Much is written about how to get a job, but I've seen very little about how a professor with tenure (typically an associate or full professor) goes about changing schools. If a professor wants to move to a school with a higher emphasis on research, obviously his or her research, publication, and grant records will be very important. But what else will be important? Particularly, which aspects will be much more important than they would be for an assistant professor looking to get a job at the same school?


Its difficult, and rare for faculty to move from non-research oriented schools to research oriented schools, particularly at the senior level. To be hired as a senior faculty member, you generally have to be specifically recruited, and someone has to make a case that you, specifically, would substantially strengthen the department. This is because making an offer with tenure is a huge commitment for a department, and much more expensive than hiring a younger scientist.

So what you have to do is be a visible leader in your field. When people think of your field, they should think of you, and when their university thinks of expanding their coverage of your field, you should be one of the first people they think of.

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    To be hired as a senior faculty member, you generally have to be specifically recruited. — This is not entirely true. I know many senior faculty who applied for their current faculty position (rather than being invited to apply). But your second point stands — in most departments, it's easier to get tenure internally than to be hired with tenure. – JeffE Jul 23 '12 at 1:33
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    One possible way to convince a department that they want to have you around would be to visit for an extended stay, say on a sabbatical, and let them get to know you and how you could contribute to the department. For a professor who is targeting a specific school, do you see this as being a good use of time and energy? – Dan C Jul 23 '12 at 5:47
  • Becoming a leader in a particular field is a lot harder when one isn't already in a research university (ideally a university known for studies in said field). – user2813274 Nov 7 '14 at 18:34

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