I thought about asking this question over at academia.stackexchange, but reverted to posting here since is overly specific to TCS.

I’m currently a fourth year PhD student in TCS in a top 4 school. So far, I have 2 SODA and 1 STOC papers. I would like to apply for teaching-based tenure faculty position, and was wondering if these positions are simply unicorns in the TCS subfield. In my research over the top 20 schools, I noticed they all had teaching-based tenure positions in fields like ML, HCI, etc, but never TCS.

Now you might be wondering why I want to avoid research-based tenure positions, and the simple answer is that I feel like a fraud. In my three papers, i was never the person who made the initial “breakthrough” in the problem. One of my coauthors always made the first critical observation and I merely contributed to pushing the problem down to completion with their observations. I can’t imagine the amount of stress I would feel if I’m given 6 years to “publish sufficiently” alone or not be awarded tenure. In addition, I don’t think my application would be competitive enough compared with people who have 5+ papers.

I also got awards for my teaching of an Algorithms course; I received the highest student score across the entire CS department (98%), and I was hoping to use that since I really enjoy teaching.

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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking whether teaching-based tenure positions attract virgins? IOW: define "unicorn". $\endgroup$ Mar 9 at 7:50
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilJeřábek I meant a myth, non existent in this subfield. I can’t find any teaching-based tenure positions in TCS in most schools I’ve searched $\endgroup$ Mar 9 at 7:54
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    $\begingroup$ At least in my department, the teaching-but-tenure-track positions are primarily focused on lower-division courses for which research specialty is not really the most critical consideration. We are happy to and have hired professors of teaching whose doctoral research was theoretical, but they have to have an interest in and demonstrated competence in teaching those courses — SODA and STOC papers are a bonus but aren't really what we're looking for with those hires. And we expect some continued research out of our professors of teaching but more often it's at SIGCSE than more technical fields. $\endgroup$ Mar 9 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ My department is looking to hire teaching faculty and we are interested in hiring to teach algorithms/discrete math/data structures courses. It is late for this cycle but I anticipate having positions next year as well. Several universities would be interested in hiring to teach theory courses. cs.illinois.edu/about/positions/faculty-positions/… $\endgroup$ Mar 9 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ @HuckBennett Canadian (research-based) universities have tenure-track teaching positions fairly commonly (maybe 1 of these for every 10 or so faculty). Real "tenure-track" and not 10-year appointments $\endgroup$
    – JimN
    Mar 10 at 2:25


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