I plan to apply for a tenured position at school B.

I am currently on sabbatical at my school, school A, for the fall semester of 2015. According to the rules of school A, I have to stay with school A for the whole year of 2016 (I heard that this is the case for most universities: you have to stay for at least six months or one year after you receive a sabbatical).

Therefore, if I get an offer from school B, the earliest time I could start working would be the spring of 2017. School B is hiring for the tenured position starting in September of 2016. And I am afraid that school B will not have openings in future after this hiring.

So my question is: Should I apply to the position at school B and telling them: "I can only start working with you starting the spring of 2017"? Also, if I say this, will it affect my chance of getting the job? Or, would it be the case that I will not be considered and I should simply apply for academic jobs that advertise a start date of September of 2017?

  • Welcome to Academia SE. Unfortunately, my problem is not completely clear to me: You are on a sabbatical from school A right now and want to apply to a tenure position at school B? Also, if that was correct: Can you really not just stop working at school A during a sabbatical?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Sep 19, 2015 at 9:41
  • I am sorry if my question was not clear. I have modified it and hopefully it is more comprehensible.
    – Paul
    Sep 19, 2015 at 9:51
  • 2
    @Wrzlprmft For my sabbatical, and I guess this is standard, I signed an agreement to the effect that I would return the salary for my sabbatical year if I did not return to teach the following year. Though if I had died, I don't think they would try to get it back from me, but who knows.
    – Kimball
    Sep 19, 2015 at 22:35

4 Answers 4


Your sabbatical time may be able to be "bought out."

If you leave your job after your sabbatical, the school may just want reimbursement for your salary. It is possible that the new school will be willing to pay that in order to hire you.

One case of this happening, I believe, was when Matt Welsh left Harvard after getting tenure (although he left for a company).

  • I weakened your statements slightly, since I suspect some schools might disagree.
    – jakebeal
    Sep 19, 2015 at 16:27

In the light my limited experience, if I was in your position, I would apply normally to school B and, if I get the position, ask them to defer my integration until the spring of 2017. If they accept (which they apparently tend to do), all is good. If they don't, then you cannot accept the position, but there was no clean way for you to get it anyway. This strategy does not affect your chances of getting the job in theory, since you already have the position when you ask for deferral. Of course, if the selection committee is aware of your situation, they might ask for your intentions during the selection process and your (honest) answer could impact the outcome. However, it would only be a sooner way to know whether the defferal is possible for them or not.

  • Thank you very much for the answer. As far as I know, most of the schools will ask in the application form: "If appointed, when could you start work?" So I have to reveal my plan of deferral when I apply.
    – Paul
    Sep 19, 2015 at 12:08
  • 3
    @Paul, You might explain your situation in the answer to that question. For instance, "I currently have a contractual commitment through Spring 2017 but may be able to 'buy-out' the remainder of my commitment, and would work hard to negotiate an earlier release."
    – Josh
    Sep 19, 2015 at 18:22

Personally, I would apply, but making the situation perfectly clear from the go. It might hurt your application, but it is better than to be interpreted as malicious by your potential future colleagues... Not the best way to start anything...


I would apply and not even mention this until it became a problem. You may not be interviewed, and you may not be offered the job even if you are interviewed. Cross that bridge when you come to it. I also doubt that the school would litigate against you, so, while it might create some bad feelings if you left, you'd be tenured at a place you were happier with, and that's what matters.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .