I’m supposed to be finishing slides for lecture, but I’d like to comment on this. PiT is putting up a vseries on negotiating start-up monies for your first faculty position- in a very detailed series of posts that can be found here, and here (I think we are on the second installment thus far, I’ve also posted on this from time to time and put the links here and here for those wanting all perspectives in one place). A large part of these posts concerns salary both for the TT faculty hire as well as for people you would hire to work in your lab, and there is lots of good information here.
I’d like to add something though, to what PiT wrote- how do you know what salary you as the TT hire should be asking for? PiT rightly mentioned that you should educate yourself on what the going rate is- but there are a couple of sources that she didn’t mention for this. First, if you are getting an offer from a state institution – the salaries of all of the employees of that institution are public information and can usually be found as part of the operating budget of the institution. You may have to poke around a little to find this, but for my institution it is as easy as walking into the campus library and asking for the operating budget. Once you have this in hand you can look for what other hires at your rank/dept/training etc- are being paid. You’ll be shocked by the wide disparities between TT faculty, even those in the same department and hired in the same year. I know I was. Second, if you are considering an offer in a medical school, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC, I believe that is what it is called) publishes a book that contains the average salaries for different regions of the country, for different subject areas, and also by what your terminal degree was (Ph.D. or M.D.), this will at least help you get in the ballpark. Now, it is pretty expensive- but perhaps someone you know might have it (even your library?), and might let you have a look. Anyway, I urge you to go over and read PiTs stuff and the comments on her posts, because they are packed with good information and food for thought.
One other thing I want to address in relation to this, is a post I read this morning from Dr. Zen, written in response to PiT’s posts, entitled: No postdoc? No problem! Well, I’ll just quote directly:
You can survive and conduct research without postdocs, but you have to think about it. It’s very helpful to have ideas for $5 projects in your pocket as well as $50,000 projects. There’s a lot of research that can be done with time and elbow grease instead of big bucks.
Undergraduates can be awesome in the lab. The trick is to recruit them early, in their first year. That way, you have the potential to work with someone for three or four years. Still, you can get a lot of good work with people who are around for a year.
Hmmmm. While I TOTALLY agree that undergraduates can be excellent, I think, perhaps that it is not optimal to start up your new laboratory on undergraduates alone. Why? Because you will have a limited time to secure significant external federal funding. This is a huge job, and one that will keep you writing A LOT of the time. Undergraduates will generally come to you with little or no experience, and most of the time they are not full time employees by virtue of the fact that they are in class most of the day. These kids (awesome as they can be) will need training and a considerable amount of your time. I suggest that as a junior faculty member you are going to have to figure out where the balance of your time should be spent to achieve the level of external funding that you need to run your lab- and spending lots of time training undergraduates at that stage in your career is not a good idea!!
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again- as junior faculty you need a senior tech or postdoc (and we’ve argued here and elsewhere (Drugmonkey- but I can’t find the link at this moment) about that) to be running things and pounding out data (like the preliminary data for your grants)- while you feverishly write grants.
Grants and papers MUST be your first priority as junior faculty.