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Asia is likely to follow the U.S. on open access September 23 2022
Image: Asian research powerhouses will introduce open-access mandates within the next “two to three” years, experts have predicted, in the wake of last month’s landmark order by the Biden administration. Under the U.S. decision, the published results of federally funded research must be made immediately and freely available to readers, starting in 2025. This follows the introduction of similar rules across Europe and Britain, spearheaded by the Plan S initiative. Home to four of the top 10 research-producing countries—China, Japan, South Korea and India—Asia now appears poised to become the next battleground. “For the first time, there is a real prospect of global alignment around the same principles of immediate open access without embargo,” said Johan Rooryck, executive director of the Coalition S group of funders behind Plan S. “For some time now, I think many of the larger research countries in Asia had been watching each other to see who would make the first move and were waiting for the U.S. to position itself. Now that has happened, I expect alignment within two to three years.” Larger countries in the region “should be able to move to OA relatively fast, especially if they applied rights retention, allowing researchers to keep the rights to their work and deposit accepted manuscripts into institutional or national archives,” Rooryck said. The “gold” open-access publishing route, under which journals charge a fee to make the version of record freely available online, “might be trickier” because the fees could prove “prohibitive” for Asian budgets, he continued. Even without national mandates, some Asian sectors have gradually been embracing open-access publishing. Three key Chinese-sector organizations—the National Science Library, the National Science and Technology Library, and the Natural Science Foundation of China—expressed support for Plan S’s goals in 2018. Meanwhile, Japanese universities have struck a series of deals with publishers that include open-access options. Miho Funamori, strategy manager at the Research Center for Open Science and Data Platform at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics, expected that the nation—which trails only the U.S. in its number of research repositories—would mandate immediate open access “in the next few years.” “With more than 800 institutional repositories now … these should be leveraged,” she said. Funamori said that a failure to follow suit would risk the country’s academics falling behind their U.S. counterparts, who will soon have a leg up, as studies have shown that open content is more highly read and cited. But she expressed doubt that academics could be convinced to put their work in repositories, with many still unaware of the meaning of open access. “Japan has not adopted Plan S because funding agencies in Japan do not want to be dictating to researchers what they should do,” she said. Asian mandates could “catalyze a change in the publishing culture worldwide,” said Cable Green, director of open knowledge at Creative Commons, a nonprofit group that issues licenses helping creators reuse content, and Monica Granados, manager of its Open Climate Change campaign. But they cautioned that impacts may vary across systems. “We don’t fully understand how the differences in culture and in tenure and promotion at different educational institutions will play into this. In China, for example, researchers often receive bonuses when they publish in Cell, Nature or Science. These kinds of incentives often slow down shifts to open access,” they said. GlobalEditorial Tags: TechnologyTimes Higher EdIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: Live Updates: liveupdates0Most Popular: 3In-Article Advertisement High: 6In-Article related stories: 9In-Article Advertisement Low: 12
Students' internship experiences, how they want colleges to help September 23 2022
30% of Class of 2022 graduates say they didn’t have any internships or experiential learning opportunities within their college courses.Image: Violet Schuttler, a graduate of Franklin Pierce University, in rural New Hampshire, has a good story to tell about how the first of her three internships—the only off-campus one—came about. When respondents to the latest Student Voice survey were asked to identify how they heard about or got their most recent internship, the campus career center, a professor or a job search website emerged as students’ most common answers, at 14 percent each. Indeed, Schuttler’s second and third experiences, involving production work on a NHPBS station show and video editing for a political caucus, were found via a professor mentor. And her first internship? In the fall of 2019—when Schuttler dreamed of breaking into the fashion industry—the owner of Surrell Accessories was dining out at a nearby pizzeria, where Schuttler worked. As her shift ended and she was leaving the parking lot, an unfortunate—yet ultimately fortunate—thing happened. “I backed up into his car,” she explains. When he handed her a business card, she saw he led a fashion-related company and remarked, “‘That’s so cool.’ He basically offered me the internship right there.” Later, Schuttler had to convince herself that it truly had happened. “Did I really hit someone’s car and now I’m getting an internship? Where else am I going to get this opportunity in rural New Hampshire?” Accepting the offer wound up allowing her to swim as a big fish in a small pond, because soon after she started, the person handling e-commerce and Surrell’s digital presence left. “It kind of left everything in my hands,” says Schuttler, who continued working at Surrell part-time during school. After graduating from Franklin Pierce in 2021 with a digital media design degree, Surrell became her first full-time employer as well. Now Schuttler is back at Franklin Pierce, pursuing her M.B.A. while working as an assistant video producer for the university’s Fitzwater Center for Communication and reporting to Director Kristen Nevious—the very professor who had helped Schuttler find two internships in a more conventional way. While virtual and hybrid-format internships existed before COVID-19, the pandemic has made formerly unconventional opportunities more of a norm. For example, a student on the East Coast “can be doing a virtual internship with a company on the West Coast, getting an experience you could not have had if it wasn’t for this medium,” says Kelley Bishop, associate provost for career services at George Washington University. When Bishop and colleagues saw virtual internships emerging, they had concerns. “Is the student settling for less?” they would ask. Virtual internships tend to be project focused, with limited personal interactions in the organization and often missing those “serendipitous conversations in the workplace,” he says, adding that any expectations of getting back to normal post-COVID aren’t happening. “Your full-time job when you leave college may be virtual from the start, and that may be what works for you. It’s a brave new world, and we’re all feeling our way through it.” For students, that can mean trying out multiple formats to build skills, experience and perspective. Among the 2,116 college students and spring 2022 grads responding to the latest Student Voice survey on internships and experiential learning, 1,287 have had at least one of these experiences: 59 percent an in-person internship, 54 percent either a virtual or hybrid internship, and 25 percent some sort of experiential learning outside the classroom as part of a course. Conducted by Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse from Aug. 14 to 17 with support from Kaplan, the survey reveals that some demographic groups, including first-generation college students, are less likely to have had these opportunities, less likely to earn money and/or college credit when they have the experiences, and less likely to praise their institution for internship-related efforts. Some better-news highlights include that: Sixty percent of those who had internships were completing them this summer, including 43 percent of recent grads, an indication of current opportunity availability. The vast majority of students see value in internships, with 85 percent saying that people pursuing their type of career need at least one such experience. The most important desired internship outcome, selected by 22 percent of students, is to develop specific skills needed for a career. The next top response is growing knowledge in an area of passion, with women twice as likely as men to identify it as most important. Fifty-nine percent of students would give their college an A or B for efforts to help in finding internships, and 57 percent would assign an A or B to their college for helping to support student success in these experiences. Nearly two-thirds of students with experiential learning opportunities say they were very helpful in preparing them for a future job, which for community college students (n=366) jumps to 86 percent. The survey also explores actions students want colleges to take related to finding and succeeding in internships. For the former, students place the most value on stronger partnerships with companies to offer internships, with third-party organizations that help in finding internships and with companies to develop pathways to hire former interns. Most valued on the latter is financial assistance for students who can’t afford to take on unpaid internships, guidance on networking and workshops on succeeding in virtual and in-person opportunities. Where the Internships Are Students find internships in a variety of ways, as professors teaching classes in which such experiences are embedded know well. At Wheaton College in Massachusetts, for example, which touts its Compass curriculum and the Wheaton Edge program for connecting academic interests to career success, sophomores complete a real-world experience such as an experiential course, which can include completing an internship as part of the course, and all students are guaranteed access to internship funding. For a fall course Karen McCormack has taught, students understand at registration time in the spring that they must secure an internship by the first week of classes. “Some students sign up for the course and may have already been in contact with an organization, and others reach out to career services staff or faculty, or family members, and start making connections,” says McCormack, a professor of sociology and the associate provost for academic administration and faculty affairs. [block:block=176] “The start-up costs are high, in terms of time,” she says of the need for faculty members to teach such courses, which rely on external partners. “But once you have done this a bunch of times, it becomes much easier.” In her administrator role, she sees herself as a connector, helping people in academic departments, alumni or those leading offices on campus, for example, to see possibilities for collaborating. It helps, she adds, when internships and experiential learning fit into the institution’s strategic plan, as it does at Wheaton. The