As a theorist my chief capital costs are software and computers (for large calculations and simulations). If starting at a new institution I would ask for these in my start up budget (about 20k USD). But in 5 years these items might all be obsolete and incompatible. What do I do then?

I understand that most schools have computer replacement programs every x years but the type of computers I would be asking for in start-up are quite expensive and not your typical campus machine.

I am curious what other theorists have done. Especially interested in those that might be at a primarily undergraduate institution.

I am working on the latter half of my PhD in mathematics at a mid-ranked university, and I am beginning to think about what kind of career I would like to have after I graduate. I am leaning towards a tenure track job at a more teaching oriented liberal arts college. I am more into the teaching aspect of the job rather than the research aspect of the job. I prefer living the quiet life in a smaller size town, and having fewer students that I can interact with rather than larger classes where I don’t get much interaction with students.

However, salary is important to me and when I search online “liberal arts college assistant professor salary” I get conflicting, and some downright scary search results.


  1. Salary genius says:

    The average yearly salary for Liberal Arts College Professor is $36,550. If you are just beginning to work a new job as a Liberal Arts College Professor, you could expect a starting pay rate of $30,100 annually.

  2. says:

    How much does a Asst. Professor – Liberal Arts make? The median annual Asst. Professor – Liberal Arts salary is $56,978, as of January 30, 2018, with a range usually between $44,890-$69,846, however this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors.

  3. Wikipedia says:

    Assistant Professor:
    $45,927 (Lowest Median By Field)

    $81,005 (Highest Median By Field)

    $58,662 (Overall Median)

I am okay with’s numbers and Wikipedia’s. I know that these numbers go up as you get promoted to associate professor and full professor, and I think that somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000+ is a pretty decent starting 9 month salary. But Salary Genius’ cited numbers, to me, are an absolute joke for the qualifications required for the job and the amount of time we have put into getting those qualifications.

Question: I am hoping for some responses about what kind of salary I will likely be getting if I get a tenure track job at a smaller liberal arts college in, say, a rural town. What are the actual numbers?

Hopefully I can hear from someone who actually has experience working at these type of institutions.

I have been hearing things like nothing you write in an email is confidential in state universities because of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other similar state laws.


  1. Can I file FOIA request to see all the emails that a professor receives including all of their unpublished research progress and interactions with their students and postdocs?

  2. Can a postdoc request to see the recommendation letters received or sent by their advisors about them?

During the pursuit of my degree, which I received in ’92, I took a class where motifs in folksongs were routinely discussed.

I don’t remember the exact wording now but I noticed a few songs with wording about a couple going to bed and the man putting the woman “toward the wall”. I couldn’t figure out what this motif might mean, so I asked about it in class. My male professor looked me dead in the eye, and answered “for leverage”. The delivery was not lighthearted, and it was not followed by anything to lighten the mood. I read it as a kind of attack in the form of sexual innuendo. Why? Partly because of the aggressiveness of his eye contact, and partly because of the flatness of his tone of voice.

My reaction was no doubt colored by the fact that a friend had previously told me she approached this professor during office hours for a different class and he’d asked her out for coffee. She declined, and he retaliated in class.

My interaction with him quelled my in-class participation and made sure I never approached him after class unless there were plenty of other people there. Nonetheless, I got a good grade in the class and it had no lasting impact on me. I dismissed it from my mind and didn’t think about it again until the rise of #metoo.

At the age of 20, he seemed… old to me, and it never occurred to me that he would still be professionally active – until I heard him on the radio yesterday talking about a new book. As it turns out he is still at that same university, and I’m concerned that he’s still “teaching” young women.

It has been nearly 30 years and the “harassment” seems nebulous at best. Should I report this, and if so, how? I started drafting an email to the department chair, but while the incident certainly had an impact on me at the time, it seems so… thin? weak? questionable when I write it out (even here).

So… now what?

For the record, this is not about me. I pretty much got over this a long time ago. My concern is for young women in his classes today.

I have been offered a temporary (3 years) post doc in Australia with a salary and superannuation.

As an American,

  • Can I access this money? Is there a penalty?
  • Can I transfer it to a tax-advantaged American account?
  • Is it held in an investment vehicle? Can I choose it?
  • If I do not retire in Australia, can I still let it sit in an Australian investment vehicle until I am retirement age and then withdraw from it?

For the past few weeks, I have been struggling to understand something and answer a very specific research question. I asked my advisor the same question and he couldn’t give me a satisfactory answer.

  1. Is it socially acceptable to bypass my advisor and ask a senior academic the same question?
  2. Does it reflect negatively on my advisor if I bother other academics with my research?

I am an Asian international student studying in the United States and not sure what is the most prudent way to do this. In my country, bypassing ones advisor to ask a senior academic reflects poorly on the advisor and group in general and is implicitly frowned upon.

I’m currently an undergraduate student in the US but looking seriously into some master’s programs at European universities for the international experience, cost difference in my field, and exposure to different styles of study. I’d also like to become a high school teacher someday at a public or private school, most probably in the United States.

I understand that each state has license requirements for public school teachers, but as far as where they get their higher degree, would it be disqualifying if the graduate university is outside the US? Does the type of accreditation matter (like if it is accredited in the US, or by the government of the country in which it is located, or another authority)?

For context, the universities I’m looking at are in EU countries and the UK and middle-to-well-ranked.

I am currently concluding my PhD in England and I’d like to do a postdoc preferably in the US or Canada. I want to know what is the best approach to find and apply for a postdoc position in the US/Canada? In specific, I’d like to know that:

1) Should I contact the supervisors directly when I find an interesting project or should I only contact PIs who advertised a postdoc position?

2) What should I include in my emails to potential recruiters? (obviously apart from my CV!)

3) If my publications are still pending [submission/review/publication], how should I mention them in my application?

4) If I want to apply for a position that is related to my PhD project, but I don’t have enough experience in the field how I should construct my statement letter? (Let say for example I worked in the field of genomics and I’d like to do a postdoc in machine learning!)

I am under the impression that holding a European style PhD (3 year research) already put me in disadvantage for getting a postdoc in the US/Canada? Is that true? how best this could be dealt with?