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just a quick note

I agree with Marcus that you shouldn't let the department know until you've secured an offer from the second institution. I served on a hiring committee once. What I noticed is that people already in a TT position always asked to keep their application confidential and not contact their current department for any information. Even their job talks are staged as normal colloquium talks. So my answer is, keep it to yourself (and your letter writers, of course) until the offer lands.



As for the position leap, it's possible they will be interested in your application. If your record suggests you would be granted tenure in their department had you been hired there as an assistant professor, they might consider you.

Anecdotally, I have also (twice) seen rank broken apart from tenure. Sometimes the rank of associate professor will be granted a year or two before tenure. Depending on the university, that option might be available to the hiring department. So, definitely apply.

Jonathan Ichikawa

My sense is that is more common than not to keep this private within the home department. But there are exceptions. If you have a good level of trust with people in your department, your explanation of the situation will make sense: you're not looking to move, but your dream job just came up, and you want to take a shot. It's by no means obligatory to tell them, but if you have a good relationship with them, you could tell them without creating trouble. I have occasionally seen reference letters from people at the current institution in this situation. "So-and-so is an excellent colleague. We would be very sorry to lose them, but I understand the particular reasons why they are excited about this opportunity."

As for Marcus's question about tenure: this kind of situation is possible if, and only if, the candidate's CV and general dossier would merit tenure and promotion at the hiring institution. This might well be plausible in many cases, especially if they are near the point of tenure and promotion already.

associate prof at R1

The tenure process has to happen either way when you hire at the associate level. It's just accelerated (typically). So I don't see why it would be more difficult to hire an untenured person than a tenured person. Either way the process has to be redone.

(The standard advice I've heard about when to let people know is "if you get a fly out", but I'm actually not sure that applies in every case. However, it may vary based on whether you are willing to negotiate with your home institution to stay. For example, in some cases I know places will offer a raise and/or other goods to cancel the fly out, before an offer is made. My guess is the advice also has to do with that being a time at which people in your department are likely to find out anyway, and it's a way of not being rude about it.)


I was on the market twice during TT, and both times I let two good friends in the department know from the beginning, but asked them to keep it quiet, and let my department chair know at the fly out stage. If I had not trusted my chair and had a good relationship with him, though, I would absolutely not have told him until I had an offer in hand.

In terms of having a chance at the associate job, two data points: the second time I went on the market was in my tenure year, and I ended up moving jobs. I got hired as associate, but was untenured for the first year while my tenure case went through their system. (N.B. two possible relevant differences, though - 1) the job I had applied for was assistant level, not associate, and 2) I was going from a "worse" to a "better" university). The other data point is a friend who moved jobs at the tenure year a few years ago. She applied only to associate jobs (and would have been tenured at her original job the next year if she had stayed) and got several offers. I'm not sure whether they granted her tenure immediately or made her go through the process in her first year. Good luck!


OP here: Thank you Marcus and everyone for the excellent advice!

Perspective from the so-called dark side

One point that has not been raised is that, in some cases, tactically leaking the information about an interview at the finalist stage may be worthwhile at home. If you are genuinely likely to jump to another university, then this isn't particularly valuable, but if you are interested in seeing what your current employer might offer as a counter-offer, then waiting until you have an offer in hand to counter may make it more difficult for your dean to come up with a plan for a possible counter offer (this is because the hiring department will want to put a lot of pressure on you for a fast response to an offer, but your home institution may not be able to move as quickly -- because typically this kind of thing is going to require the dean to make a case to the provost, though some universities have other sorts of structures/processes for this). Knowing you are a finalist for a lateral or a step-up position elsewhere *could* create resentment among your departmental colleagues, but it is unlikely to make your dean feel that way unless you are a serial finalist at other universities or are applying at places that are perceived as less prestigious than your current university.

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