career center at Denison University, in Ohio, provides opportunities for students to collaborate on problem solving for companies through the Denison Edge facility, located 30 minutes from campus in downtown Columbus. Through in-person, virtual and hybrid programs, the extension office helps liberal arts students at the university, graduates and even neighboring colleges’ students to acquire career-specific skills and experience. “We want students to launch, and we want it to be in the areas they find of value,” says Eric Lloyd, executive director of Denison Edge. “The sooner they launch, the sooner they can make an impact.” For a recent project, a team of 14 students from Denison and three nearby institutions whose academic interests ranged from art history and photography to global commerce, data analytics and computer science worked with the city on an affordable housing initiative. “The city presented stats, resources and challenges, and students did research over six weeks,” Lloyd explains. Working from the Denison Edge facility but also engaging with community and city leaders, plus various mentors and coaches, the students provided recommendations that the city is now reviewing. About four in 10 Student Voice survey respondents say they heard about their most recent internship directly from a department or individual at their institution, with other possibilities being a friend, family member or job search or networking website. Tracey E. Dowling and Li P. Pon, colleagues at Florida State University—which made engagement in an internship or other type of experiential learning a graduation requirement in 2019—believe more students surveyed may actually have gotten their internship in part due to the career center. “They will say they got it through networking, but it was via a career center event or program,” says Dowling, program director for experiential learning. Pon, who is senior assistant director of that program, has always encouraged students to seek multiple internships. “It’s low commitment, a short period of time,” she says. In her experience, including having previously served as internship coordinator at Tallahassee Community College, pursuing and completing multiple internships often doesn't happen. At most institutions, she says, “ultimately internships are an elective.” First-generation students, particularly those at community colleges, are less likely to have had any internship or to have had an in-person internship, compared to continuing-generation students or first-gen peers at four-year colleges. In addition, the full sample of community college students is more likely to have interned, at least most recently, at a small company—58 percent compared to 37 percent of those at four-year institutions. Virtual opportunities may be closing that gap, though. Dowling has found, for example, that large multinational employers with long-standing internship programs now understand “they’re getting a more diverse pool by having virtual options.” Company size and internship type aside, many colleges are taking on greater roles in connecting students to opportunities. “It’s the responsibility of a higher ed institution to ensure that students get an internship,” says Tanja Hinterstoisser, assistant vice president for career design and employer outreach at Champlain College, in Vermont, which requires a four-year career-readiness education program with milestones that must be completed each year. While some institutions will basically just help with a résumé, “the search piece and the interview prep are all crucial components to the satisfaction and success of an internship experience,” she says. One way Champlain has expanded the realm of possibilities has been embedding internships in study abroad programs. “Other places offer it but focus more on living abroad rather than working abroad. We combine those,” she says. Another action involves converting work-study and other student jobs on campus to internships. At Champlain, that can mean a full-semester internship, or a project that becomes a micro-internship, based on the supervisor’s input, Hinterstoisser says. As part of the four-year FlightPath program at Hartwick College, in New York, sophomores are required to attend a success summit that teaches networking and interviewing skills while assisting in career exploration, and then students travel to major cities, visit businesses and tour alumni workplaces to make connections at a Hawk Career Hop. “It’s all about skills development,” says Peter Bennett, director of career development. “You’ll be hired based on that and your passion, whether you show up.” During their junior year, all students are matched with an on- or off-campus work experience, which can include an internship, research or a fellowship, or student teaching. Experiences and Outcomes Colleges are increasingly taking more responsibility for ensuring students get something tangible from internship experiences. Nearly six in 10 Student Voice respondents got paid for their most recent internship, with science majors most likely to collect a paycheck—63 percent compared to half of social sciences majors and half of arts/humanities majors. Gender differences exist as well, with 75 percent of men getting paid compared to 63 percent of women. At Wheaton, where women make up two-thirds of enrollment, internship pay is more equitable, perhaps because of deliberate efforts that included analysis of who is choosing to advance from 100- to 200-level courses in STEM majors, and who is encouraged to continue, says McCormack. Maybe the gap from the survey relates to men