Bear in mind as well that this post is written from the perspective of a single person with no partner, no kids, so your mileage may vary. If you're trying to wrangle a position for a partner, then everything else changes. Likewise, if you're trying to move a family, and make sure you're in a good school district, then you will really need to focus on relocation provisions. With those caveats in mind, here goes:
Yes, you can ask for more: First of all, as I mentioned in the last post, your most important negotiating moment comes when you are offered the job. But if you're like I was, you're just so happy to have a tenure-track offer that you're not willing to push, either because (1) you're afraid to lose the job, or (2) because you think that they've done enough by offering you a TT job at a decent wage, and you don't want to come off as greedy or ungrateful. A couple of things to remember: (1) Unless you're asking for a private jet and a personal masseur -- in other words, for things that make you sound like you'd make an insufferable colleague -- the chair or dean or the person you're talking to knows that negotiations are part of the process. Negotiations should be completed in a timely manner, but a reasonable employer isn't going to rescind your offer just for asking for something. (2) See #1: they know this is part of the process. BUT... also recognize when you're being offered a good deal, and don't negotiate a point for the sake of doing it. For example, if your suitor-institution has a 4-4 teaching load, and you're offered two years of 2-2 teaching, pushing for more course releases might be a misuse of your negotiating capital.
Take your time (but not too much): Most places will want no more than two weeks to elapse between offer and final decision. Try not to drag it out. On the other hand, if they say, "we need a decision in three days " (as one school did to a good friend of mine), something's going on there. Taking a job is a huge decision, and a commitment for a big change in your life. Don't let yourself be stampeded into it.
What I asked for: I asked for the library to purchase a subscription to a critical bibliographic database that I needed for my research (and that students could also use); I also asked for a one-semester junior sabbatical to work on the book. I got the database. But I also got two years of a reduced courseload that was part of my original offer. Still, I could have done better...
What I might have asked for: And here we have a list of things that you might consider when negotiating. No one person needs to ask for all of these; it depends on your offer, the institution type, and any number of other things. This is just a list of ideas:
- Relocation expenses. Seriously, you may not think that moving yourself and your grad student furniture is a big deal (if you're like I was, you did it every 12-18 months anyway), but moving cross-country is another ballgame. Check out moving companies' rates -- how much will it cost a company to load, drive, and unload it? Then, see if you can get enough to wholly or partly cover a short apartment-hunting trip as well. My employer was pretty generous in this regard, but that was part of the offer, not something I negotiated for.
- More money. Most institutions will probably start you at the middle of the range of what they'd planned on offering; sometimes you'll be lowballed; almost never will the opening offer be the very top. If you can ask for even $1,000 more a year, that adds up over the course of a career, where raises are based on percentages of a previous year's salary.
- More resources. If you're in the sciences or social sciences, you're likely to need equipment and/or lab space. Science-y commenters can expand on this, I think, but my instinct is that it's better to ask up front for whatever you think you'll need over the next 5 years to further your research and that of your students. I've seen friends try to get lab equipment mid-career, and it's very difficult, especially in tight financial times. If you're in the humanities, think in terms of book/journal/database purchases for the library. That one little database I got from my pathetic negotiations costs only $600 a year, but it's essential to my work, and that of my advanced students. If you're at an R-1 (or whatever they call it these days), they expect you to want research resources. Go for it.
- Likewise, start-up funds. This is linked to the previous point. If you're in a field that needs equipment, your start-up funds are what buys that equipment. Make sure you have enough. If you're in the humanities, your start-up funds can pay for research travel. Do you have enough to support you for, say, a one-month research trip to exotic foreign lands? Or, if you're an Americanist, can you get enough to pay for a full summer of jetting around from one archive to another all over the country? (Again, for the record, I used my funds stupidly.)
- Course releases. This point is probably less applicable to SLACs. Your first two years are going to be difficult, as you write new syllabi, and get used to the mountains of paperwork. If you can get a few courses off for your first 2-4 semesters, this lets you get going. Of course, the trick is that you have to show that you're using that time -- not just for research, but to develop new courses.