Most US Professors went to the Same Universities

Sharing core norms and values
Posted Sep 27, 2022 | Nature

US universities hire most of their tenure-track faculty members from the same handful of elite institutions. In this research paper for NatureHunter WapmanSam Zhang, Aaron Clauset and Daniel Larremore look at hires between 2011 and 2020 and find that 80 percent came from just 20 percent of PhD-granting institutions. No historically Black colleges and universities or Hispanic-serving institutions were among that 20 percent. Faculty with U.S. doctorates are characterized by extreme inequality. Overall, 80 percent of all domestically trained faculty in the data set were trained at just 20.4 percent of universities. The five most common doctoral training universities—UC Berkeley, Harvard, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Stanford—account for 13.8 percent of domestically trained faculty. When these are disaggregated into domains of study, 80 percent of faculty were trained at only 19–28 percent of universities. These analyses, quantifying the dynamics of US faculty hiring and retention, aim to support efforts to improve the organization, composition and scholarship of the US academic workforce.


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