If a 4 year liberal arts college is doing a search for a faculty position through September 15, when does the job start? The start date is not mentioned.

The position is for a new interdisciplinary degree program that appears to have been only been granting degrees for one year. It is teaching rather than research focused. I assume the interviews for prospective candidates last through the end of the year. Is it typical that this position is starting the following fall term, or would the hire start teaching in the spring? Or is it institution dependent and I should just try to find out from the school?

closed as off-topic by David Ketcheson, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, David Richerby, scaaahu, Coder Jul 28 '17 at 9:19

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    This is likely institution dependent, though if there's not a specific start date mentioned, my completely naive assumption is that it would start in the Spring. – deckeresq Jul 27 '17 at 18:39
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    This is likely institution dependent, though if there's not a specific start date mentioned, my completely naive assumption is that it would start next Fall. – JeffE Jul 27 '17 at 19:34
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    Just ask the university. Don't ask the internet. – David Ketcheson Jul 27 '17 at 21:01

Only the hiring institution knows for sure, so you would have to ask them.

However, the start date is almost always listed in the job posting, so to avoid looking silly, be sure to read the posting carefully, as well as any accompanying information that is included or linked. If you don't find it, then contact the hiring institution (the posting probably contains contact info for a responsible person).

  • I checked again. The ad does not mention the date. – Chester Fritz Jul 27 '17 at 20:24
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    Sometimes there is a "short ad" and a "long ad", for various publications. The short one might omit some information, like start date. You might consider looking for the ad in other places, such as the university's own website (where there is no reason to condense the long ad). – vadim123 Jul 28 '17 at 4:21
  • The ad is on the university's website. I first found it via a tweet to the university's own job site from a professor I follow. – Chester Fritz Jul 28 '17 at 20:00

University departments advertising faculty positions usually take great care to mention all the relevant details of the position in the ad, to the extent that such details can be specified. There is often a process to get the ad cleared by various layers of the campus bureaucracy (for example, at my university the ad is part of the search plan that has to be approved by an associate dean). So it's a pretty safe bet that the ad has been scrutinized by several people (hopefully competent ones) and that the omission of the start date is not accidental.

My conclusion is that the start date is almost certainly not specified because it cannot be specified. I can think of two possible scenarios where that would be the case:

  1. The department advertising the position is not sure when the start date would be. E.g., maybe they are waiting for funding to materialize and are not sure when the funds would be approved, or when some other approval process outside the department would terminate, but they are already confident enough that this will happen at some reasonably near future time to start the recruitment process.

  2. The department is flexible about the start date, i.e., maybe they would be happy with having the new faculty member start either in the spring or in the fall, and are leaving those details to be discussed/negotiated later during the interview and negotiation stages of the recruitment.

My advice is not to assume anything that isn't explicitly written in the ad. You can always just apply for the position and see what happens. Or, if it's important for you to know the start date to decide whether to apply for the position, you should contact the institution and ask about it. But it wouldn't surprise me if they reply with a vague answer saying they can't be sure, since as I explained above, probably if they had a specific date in mind they would already have mentioned it in the ad. Good luck!

  • I would not assume great care was taken in writing the ad. – Anonymous Physicist Jul 28 '17 at 8:20
  • @AnonymousPhysicist I agree, as I myself said one should not assume anything here, but I think it's plausible that the omission of the start date is intentional. – Dan Romik Jul 28 '17 at 8:33
  • i think you are right that the start date is intentional. I've looked into the information available online regarding the other profs in the program. According to their Twitter accounts, the job was also posted last year and I don't think they found a candidate. I think that rather than just filling the slot with someone capable, they are collecting resumes until find they find the "right" candidate. It's an odd position, sort of. They are looking for someone who has worked in industry for a while, to teach the 'applied' coursework for the degree. – Chester Fritz Jul 28 '17 at 19:59

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