pursuing fields where internships are more likely to pay. Nearly one in five respondents earned neither money nor college credit. That picture is even more bleak for first-generation students at public institutions or community colleges. McCormack says this might be due to pressure students feel to get experience, no matter how. Or with virtual experiences, maybe they think the costs of accepting an unpaid internship are lower. “It’s really critical that students do get paid,” says Bishop from George Washington. “A decade ago, many industries didn’t pay just because they didn’t have to. A lot more government agencies are now paying, for example. That’s necessary to get the breadth of talent.” Dowling and Pon find themselves doing “a lot of myth-busting with employers,” Dowling says. “Employers think the student has to earn academic credit or get paid. You can earn credit and get paid. Really!” Florida State partners are shown data on paid and unpaid experiences based on job function and reminded that even offering a stipend will diversify the candidate pool. Another tactic is to suggest discussing, with corporate legal counsel, liabilities involved if an unpaid intern got injured on the job. Reflecting on their time on the job for the Student Voice survey, students who had virtual experiences (n=385) generally struggled more than those who had in-person or hybrid ones (n=905). Virtual internship veterans are less likely to say they could network with professionals who might assist in a future job search (29 percent compared to 38 percent), more likely to say the experience made them think about pursuing a different type of career (32 percent versus 26 percent) and more likely to find it difficult to tell if they want to pursue that kind of work (25 percent versus 12 percent). Difficulty in knowing if the work in a virtual internship is a good fit was also assessed in an August 2021 Student Voice survey, when one-third agreed it was. “There’s no substitute for in person,” says Bennett. “It really does provide a full view into a company, into a culture, into the people, into the energy.” But in year two of the pandemic, he sees “some upping of the game—treating interns as a cohort, providing happy hours for them, trying to make it as close to in person as possible.” Still, he’ll find himself needing to remind students to be professional during virtual interactions. “You may not physically be there, [but] judgments are being made, observations are being made.” Lloyd from Denison has also seen virtual internship improvements. “Companies realize that part of their future could center around remote work, so they have to create a great experience,” he says. The amount of effort placed on offering quality virtual internships often depends on how the company engages in remote work as an employer, he adds. A Student Voice respondent from a private university in Georgia wrote that a virtual internship experience became simply self-learning. “It just doesn’t prepare you for real-world experiences like the office environment, commuting, living independently [and having] face-to-face collaborative team meetings.” Dowling has found that “when students are unhappy, a lot of it has to do with preconceived expectations for how the internship should be supported and how the learning should go.” Conversations will revolve around the kind of environment the individual needs for success. “The shining stars in the virtual internship opportunity arena,” she notes, are companies that can ask remote employees how to better ensure connections are being made. As for becoming full-time remote employees after graduation, one in four survey respondents would be extremely interested—a finding that’s nearly identical for those who have had virtual internships. Looking at the present, between 60 and 70 percent of respondents identified five key outcomes for internships (out of a list of 19): developing specific skills needed for my career, developing general workplace skills (chosen by 83 percent of first-generation community college students), growing knowledge in a subject area I’m passionate about, gaining knowledge about how the industry works, and having a professional experience to include on a résumé. Only half selected earning money as a desired internship outcome. “This generation clearly recognizes and is thirsty for developing skills that will be helpful as they move through their career,” says Bennett. “There’s an optimism. They might not be as focused on landing that job right away versus their parents; they’re picking up skills for the long view.” While completing internships at Franklin Pierce, Schuttler found herself focused on getting used to the work environment and considering her best-fit company type. “If you have an internship experience that kind of makes you realize, ‘This isn’t what I want to do,’ you can figure out what you do want to do, what your values are,” she says. At Champlain, “we encourage every student to use the internship as an experimentation time,” says Hinterstoisser, adding that interest in work type tends to come before organization type. And because students are being prepared from the first semester of college to think about potential internships, “there is already a maturity piece in the decision-making process.” Internship Support Assessment and Objectives The Student Voice survey asked how well colleges help students find and succeed in internships. One in five say their institutions would earn an A on the internship-search front, with nearly four in 10 grading that effort a B. Grades on the success front are similar, with just slightly