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Systematic Inequality And Hierarchy In Faculty Hiring Networks

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advances.sciencemag.org | Article Link | by Aaron Clauset, Samuel Arbesman, and Daniel B. Larremore

Faculty hiring is a ubiquitous feature of academic disciplines, the result of which—who hires whose graduates as faculty—shapes nearly every aspect of academic life, including scholarly productivity, research priorities, resource allocation, educational outcomes, and the career trajectories of individual scholars (1–4). Despite these fundamental roles, a clear and systematic understanding of the common patterns and efficiencies of faculty hiring across disciplines is lacking.

From the institutional perspective, faculty hiring is an implicit assessment: when an institution u hires as faculty the graduate of another institution v, u makes a positive assessment of the quality of v’s teaching and research programs. Similarly, when an individual accepts a job offer from u, he or she makes a positive assessment of u’s quality. As a collection of such pairwise assessments, a discipline’s faculty hiring network (Fig. 1) represents a collective assessment (5) of its own educational and research outcomes. When institutions are unequally successful in faculty placement, achieving more placements at other successful institutions implies a more positive collective assessment of that institution’s outcomes.

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