I am a new faculty member. My chair is simply crazy in my perspective.

  1. I am an assistant professor. However, my teaching assignment is "offering individual statistical consulting/workshops", not "teaching any classes". This was indicated in my job description when I applied for this job. However, several times, she says, "you are not teaching" - so she says that I need to do what she asks me to do because she pays my salary (I really do not know why she pays).

  2. What she wants me to do is to write research/funding proposals and articles, then put her as the PI/the first author although they are my research ideas/works. She has taken three studies so far. More seriously, when she took the first one, I refused it. Then she sent out an official letter including some other faculty, saying that she took my research proposal because it was originally her idea and I stole it. Worse still, she then forced me to write the paper for her.

  3. My Ph.D. is in statistics. She said that I couldn't get tenured unless I change my research field into an education field which she wanted to do. Her point was again "paycheck" - I should do something because I am not teaching.

  4. Worst of all, she claims I am a bad person and faculty member because I refuse her unethical requests as a researcher. Furthermore, she talks about me to all the other faculty members, causing them to hesitate to be friends with me. Whatever I say goes to the chair.

I am preparing to leave this crazy medical school. However, my concern is the possibilities the chair could ruin my future career by using her connections. What should I do?

  • 1
    If it is a soft money position, you do not teach. But you are expected to raise your salary on grants each year. If you do not, then some senior faculty have to put you on their grants and pay your salary. You will then act as their postdoc (essentially) and they will be first author on most papers. The goal is to allow you cushion until you succeed in your own grant writing.
    – Dawn
    Sep 9, 2017 at 1:25
  • 2
    "Soft money" means that you do not have your own dedicated funding so that you are paid out of existing grants and research programs.
    – aeismail
    Sep 9, 2017 at 1:26
  • 3
    Lots of medical related faculty are paid by soft money. This should have been made clear to you at hiring, but sometimes the current faculty forget that it is very much unusual in other departments (stats/econ). My friend who is a health economist working in a medical department faces this culture shock too!
    – Dawn
    Sep 9, 2017 at 1:27
  • 9
    Even when being on "soft money", those demands sound pretty wrong. Even if OP would be a postdoc, those actions would be completely unacceptable...
    – Mark
    Sep 9, 2017 at 1:38
  • 4
    Don't walk. Run. Start applying for jobs elsewhere today.
    – JeffE
    Sep 9, 2017 at 20:26

2 Answers 2


I strongly suggest having conversations with other faculty in your department, to get their perspectives on what your responsibilities actually are, and on the behavior of the chair. I would also suggest speaking with deans or associate deans, but only after talking to your colleagues within the department. The situation sounds bizarre; good luck!


You need to sit down with the chair and have a long frank discussion about what your job duties are and what you need to do to get promoted/tenure. You should ask about mentoring for new faculty (you need a senior colleague who can help you). You need to have a beverage (or 6) with junior faculty to discuss what is up.

  • 8
    "What she wants me to do is to write research/funding proposals and articles, then put her as the PI/the first author although they are my research ideas/works. She has taken three studies so far." - can a person who makes such unethical requests actually be reasoned with? It sounds like the department chair is holding the OP's paycheck over their head saying "listen, you do what I say no matter what or you won't feed your family this month". Sep 9, 2017 at 11:47
  • Change the order of these suggestions - last one should go fist I think...
    – einpoklum
    Sep 12, 2017 at 6:46

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