fewer students giving a B. At many institutions, opportunities for learning outside the classroom are continually evolving. An example is the micro-internship. As Bishop explains, George Washington just began experimenting with these, as a way to “whet the appetite” for a particular type of work or help a student with more focused goals experience a related field or practice a particular skill set. The option, available via a Parker Dewey organization platform, offers a way to gain paid professional experience while taking classes, during a break or within a few spare hours. On the flip side of the internship spectrum might be the formal programs run by Fortune 500 companies, which typically end in a job offer but are hypercompetitive to win, Bishop says. Such opportunities may require coaching on applying but also perspective to ease student worries when the job is virtual, Dowling says. Students with older technology or unstable internet might not even apply. “If you’re doing a Deloitte internship, they’re going to send you a computer and make sure you have Wi-Fi,” she will say. And students might need reassurance that they would be a competitive candidate. Other students may need to talk through desired large corporation opportunities to determine they’re not in alignment with their interests, explains Pon of Florida State. Bringing in past interns to discuss an amazing experience with a small company (that, for example, allowed a support pet or provided free lunch) has helped students get jazzed about other possibilities. “Suddenly all students are asking about that company,” she says. Specific supports and programs identified in the Student Voice survey include stronger partnerships with outside organizations and companies, as well as guidance on networking, goal setting and succeeding in in-person and virtual internships. Students who don’t have a reliable way of commuting by car or public transportation to an internship (n=591) are nearly 20 percentage points more likely to want their college to provide a way to get to an internship site than the full sample. “It’s up to us from a career center standpoint to have conversations and leverage resources to get students there” when location is an issue, says Lloyd from Denison. First-generation community college students, meanwhile, tend to want more types of supports than the full sample or than first-gen students at four-year institutions. Expanding internship opportunities and outcomes in various ways boils down to preparing students for next steps. “Our president keeps talking about Champlain helping students be ready: ready for work, ready for life, ready to make a difference,” says Hinterstoisser. Every higher ed institution, she adds, should be “getting students ready to enter the world of work, but also with the life skills to be successful, resilient, financially savvy [and able to] maneuver a turbulent job market. Those are gifts an institution could give to students.” Coming soon to Student Voice: a community college system chancellor reflects on internship experiences for this student population, plus more on transportation and other supports needed to ensure more students can pursue and learn from internships and other experiential learning opportunities. Student VoiceEditorial Tags: Impressions of Internships and Experiential LearningImage Source: iStock / Getty Images Plus - z_weiImage Caption: The top three ways students say they found their most recent internship are through a professor, the campus career center or a job search website, such as Handshake.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: Live Updates: liveupdates0Most Popular: 3In-Article Advertisement High: 8In-Article related stories: 44In-Article Advertisement Low: 25
New study finds 80% of faculty trained at 20% of institutions September 23 2022
Image: Some 80 percent faculty members with Ph.D.s in the U.S. trained at just 20 percent of universities. So found the team behind a new study on faculty hiring and retention patterns at Ph.D.-granting institutions. These researchers warn that academe “is characterized by universally extreme inequality in faculty production.” Researchers also found that the five most common doctoral training universities—the Universities of Michigan; Wisconsin at Madison; and California, Berkeley; plus Harvard and Stanford Universities—account for one in eight U.S.-trained faculty members. Differences in university or department size did not explain inequalities in faculty production. Findings were relatively consistent across fields. Where professors got their Ph.D.s also correlated with faculty attrition: over all, researchers observed substantially higher rates of attrition among faculty members trained at those universities that already produce fewer faculty in the first place. Closed Networks Previous studies have looked at what’s been called prestige or insular hiring in certain disciplines. One 2015 study on tenured and tenure-track hiring in history, business and computer science Ph.D.-granting programs found that just 25 percent of institutions produced 71 to 86 percent of tenure-line professors. A 2012 study of political science programs found that Ph.D.s from Harvard, Princeton and Stanford Universities, plus Michigan, made up 20 percent of tenure-stream faculty members across more than 100 institutions; the study also found that the top 11 programs were responsible for half the faculty doctorates in the sample. This new study, published in Nature, adds to the literature by telling a bigger story, analyzing hiring patterns across 107 fields from the humanities to the natural sciences. The data set used, which belongs to an academic research unit within the firm Academic Analytics, included employment records for all tenured or tenure-track faculty members at nearly 400 Ph.D.