Lots of rankings have problems--based on perceptions or various indicators such as articles that might be biased (some places produce books). So, here is a ranking based on hiring: what are the pedigrees of the profs who have jobs? Using the US News list of schools as the employers, a group of scholars has found unsurprisingly that a small handful of schools dominate. Namely Harvard and Berkeley.
The main figure has two columns--total placements and those folks who are still assistant professors. The latter shows the more trendy trends, whereas the former reflects the legacies of the past as much as more recent performance (I mean, some folks are still employed yet received their PhDs in the 1950s). I like the column focusing on the more recent folks mostly because it allows me to indulge in Wuffle's Law. Yep, focusing on the assistant prof placement column puts UCSD in the top ten, having the second biggest disparity in rankings from total to just assistant professor (my friends at FSU are one placement ahead). The schools with the biggest drops from total to recent history: MIT by far and then Ohio State and Chicago.
Of course, this raises a heap of questions. If one does the math and guesses that it takes about five to six years to get tenure, having 25 profs in the category of assistant professor might mean on average that one is placing five a year or so. Alas, such a school, like UCSD, is not admitting five per year. On the other hand, there are another couple of thousand institutions of higher education in the US, not to mention those elsewhere. Sure, some US jobs are filled by folks trained elsewhere, but all that I am familiar with suggests that the US exports more profs than it imports.
So, this really does not tell us much about the overall picture, but it does suggest which programs have better histories and better recent records of putting their students where they hope to be. Of course, we are still lousy guild, producing more Phds than can find jobs (see this site for some depressing adjunct graphics).
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