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Monday, April 25, 2011

Where My Colleagues Got their PhD

It might be interesting to look at where my colleagues studied, to see where someone can end up after graduate school. This information is public on our web page so I am not speaking out of school here.

KU. (Ok, that's unusual, to work where you yourself got a PhD. That's exceptional.)

U of Wisconsin, Madison. (2) A good state university.

Indiana. (2) Another excellent "Big 10" School.

Cornell. Ivy League.

Pittsburgh. A good university with an exceptionally strong history in Latin American literature.

U of California, San Diego (2).

Yale. Another Ivy.

Stanford. (That's me.)

UC Santa Barbara. That's three total from the UC system.

Illinois. A fifth big-ten graduate.

Texas (2).

Gronigen (Netherlands).

So we could say that if you wanted to end up at KU, you would do well to study in California at a good UC system or at a good big-10 school. If you looked at where our graduates are going, you would find a larger variety of schools, since everyone gets their PhD at a research university (almost by definition) and not every graduate of a research institution ends up at one. Thus the general trend is downward, in terms of prestige: some people move more or less laterally, from a Michigan to an Indiana, or from a Wisconsin to an Illinois, but many students end up at a SLAC, a regional comprehensive MA-granting school, or elsewhere off the tenure track completely. The Ivy-league mostly hires only Ivy-leaguers or those from the best private and the very best public institutions, but the Ivy League cannot hire more than a small fraction of its own graduates, since those departments tend to be small anyway.

2 comments:

Clarissa said...

Contrary to what many people think, having your first job at Yale is an absolute career-killer. There is no hope of tenure. You stay for as long as they will have you, get saddled with tons of committee work, never manage to publish anything and then get discarded. This happened to many excellent young academics I know who came to our department for their first job. It's simply tragic what happens to them.

Jonathan said...

You'll notice that all the Yale tenured professors got their PhD at Yale, Cornell, Brown, etc... But the Assistant professors went to Ohio State, CUNY. You know those people will not stay at Yale.

It used to be you could start at Harvard or Yale and then get tenured somewhere else quite easily. Now it is every more difficult to get a job mid-career, so starting at an Ivy is the worst thing you could do.