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Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks.

Clauset A, Arbesman S, Larremore DB - Sci Adv (2015)

Bottom Line: Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network-who hires whose graduates as faculty-we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines.Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality.These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA. ; BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA. ; Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA.

ABSTRACT
The faculty job market plays a fundamental role in shaping research priorities, educational outcomes, and career trajectories among scientists and institutions. However, a quantitative understanding of faculty hiring as a system is lacking. Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network-who hires whose graduates as faculty-we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines. Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality. Furthermore, doctoral prestige alone better predicts ultimate placement than a U.S. News & World Report rank, women generally place worse than men, and increased institutional prestige leads to increased faculty production, better faculty placement, and a more influential position within the discipline. These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

No MeSH data available.


Faculty placement distributions.(A) Network visualizations for computer science, business, and history (top to bottom) showing central positions for institutions in the top 15% of prestige ranks (highlighted; vertex size proportional to ko). (B and C) Estimated probability density functions for relative change in prestige (doctoral to faculty institution) for (B) the top 15% and (C) the remaining institutions, showing a common but right-skewed structure.
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Figure 3: Faculty placement distributions.(A) Network visualizations for computer science, business, and history (top to bottom) showing central positions for institutions in the top 15% of prestige ranks (highlighted; vertex size proportional to ko). (B and C) Estimated probability density functions for relative change in prestige (doctoral to faculty institution) for (B) the top 15% and (C) the remaining institutions, showing a common but right-skewed structure.

Mentions: The placement experience of individual faculty is captured by the distribution of changes-in-rank relative to the individual’s doctoral institution. Across disciplines, we find that faculty place an average of 27 to 47 ranks below their doctorate (Fig. 3). The median change of 21 to 35 is smaller, indicating a sizable right skew in each of these distributions. When combined with the observed inequality in faculty production across institutions, the average rank change implies that a typical professor can expect to supervise two to four times fewer new within-discipline faculty than did their own doctoral advisor. This falloff in faculty production is sufficiently steep that only the top 18 to 36% of institutions are net producers of within-discipline faculty (table S2).


Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks.

Clauset A, Arbesman S, Larremore DB - Sci Adv (2015)

Faculty placement distributions.(A) Network visualizations for computer science, business, and history (top to bottom) showing central positions for institutions in the top 15% of prestige ranks (highlighted; vertex size proportional to ko). (B and C) Estimated probability density functions for relative change in prestige (doctoral to faculty institution) for (B) the top 15% and (C) the remaining institutions, showing a common but right-skewed structure.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4644075&req=5

Figure 3: Faculty placement distributions.(A) Network visualizations for computer science, business, and history (top to bottom) showing central positions for institutions in the top 15% of prestige ranks (highlighted; vertex size proportional to ko). (B and C) Estimated probability density functions for relative change in prestige (doctoral to faculty institution) for (B) the top 15% and (C) the remaining institutions, showing a common but right-skewed structure.
Mentions: The placement experience of individual faculty is captured by the distribution of changes-in-rank relative to the individual’s doctoral institution. Across disciplines, we find that faculty place an average of 27 to 47 ranks below their doctorate (Fig. 3). The median change of 21 to 35 is smaller, indicating a sizable right skew in each of these distributions. When combined with the observed inequality in faculty production across institutions, the average rank change implies that a typical professor can expect to supervise two to four times fewer new within-discipline faculty than did their own doctoral advisor. This falloff in faculty production is sufficiently steep that only the top 18 to 36% of institutions are net producers of within-discipline faculty (table S2).

Bottom Line: Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network-who hires whose graduates as faculty-we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines.Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality.These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA. ; BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA. ; Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA.

ABSTRACT
The faculty job market plays a fundamental role in shaping research priorities, educational outcomes, and career trajectories among scientists and institutions. However, a quantitative understanding of faculty hiring as a system is lacking. Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network-who hires whose graduates as faculty-we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines. Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality. Furthermore, doctoral prestige alone better predicts ultimate placement than a U.S. News & World Report rank, women generally place worse than men, and increased institutional prestige leads to increased faculty production, better faculty placement, and a more influential position within the discipline. These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

No MeSH data available.