Criteria for Evaluation of an Academic Job

This list was compiled by Matthew Lombard. Please send suggested additions/changes to

The Area

  • Environment near campus
  • Extent and quality of public transportation
  • Accommodation for biking
  • Crime levels
  • Cost of living
  • Cost of housing
  • Climate
  • Cable/Digital Cable/Cable Modem/etc.
  • Access to nearby cities, airport
  • Urban vs. rural setting
  • Number, quality, variety of restaurants and other commerce
  • Appropriate religious institutions
  • Reputation
  • Ethnic, religious, socio-economic characteristics/diversity of population
  • Quality of schools
  • Size (geographic, population)

The University

  • Appearance and size/layout of campus
  • Number of students (graduate and undergraduate)
  • History of university
  • Mission of university
  • Classification Type (e.g., Type I Research)
  • Reputation of university
  • Reputation of president and provost
  • Percentage of students living on and off campus
  • Percentage of students (graduate and undergraduate) full-time and
  • Religious affiliation of university
  • Quality of related departments
    on campus
  • Likelihood of collaboration across departments
  • Policies, practices re: smoking
  • Tenure policies, schedule

The Administration

  • Interference from above
  • How administration views standing of department

The Department

  • Organizational structure of department/college/school
  • Support for conference travel
  • Mission of department
  • History of department (including changes in mission, personnel)
  • Stability of department/faculty
  • Balance of research vs. teaching
  • Teaching load
  • Number of new courses (“preparations”) expected each year
  • Possibility of reduced load during first year
  • Existence/quality of a graduate program support
  • Secretarial support
  • Success rate of faculty for getting tenure
  • Social atmosphere: How well does faculty get along? Do they socialize outside work?
  • Physical atmosphere: Is building, office pleasant?
  • Number of faculty (tenured and untenured, full-time and part-time)
  • Number of students (graduate and undergraduate; full-time and part-time)
  • Place of department in university
  • Reputation of department (in the university and in the field)
  • Policies re: junior faculty on committees
  • Long range goals of department (5 years, 10 years)
  • Tenure evaluation expectations (quality vs. quantity of research and teaching) and procedures (frequency, thoroughness of reviews; formalized mentoring)
  • Quality and diversity of students
  • Effectiveness of department head
  • Relationship of department with academic dean(s)
  • Length, frequency, nature of faculty meetings
  • Faculty turnover rate
  • Balance of junior/senior faculty
  • Work ethic of faculty – e.g., hours
  • Faculty productivity (recent publication history)
  • Training and prior positions of faculty
  • Prospects for collaboration: Faculty interests re: theory and methodology*
  • Age, family status of current faculty
  • Reason faculty chose to come to department/university
  • What single thing faculty would change about department/university
  • Political divisions among faculty (e.g., quantitative vs. qualitative methodology, research vs. teaching, theoretical vs. applied/professional

The Position

  • Courses to be taught
  • Likely teaching schedule (night classes?)
  • Possibility of teaching custom courses
  • Availability of space – office, lab
  • Availability of funds for lab equipment
  • Availability of space for lab, office
  • Search committee’s goals
  • Number of people being interviewed for number of positions
  • Hiring schedule

Computer Resources

  • Computer budget
  • Balance of IBM vs. Apple
  • Computer lab(s) – size, age of equipment
  • Mainframe access and operating system
  • Internet access/speed in office
  • Availability of statistical and other software

Library Resources

  • Quality in field and overall
  • On-line acces

Grant Support

  • Mechanism(s) for notification to professors about grants
  • Availability/quality of help for professors in writing grant proposals
  • Overhead (indirect cost rate)


  • Salary
  • Mechanisms and amounts/percentages for merit, cost of living, and promotion salary increases
  • 9 or 12 month salary
  • Availability of summer funding
  • Availability of setup/start-up and moving funds
  • Type of health insurance
  • Size of deductibles
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Faculty discounts
  • Faculty club/dining area
  • Overall benefits percentage
  • Annuity program, how much matching
  • Time until vested status, penalties for early withdrawal