[Computational Complexity] The May 1 Deadline
In 1964 the Association of American Universities passed the following resolution setting a May 1 deadline for hiring away faculty from other institutions.
The sharp increase in the demand for teacher-scholars of high talent arising from our growing national needs in both instruction and research is now pressing against a limited supply of such talent in many disciplines. To assure the highest possible effect in each university in producing high talent to meet future national needs, sound and orderly planning will be required. When late and sudden, induced departures of personnel assigned to provide instruction to lead in research in one institution may well do more to impair the effectiveness of that institution than is justified by the gain to the institution extending the offer. This is particularly true at the level of tenure appointments where the institution has declared its willingness to undertake a continuing obligation and where there are most likely to be continuing obligations by the faculty member to graduate students and colleagues.In practice we are strongly discouraged from making such offers after May 1 but if say Harvard wants to hire away a professor from Yale after May 1 for the following academic year, the provost of Harvard makes a request to the provost of Yale and such requests are almost always granted.
Therefore we consider it incumbent upon the administrations of both the prospective and current institutions of employment to call the attention of the individual faculty member to these obligations when employment changes, not accepted before May 1 for the immediately ensuing academic year, are under consideration. We believe that a responsible approach for both the institutions and the faculty members would be to consider offers made or pending on May 1, or thereafter, to be effective normally only after the intervention of an academic year.
Most fields finish up hiring early in the spring and the May 1 deadline reasonably blocks some last minute shuffles. But as the computer science hiring season often goes into June and junior and senior hires often compete for the same slot the May 1 deadline can create havoc in the CS recruiting process.
The high-demand low-supply of faculty in 1964 no longer holds true today. We need to reconsider whether a one-day-fits-all deadline really applies in today's diverse academic hiring environment.
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 6/04/2006 07:12:00 PM