I contact the Chair to let him know that I am interested? Or let it go? I am confused as to why I couldn't be considered. I hope it is not an age thing...

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    Did you apply for the 4 TT positions when they were advertised? What feedback did you get from the hiring committee?
    – avid
    May 31 at 15:24
  • I applied for one of them. I was told I was "old," but not formally of course.
    – Mlbrent
    May 31 at 15:39
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    I mean, at 40, you are only good for 25-35 years... Sigh. But, no reason not to apply again I suppose, but keep on looking elsewhere.
    – Jon Custer
    May 31 at 16:47
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    I don't understand: You said "no thank you" when asked whether you wanted to stay on, but now you're disappointed that they're looking for a replacement. Can you elaborate? Is it that you are thinking that the position they're trying to fill is anything different from the one that was offered to you (the one for teaching statistics)? May 31 at 22:06
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    I don't understand where you're coming from and how your thought processes are working. You don't actually know whether the positions are different, but are willing to attribute malice based on the assumption that they might me. You were sent a position announcement by email, but are willing to claim that there was an effort to conceal the position from you. This does not add up. Jun 1 at 20:54

2 Answers 2


Regardless of the specifics of your situation, if you don't tell anyone that you're interested in a position, then you will not get it.


I have been on many faculty search committees and helped with hiring of VAPs. I have no access to mind reading abilities to see what's inside the skull of the hiring committees who did not "consider" you (your words.) So let's start with the basics:

Did you apply for the other 4 Tenure Track (TT) positions? If you did not apply, they didn't consider you, even if you made a verbal expression of interest.

If you did apply, then they probably did consider your application and decided against you. At my department, we guarantee VAPs that they'll move to the second round, but that's obviously not your department's policy. For those 4 TT positions, were they for Assistant Professors in your area of research?

You mention that you have little research. VAPs are teaching positions, and it's very difficult to do research with a full-time teaching load. Are the TT positions previously open research-based, i.e. they expect you to get extramural funding? If so, there's your answer. You should apply to teaching-based TT positions. There are many out there.

If they considered and decided against you, it could be the age thing, but I doubt it. Again, I have no insight about what went into their minds, but we hire people in their 40s and 50s all the time.

You also mention that they just got approved a "Request To Fill." Is it for another VAP position, in statistics, the one you rejected? Or for a rush hire of a TT position? To me, it sounds like a rush hire of a VAP. If that's the case, you already rejected that.

To answer your questions:

Should I contact the Chair to let him know that I am interested? Or let it go?

If it is a TT position and your research is within the scope of the advertised positions, yes, apply. A formal application is the only way to know if they want someone like you.

If they don't call you for a second round (short-list/phone interviews), then it's time to move on.

  • Thanks so much. Great thoughts.
    – Mlbrent
    Jun 1 at 14:42

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