Systematic Inequality and Hierarchy in Faculty Hiring Networks
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.
The Precarious Position of Postdocs During COVID-19
Postdoctoral researchers play a crucial role in many research groups, serving as mentors, teachers, and leaders as they develop their skills and prepare for scientific careers. However, the coronavirus disease crisis has put funding and support for postdoc positions at risk, threatening to upend the career paths available to these junior scientists.
Graduate students at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shut down campus Thursday as part of their ongoing strike for a cost of living adjustment, and all other system campuses saw their own one-day protests. Santa Cruz graduate assistants went on a grade strike in December, then a full labor strike this month. Tensions mounted last week when the university fired or disqualified 80-some grads from spring assistantships for continuing to withhold undergraduate grades. Graduate assistants blocked all entrances to the Santa Cruz campus before dawn, forcing the university to cancel classes, except those offered online. Many faculty and undergraduate supporters joined the picket lines on that campus and across the UC system starting midmorning. As of last week, graduate assistants at the Santa Barbara campus are also on a labor strike for a COLA, and assistants at the Davis campus are on a grade strike. Systemwide, graduate instructors make about $2,400 pre-tax, per month, for nine months out of the year. Strikers say that they need between $1,400 and $1,800 extra per month to be able to secure housing in California's expensive rental markets and have anything left over for utilities and food. The United Auto Workers, with which UC's graduate workers are affiliated, has urged the university to reopen their contract to bargain for a COLA. This week it authorized a systemwide strike vote for April on the grounds that the university has committed unfair labor practices. The university has filed a similar claim against graduate workers. The system said in a statement that it "values all our graduate students, including academic student employees (ASEs) who are essential to UC's teaching mission, supporting the university as teaching assistants, readers and tutors. However, that mission is in jeopardy when ASEs refuse to fulfill their teaching obligations." The system noted that these assistants are striking in violation of their union contract, negotiated in 2018, and said it's "unfortunate that the UAW has resorted to announcing a strike authorization vote as the university continues pursuing opportunities to engage productively with graduate students on housing affordability and other issues."
Doctors and Postdocs in Political Science in Switzerland. A Study Conducted by the Swiss Political Science Association.
This report shows the results of a survey conducted in spring 2019 among all people who received a PhD in political science from a Swiss university during the last eleven years (2008 to 2018) and among postdocs working in a Swiss university in June 2019. Thus, this survey sheds light on the experiences and career paths of both postdocs and doctors in political science who left academia. Moreover, it compares the results regarding postdocs with a similar study carried out in 2012.
Academic systems rely on the existence of a supply of "outsiders" ready to forgo wages and employment security in exchange for the prospect of uncertain security, prestige, freedom and reasonably high salaries that tenured positions entail.
Little is known about the long-term effects of early-career setback. Here, the authors compare junior scientists who were awarded a NIH grant to those with similar track records, who were not, and find that individuals with the early setback systematically performed better in the longer term.