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Policy Statement on Supportive Practices & Ethics in the Employment of Young Mathematicians

1. For several years now, there have been substantially fewer Ph.D.-level positions available in Mathematics than qualified applicants. (See, e.g., the report of the AMS Task Force on Employment reviewed in the AMS Notices, Oct. 1992, pp. 820-821, and the 1993 survey of new doctorates, AMS Notices, Nov. 1993, p. 1164). The disparity between supply and demand has caused severe difficulties for some recent Ph.D.'s. There is no indication that the situation will ease significantly in the near future.

It is incumbent on Mathematics departments to make all their potential Ph.D.'s aware of the realities of the job market and encourage them to prepare for a broad range of jobs in the mathematical sciences.

2. The early post-Ph.D. years are crucial in career development. Departments have a responsibility to promote such development. Employment practices should conform to this principle.

The systematic use of one-year appointments to fill regular teaching positions has the potential for exploitation of those holding such positions. Young mathematicians in one-year terminal positions with full teaching loads must, in addition to carrying out their duties and trying to establish their own scholarly program, begin again searching for a job almost immediately after settling in--a concentration of pressures which will almost certainly have adverse effects on professional growth and morale.

While some one-year positions are professionally beneficial, many others can be rationalized by institutions only on the grounds of fiscal expediency or charity.

Employers should strenuously seek means to devise better situations for recent Ph.D.'s. Whenever possible, positions should be offered for at least two years.

3. Although many institutions are under severe financial pressure, this should not be used as an excuse for exploitation. In particular, the practice of hiring unemployed Ph.D.'s by the course, without integrating them into the scholarly life of the department, is seriously detrimental to the individuals and the profession.

The systematic hiring of unemployed Ph.D.'s part-time at sub-standard salaries is reprehensible and exploitative. It demeans the profession. Such practice undermines educational quality.

Adopted by the Council in January 1994 so as to speak in the name of the Society


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