Monday, June 09, 2008

Results of the Hiring Season

I've been eagerly awaiting my chance to talk about the results of this year's hiring season for Harvard Computer Science, but wanted to wait until it seemed all the i's were dotted and t's were crossed. I think we're at that stage.

Because of some losses in Computer Science (including Mike Smith and Barbara Grosz being made Deans, of the Faculty and of Radcliffe, respectively) we were really looking to hire this year. Indeed, I think in the end my most important role as chair of the search committee was to make sure that the right people knew that we really wanted to make a lot of offers, and build support for that. The search committee itself was so great that they made the rest of the job (screening, interviewing, and deciding on candidates) relatively easy. Well, OK, it was actually a lot of work. We had hundreds of folders to go through, we interviewed 14 candidates, and because the candidates were so strong, our decisions were challenging. But the committee itself ran smoothly, with everyone really putting in a lot of effort and working to come to agreement. That's one benefit of a smaller department -- we're very collegial about this stuff.

We ended up making six offers. Given the size of Harvard's computer science faculty, this is indeed a lot, and I'm proud of the fact we were able to make the case to our peers in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences that making this many offers was entirely appropriate. (We were helped, again, by the high quality of candidates.) In the end, we will have three new faculty members:

Yiling Chen works at the economics/computer science interface.
Stephen Chong works on information security and programming languages.
Krzysztof Gajos works on user interfaces and human-computer interaction.

We're all looking forward to their arrivals.

I, personally, feel very good about the outcome, and am pleased the search was successful. I'm of course disappointed that not everyone we made offers to decided to choose us, but I don't think any school manages 100% there. (Quite frankly, I'm sure the Dean would have been somewhat concerned with the logistics if all six had come, but that would have been a problem I'd have been happy to work through and live with.)

I expect Harvard computer science will be continuing to grow in coming years, so when you know of graduates looking for jobs, make sure Harvard is on their radar.


Anonymous said...

When you hire a bunch of people at once, do professors who were already teaching courses tend to get shifted off those, or are the newbies fitted into what spaces were already available or new classes?

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

Anonymous -- it tends to end up a mix. We try to give new professors priority and flexibility. If there's a natural class for them to teach, we try to make sure they get it -- whether it means shifting other professors, having them make a new class, or finding a course that's available for them.

Anonymous said...

It is quite sad that there is no "real" theorist in your new hires.

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

Anon #3: Perhaps I'm reading too much into your comment, but perhaps you have issues.

"quite sad"? Well, no. I mean, it would always be nice to get a good theorist in, certainly from my perspective, but "quite sad"? That's rather downbeat. There's always next hiring season...

'no "real" theorist'? I'm not even sure what that means. I don't see any fake theorists in there either.

Again, I'm looking forward to all of our new hires arriving -- and I'm expecting we'll be continuing to grow in upcoming years.