I currently work as a TT Assistant Professor in a very comfortable and welcoming top-100 university in my field. My wife lives in another country for the time being and I would like to spend more time with her so I was looking for opportunities there as well. I noticed a top-10 university there that I have connections with that I would like to collaborate with. After making introductions and such, they are willing to collaborate and are additionally offering me a visiting professor position.

The way I understood this offer (one line in an e-mail), is that this would allow me to go there and do research and teach some courses every once in a while and probably get my costs reimbursed. After reading some threads here, it seems that my view is too simplistic and possibly wrong.

  • Is such a visiting professor position actually combineable with an existing TT position?
  • Is there a name for what I described in the second paragraph?
  • What would you recommend for my situation? Visiting researcher? Visiting scholar? Visiting professor?
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    In the U.S. model, you'd need to "take leave" from your TT position, allowed for at most a year or two. They would not pay you at all while on leave. If the other univ is a high-status place, your time there might enhance your own status at your TT place... or, depending how things appear, it might detract, for example if people at the TT place get the idea that you feel no attachment to them... And, visiting positions rarely lead to TT slots, so it would be "naive..." to imagine that you'd necessarily have that opportunity at the more desirable place. Don't give up the TT place. Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 1:39
  • Thank you for this advice, this confirms my fears and I would not give up my TT for this. What is the name for what I'm looking for though? I.e., some kind of an agreement that allows me to be part of their university without sacrificing the TT. I would have expected this situation to be common but the terminology is confusing for me so it's hard to look up ...
    – iric
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 17:16
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    In the U.S., the title would be something like "Visiting Scholar" or "Visiting Assistant Professor" (the latter indicating some sort of seniority higher than "scholar", which might refer to a post-doc, meaning just after PhD). But in the U.S. I think you'd not be allowed to have a permanent job at two universities: one or the other would decide that they were not getting their money's worth out of you (even if you scrupulously avoid "double-dipping", that is, do not accept two paychecks at the same time...) "Visiting" positions are not permanent, even if recurring. Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


I will answer this question in light of @paulgarrett 's comments:

  • A Visiting Professor position is a full time job and not combineable with a full time TT position
  • A Visiting Professor position is no guarantee whatsover for anything else in the future so one should not give up her TT position for this.
  • Visiting Scholar seems to be the type of position that is combineable: you start a research collaboration with the second university but officially affiliate 100% with your current one.

I ended up going for something in between which I hope will combines the best of both worlds: having the visiting scholar position for a year and simultaneously giving up 20% of my TT at my current institution in order to get a temporary 20% position as visiting professor at the external institution.

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