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[UW MCB] Faculty Salary Freezes & Retention?


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I'm having a hard time choosing a school, I have it down to the University of Washington at Seattle and Washington University in St. Louis. Both programs have excellent reputations and have faculty members I'd be willing to work with. Initially I was dead set on UW, as I liked the coursework better and I love Seattle-- I'm close to family, lots of my friends live there, and the social scene is better.

Then, I found out that faculty salaries are frozen for the next year, prohibiting UW from giving raises to retain faculty members. I know some institutions of a similar caliber have instituted faculty salary freezes (Harvard, Yale, JHU, Stanford, etc...), but as far as I'm aware of, none of them have explicitly prohibited salary negotiation. The Institute for Systems Biology and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are exempt, but all but one of the people I'm interested in are at UW. I don't want to go, only to have all the faculty I'm interested in working with leave. UW has already lost a chunk of its neuro group over the last couple of years.

So now it looks like WashU is the better program, as they're better funded and have faculty members I want to work with. Essentially, the program at WashU is 'better', but everything else is... ugh.

tl;dr: I like University of Washington a lot. But the state salary freeze and prohibition of salary negotiation has me worried about faculty retention. Internet, are my fears justified?

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One thing to note is that given the current state of the economy, most institutions aren't hiring.

Overall, I think that you should go with the program that you think would be the best 'fit' for you as of right now. You can't predict the future; faculty members at any institution might leave. I don't think you should be especially concerned about this unless you have actually heard that the faculty members you're interested in are actively looking to leave. And if they leave down the road when you're already settled in their lab, you'll have the option of going with them to their new program. So don't worry too much. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

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