Day: July 19, 2018

Reader Question: Retention Etiquette

Reader G is an associate professor at a research school highly ranked in G’s discipline. G recently received an offer from a lower-ranked place at a more desirable location (for personal and spousal-placement reasons). G consulted with department and college elders, and a retention offer is currently in the works.

However, negotiations with the other place fell through and they withdrew the offer, because they were ultimately not able to offer G what G needed (lack of resources, etc) and they needed to fill the post. While offer withdrawal is rare and considered poor form, at least in my academic corner, it is understandable they wanted to move on quickly, to a candidate they were more likely to attract.

Now that the outside offer has been withdrawn, how does G proceed? G could use the goodies promised in the retention package and would like to get them, if possible. Is it ethical to wait for the retention package to go through at this point, or to inquire about its progress? Or should G immediately report that the competing offer is no longer in the picture? What if G’s institution learns the offer is no longer there from someone else, before the retention is finalized?

What say you, academic blogosphere? How does G proceed? My guess is G wants to maintain good relationships with home institution, and, ideally, get the stuff promised for retention.