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You're wrong (Marcus, not Troy).

Perhaps it varies from case to case, but at my R1, I know of a search (not in my department) where at least one assistant professor is a finalist for a tenured job along with some other tenured candidates.

To render this somewhat less puzzling, appointing somebody with tenure requires basically the same procedures regardless of whether they already have tenure or not. We still have to solicit a bunch of outside letters, and the university still has to sign off on it, in a way that's more of a hurdle than it would be with a junior appointment. So it's not as if somebody's already having tenure makes it easier to appoint them in any way. Sure, their already being famous makes it easier, but if an assistant professor is doing well enough that they're a slam dunk for tenure at their home institution, they might also be competitive for a tenured lateral at another institution.

No idea about trans-national stuff, but I'd be surprised if it made much a difference. Again, I only know about my own institution, and even there I don't know much, but my understanding is that what matters is how strong a candidate you are, which depends mostly on your research profile, as assessed by publications and letters. Where you're coming from, and what rank you currently are don't figure in much.

Marcus Arvan

Thanks Daniel - I’ll confess, I sort of wondered whether something like that might be true, but expected it probably only occurs in super rare cases with “superstar” junior people (who I’d assumed would probably just get offers and not have to apply). Anyway, thanks for clearing things up!


It happened at my grad institution. Within the research school circle I think it is fairly common for someone who is about to go up for tenure to apply for a tenured position. I do think they have to be at least a *rising* research star though. I have no idea if it happens at teaching schools, but as far as I know it is pretty rare for teaching schools to do a senior hire? Am I wrong about that?


I’m aware of a hire last year that was a tenured hiring of a previously tenure track person. And I also know that some friends who were up for tenure recently searched for jobs that year at both the assistant and associate level. The strategy:

Suppose you don’t get tenure but you get an external offer. 1. It might be a job upgrade. 2. It might be a safety net. 3. It might be a bargaining option.

And if you do get tenure 1 and 3 might still be good to have. I’m not on a tenure clock but the advice given to me at another time was to plan to apply around at tenure review.

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