Monday, September 17, 2012

A Few More Thoughts on Faculty Moves

While looking back at the map I made for my earlier post today, I had a few "deeper thoughts" about the faculty moving process.

- Is it just me, or do all the moves seem to be to warmer places? Even funnier, some mention it in the press releases following their moves. Take this gem, from Greg Fu:
" does not hurt, [Fu] adds, that he gets to leave those cold Cambridge winters behind."
A future Prof practices
for his first faculty move
- Although I claim that the moves are often prestige-based, i.e. to move into a highly-ranked university, several of these moves buck the trend. Finn moved from Scripps (#7) to Georgia Tech (#26), and Woerpel from Irvine (#26) to NYU (#67). If Nicolaou does indeed move to Rice, he'll be moving from #7 to #33. Now, I realize there's other rankings in town (see Chronicle, Times), and the "big fish" mentality suggests these rankings will improve once the new recruit sets foot on campus. But I'd still argue that some of these were lateral moves at best.

- What's up with the Pacific Northwest? The South? The Rockies? How come nobody from these places seems to move around? Either everyone in these locations is completely satisfied with their lives, positions, and income, or there's some dynamics between the East and Left Coast that I haven't yet figured out. 

Readers, what do you think?


  1. Does it make sense to you that Irvine is #26? I find that to be awfully low.

    1. Granted, they're imperfect metrics; the US News rankings are essentially by word-of-mouth. They've been fairly good about recent downgrades of certain schools, and others' rises. However, I find several schools to be "under" where you'd expect them: Princeton (#16), Ohio State (also #26, tied with 5 others), BC (#45), and Vandy (#49).

      Of course, there's some in the Top 20 I think shouldn't be there any longer, but that's a whole other post!

  2. all moves away from Scripps are probably due to the nature of the institution where PIs must keep their groups self-funded. Which you wouldn't think would be a problem for guys like Finn and Nicolau, but having the security blanket of tenure and maybe a little bit of "start-up" funds is nice during these drought-like conditions for NIH grants.

  3. Woerpel left UCI largely because he didn't like the way the department was run. The winters in New York were definitely NOT a selling point for his (then) current group.

  4. At least in Seattle at UW the faculty all seemed happy and content. I know one faculty got hints of an offer from somewhere else (Caltech) but decided to stay (probably negotiated some benefits of staying with the dept).