1 in 8 US-trained tenure-track faculty members got their…

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1 in 8 US-trained tenure-track faculty members got their PhDs from just 5 universities: University of California, Berkeley; Harvard University; the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; Stanford University; and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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  1. I have a PhD from a state school not on that list, and I remember when I wanted to be a professor so bad. My PhD lab advisor was from one of those schools listed, and one day he just told me that I would need a really good name post doc (read- one of those schools or another Ivy) if I wanted to stand a chance. That was so discouraging because I thought I was doing pretty good. I finished with 3 first author papers, 4 second or third authors, and even one single author review (in a low impact journal). I had NSF grants, institutional grants, conference talks, even an invention disclosure submitted with my university (which has now resulted in a granted patent). (Edit: not to brag, but I even got a grant to spend a summer in Tokyo working at UTokyo! Best summer of my life, but I’m adding it because it was a highly competitive grant application).

    So hearing him say that was a huge blow, I mean I went to that university to work in his guy’s lab specifically. I could have gotten into a “better” school.. probably not Stanford or Harvard, but maybe Michigan.

    I’m so glad I abandoned that tenure-track dream and went to industry instead. Big pharma pays WAY more, and the same childish “prestige” pissing contest doesn’t exist.

  2. A friend has a PhD in physics, worked at CERN. He applied for a professor position and 100 qualified particle physicists had applied.

  3. Abstract

    Faculty hiring and retention determine the composition of the US academic workforce and directly shape educational outcomes, careers, the development and spread of ideas and research priorities. However, hiring and retention are dynamic, reflecting societal and academic priorities, generational turnover and efforts to diversify the professoriate along gender, racial and socioeconomic lines. A comprehensive study of the structure and dynamics of the US professoriate would elucidate the effects of these efforts and the processes that shape scholarship more broadly.

    Here we analyse the academic employment and doctoral education of tenure-track faculty at all PhD-granting US universities over the decade 2011–2020, quantifying stark inequalities in faculty production, prestige, retention and gender. Our analyses show universal inequalities in which a small minority of universities supply a large majority of faculty across fields, exacerbated by patterns of attrition and reflecting steep hierarchies of prestige. We identify markedly higher attrition rates among faculty trained outside the United States or employed by their doctoral university.

    Our results indicate that gains in women’s representation over this decade result from demographic turnover and earlier changes made to hiring, and are unlikely to lead to long-term gender parity in most fields. These analyses quantify the dynamics of US faculty hiring and retention, and will support efforts to improve the organization, composition and scholarship of the US academic workforce.

  4. Is there a longer list, not just the first 5 but say the first 50? I’ve looked and I can’t seem to find it anywhere

  5. I feel like this is just a positive feedback loop. People from these schools get a TT job and then eventually end up on search committees when a job in their department opens up. These people then are more likely to push to hire people from their alma mater either by some conscious or unconscious bias or because they have connections at the university and maybe know the applicants PI. Basically you have elite university PhDs hiring other elite university PhDs and everyone else gets squeezed out.

  6. So we finally have data showing what that discussions of diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia should also include elitism as a bias

  7. Schools with the highest number of Nobel Laureates:

    Columbia, UChicago, Harvard, Stanfard, MIT, Princeton, UCBerkley, UCSanta Barbara, Cambridge, NYU, UPenn, UWashington, Duke.


  8. I recently got into an argument on Reddit about the debt forgiveness. Someone said people shouldn’t take financial risks and state universities should be for those that can’t afford Oxford and the like. It wouldn’t matter anyways since it won’t increase job opportunity.

    This article shows it definitely does matter what university you attend and money can in fact help getting a better position. Money being a limiting factor and put a ceiling on ambition doesn’t seem very American dream to me but what would I know about it as a European.