Statement on Recruitment and Resignation of Faculty Members

The statement printed below was adopted by the Association of American Colleges (now the Association of American Colleges and Universities) in January 1961 with the following reservations as set forth in a preamble prepared by that association’s Commission on Academic Freedom and Tenure:

  1. No set of principles adopted by the Association can do more than suggest and recommend a course of action. Consequently, the present statement in no way interferes with institutional sovereignty.
     
  2. The commission realizes that the diversity of practice and control that exists among institutions of higher learning precludes any set of standards from being universally applicable to every situation.
     
  3. The statement is concerned only with minimum standards and in no way seeks to create a norm for institutions at which “better” practices already are in force.
     
  4. The commission recognizes the fact that “emergency” situations will arise and will have to be dealt with. However, it urges both administration and faculty to do so in ways that will not go counter to the spirit of cooperation, good faith, and responsibility that the statement is seeking to promote.
     
  5. The commission believes that the spirit embodied in the proposed statement is its most important aspect.

In view of these reservations, the Council of the American Association of University Professors in April 1961 voted approval of the statement without adopting it as a binding obligation. Endorsement of the statement in this form was voted by the Forty-seventh Annual Meeting.

The governing bodies of the Association of American Colleges and the American Association of University Professors, acting respectively in January and April 1990, adopted several changes in language in order to remove gender-specific references from the original text.


Mobility of faculty members among colleges and universities is rightly recognized as desirable inAmerican higher education. Yet the departure of a faculty member always requires changes within the institution and may entail major adjustments on the part of faculty colleagues, the administration, and students in the faculty member’s field. Ordinarily a temporary or permanent successor must be found and appointed to either the vacated position or the position of a colleague who is promoted to replace the faculty member. Clear standards of practice in the recruitment and in the resignations of members of existing faculties should contribute to an orderly interchange of personnel that will be in the interest of all.

The standards set forth below are recommended to administrations and faculties, in the belief that they are sound and should be generally followed. They are predicated on the assumption that proper provision has been made by employing institutions for timely notice to probationary faculty members and those on term appointments, with respect to their subsequent status. In addition to observing applicable requirements for notice of termination to probationary faculty members, institutions should make provision for notice to all faculty members, not later than March 15 of each year, of their status the following fall, including rank and (unless unavoidable budgetary procedures beyond the institution forbid) prospective salary.

  1. 1. Negotiations looking to the possible appointment for the following fall of persons who are already faculty members at other institutions, in active service or on leave of absence and not on terminal appointment, should be begun and completed as early as possible in the academic year. It is desirable that, when feasible, the faculty member who has been approached with regard to another position inform the appropriate officers of his or her institution when such negotiations are in progress. The conclusion of a binding agreement for the faculty member to accept an appointment elsewhere should always be followed by prompt notice to the faculty member’s current institution.
     
  2. A faculty member should not resign, in order to accept other employment as of the end of the academic year, later than May 15 or thirty days after receiving notification of the terms of continued employment the following year, whichever date occurs later. It is recognized, however, that this obligation will be in effect only if institutions generally observe the time factor set forth in the following paragraph for new offers. It is also recognized that emergencies will occur. In such an emergency the faculty member may ask the appropriate officials of the institution to waive this requirement; but the faculty member should conform to their decision.
     
  3. To permit a faculty member to give due consideration and timely notice to his or her institution in the circumstances defined in paragraph one of these standards, an offer of appointment for the following fall at another institution should not be made after May 1. The offer should be a “firm” one, not subject to contingencies.
     
  4. Institutions deprived of the services of faculty members too late in the academic year to permit their replacement by securing the members of other faculties in conformity to these standards, and institutions otherwise prevented from taking timely action to recruit from other faculties, should accept the necessity of making temporary arrangements or obtaining personnel from other sources, including new entrants to the academic profession and faculty personnel who have retired.

5. Except by agreement with their institution, faculty members should not leave or be solicited to leave their positions during an academic year for which they hold an appointment.