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Ph.Ds From MIT, Berkeley, and a Few Others Dominate Top School's CS Faculties 155

Posted by timothy
from the not-all-colleges-are-created-equal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Brown University project collected the background information of over 2,000 computer science professors in 51 top universities. The data shows a skew in their doctoral degrees, "Over 20% of professors received their Ph.D. from MIT or Berkeley, while more than half of professors received their Ph.D. from the [top] 10 universities." For those professors, fewer work in theoretical computer science and there is a growing trend of recent hires in systems and applications. The original data is also publicly-editable and available to download."
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Ph.Ds From MIT, Berkeley, and a Few Others Dominate Top School's CS Faculties

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  • by TWX (665546) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @01:47PM (#47088123)
    ...if you want a low paying job in your field after you graduate, get your doctorate from one of the best schools in the country.

    Got it!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by roger10-4 (3654435)
      A Comp. Sci. professor is not low paying position - especially at a top university. Some of these places pay more than the private sector. You also have the added bonus of possibly getting tenure.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        how do you have 51 top universities? and if they're so top - how come 20 of the profs come from 2 of them?

    • by sribe (304414)

      ...if you want a low paying job in your field after you graduate, get your doctorate from one of the best schools in the country.

      Wow. As someone else posted, these are certainly not low-paying jobs. And that's just the salary. I take you have absolutely no clue how much some of these guys can demand for consulting gigs???

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Being a professor is not a low paying job.

      Being an adjunct professor is usually unpaid - but it's because you're a professor (or otherwise employed) elsewhere, and sessional instructors are paid a pittance because they're supposed to have other jobs, including grad students.

      But I just started as an L5 (which is the same pay band as a starting assistant professor) where I am - I'll slide over to assistant professor when I am actually granted the PhD, and that's a starting salary of 82k, 6 weeks vacation and

  • by sir-gold (949031) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @02:09PM (#47088215)

    It's pretty sad that the other 90% of universities have so little faith in their OWN graduates that they won't hire from within.

    If I had just gotten a PhD, and it ended up being so worthless that even my own school wouldn't accept it, I would demand a refund.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @02:23PM (#47088291)

      It's pretty sad that the other 90% of universities have so little faith in their OWN graduates that they won't hire from within.

      Many universities have policies that forbid or discourage directly hiring their own graduates for faculty positions. The reasoning is that it inhibits fresh thinking and the cross fertilization of ideas.

      • by ender06 (913978)
        I was auto companies would follow that logic. Most people recognize that having diversity of experience is beneficial to the company or workplace, but apparently in the auto industry, being a 20-30 year veteran of the same damn company makes you a saint. Most of those people have never held a different job, it was their first after college.
      • by sir-gold (949031)

        Hiring everyone from the same 10 schools (and mostly the same 2 schools) doesn't exactly make for fresh thinking either.

        • by ranton (36917)

          Hiring everyone from the same 10 schools (and mostly the same 2 schools) doesn't exactly make for fresh thinking either.

          It would still instill 10 times as much fresh thinking as hiring from within though. If you agree with the argument that hiring from other schools introduces fresh thinking that is.

        • Although there is some truth to that, there typically is lots of diversity in PhD graduates from any one department due to the diversity of research groups/advising. A bulk (by time at least) of the undergrad education is coursework and most BS graduates in a CS department have all taken 70-90% the same courses. So there perhaps is some level of uniformity there. In contrast, the bulk of a PhD education is research-oriented and greatly impacted by the advisor you have / research lab you're in. There can be

    • It's pretty sad that the other 90% of universities have so little faith in their OWN graduates that they won't hire from within.

      If I had just gotten a PhD, and it ended up being so worthless that even my own school wouldn't accept it, I would demand a refund.

      Could it be that after going through all the BS to get a post graduate degree, the graduate ends up with little faith in their school?

      I'm a lowly holder of a B.S. degree, somehow that has worked out well for me. I have friends that went on to get PhDs rom very good schools, some on this list, and except for one exception, all of them distanced themselves from academia as soon as they could. Something about finding out how the sausage was made.

    • by guacamole (24270)

      Most departments in most fields are reluctant to hire their own graduates. Hiring your own graduates will simply lead to rehashing of the same old ideas and intellectual stagnation. The same type of discrimination against own graduates is observed in graduate school admissions. I often see the pattern that at many competitive schools they don't really like admitting their own graduates into PhD programs. It happens, but not that frequently.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday May 25, 2014 @02:13PM (#47088241)

    Top professors dominate top positions at top school!

    Who would have ever guessed.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      You don't find it notable that just 2 or 3 top schools produce enough PhDs to staff the departments of the top 50? One thing it should tell you is that the top 50 schools graduate about enough PhDs to supply the rest of the nation, and if you think you're headed for a tenured position by getting a PhD anywhere else, forget it. Granted this will not be news to anybody who knows about such things, but I don't think the general public understands how elite the professors at good schools are, with all the w
    • FWIW it's not given that they are top professors, just that they graduated from a top school.
  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @02:24PM (#47088303) Homepage

    Overheard at lunch there around 2000 (paraphrase): "We hire the most competitive candidates from the most competitive top three schools and then we wonder why they have trouble cooperating and getting along..."

    I hope the policy has changed since... It also seemed like they were passing over a lot of interesting people and thus limiting their cognitive diversity.

    See also Scott E. Page book "The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies"
    http://www.amazon.com/Differen... [amazon.com]

    Google probably suffers to a lesser extent from a similar problem as I suggest here:
    http://developers.slashdot.org... [slashdot.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Many schools did not even have a CS degree program until recently, so there might be a bias there. What you would really want to see is "what fraction of CS PhDs from this school wind up being professors". Maybe Cal and MIT created more than 50% of the total CS PhDs (they've been cranking em out a long time) and they're actually under-represented.

    As for "even my own school wouldn't accept it": This is a perenial problem: schools generate far more PhD people than there is a need for them in academia. Nobo

  • So basically, if you wanna be a prof, don't bother getting a PhD outside the top 10. If you don't wanna be a prof, don't bother getting a PhD at all.
    • No, that's not it at all. The article didn't say they *only* hire from those schools - it's just skewed that way and you have a better chance if you do get your PhD from one of those schools. I'd venture a guess that a top 10 school will probably consider an individual that has done some exceptional research as well. Furthermore, there are hundreds of other universities, the private sector, and consulting jobs for people that don't get their PhD from a top 10 university.
  • This phenomena is also why large-scale paradigm shifts in a field only tend radiate outward from top universities. As a professor, you disseminate wholly new ideas via your graduate students, who then take positions at other universities and influence others.

    It's pretty much impossible to fundamentally change minds once they're established in the field - after all, who wants to embrace something that makes much of their past work irrelevant?) So paradigm shifts tend to occur by seeding your graduate stude

  • That this study is going to eventually morph into demands for more CS professors from women's colleges.

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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