-granting institutions in the U.S. between 2011 and 2020. In addition to overrepresentation of faculty Ph.D.s from a sliver of institutions, the new study found what its authors call “ubiquitous hierarchies of prestige.” Via a network analysis, researchers determined that just 5 to 23 percent of faculty members were employed at universities more prestigious than their own doctoral university (as inferred from patterns in faculty hiring), depending on field. Measured by how they restricted “upward mobility” to more prestigious departments, prestige hierarchies were most steep in the humanities (with 12 percent upward mobility) and mathematics and computing (13 percent). They were least steep in medicine and health (21 percent). Among departments studied that were ranked in the top 10 in any field, 23 percent of top-10 slots were occupied by departments at just five universities: Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, Madison and Columbia University. More than 250 universities had zero top-10 departments. “These findings show that, both within individual fields and across entire domains, faculty placement power is highly concentrated among a small set of universities, complementing the already enormous concentration of faculty production among the same set of universities,” the study says. “Together, these patterns create network structures characterized by a closely connected core of high-prestige universities that exchange faculty with each other and export faculty to—but rarely import them from—universities in the network periphery.” Prestige Hierarchies “Quantifying Hierarchy and Dynamics in U.S. Faculty Hiring and Retention” was co-authored by K. Hunter Wapman, a graduate student in computer science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In a series of tweets about the paper this week, Wapman said, “For U.S. profs with U.S. doctorates, we see universal and extreme inequality in faculty production.” Some “20% of profs come from just EIGHT universities,” he added. And as for Berkeley, Harvard, Michigan, Madison and Stanford, “Together, they’ve minted the doctorates of over one in eight sitting US faculty [13.8%]. That’s more than all non-US institutions combined [11%].” The typical professor was employed at a university that is 18 percent farther down the prestige hierarchy than their doctoral institution, Wapman and his colleagues also found. This and other factors suggest that the typical U.S.-trained professor could expect to supervise 2.4-fold fewer future faculty members than their doctoral adviser did, the study says. Looking at the specific phenomenon of “self-hiring,” or when Ph.D. students end up as professors where they trained, researchers found this accounts for 9 percent of all U.S. professors in the sample and 11 percent of U.S.-trained professors specifically. This rate remains low compared to those for other countries, but it is consistently greater than would be randomly expected. Interestingly, researchers found that self-hires were at greater risk of attrition than non-self-hires, especially in criminal justice and criminology and industrial engineering, at 1.9- and 1.8-fold the attrition rate of other faculty members, respectively. Effects on Knowledge Production In addition to hiring patterns, other recent studies hint at the way the professoriate replicates itself. One paper in Nature: Human Behavior (which shares two co-authors with the new study on hiring) found that 22 percent of tenure-track faculty members have a parent with a Ph.D. “Our results suggest that the professoriate is, and has remained, accessible disproportionately to the socioeconomically privileged, which is likely to deeply shape their scholarship and their reproduction,” that paper said. Other research suggests that economics Ph.D.s, in particular, are increasingly likely to have at least one parent with a graduate degree. Aaron Clauset, professor of computer science at Boulder and a co-author of both the hiring prestige and parents-with-Ph.D.s papers, said Thursday, “There is certainly a connection between the two results [on prestige hiring and parents with Ph.D.s], and it seems highly likely that both patterns influence academic scholarship in deep ways. The magnitude of the overrepresentation of very narrow ranges of individuals is jarring, and I think a real benefit of both studies is to quantify these patterns in great detail, pointing to specific places where more causal study is needed.” As a field, however, he said, “we are only just beginning to understand how much and in what ways these disparities in who ends up as tenure-track faculty at Ph.D.-granting universities in the U.S. [shape] what scholarship is produced and what discoveries are made.” One key reminder: most prestige-hiring studies, including the new one, only consider Ph.D.-granting institutions. Hiring patterns may look very different when considering associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree–granting institutions, as well. Another note: these studies typically exclude faculty members working off the tenure track. Political scientist Shannon Jenkins, associate dean of arts and sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, who earned her Ph.D. at Loyola University in Chicago, said she found the findings on closed hiring networks “troubling.” At the same time, she said, at her own institution (which grants Ph.D.s in some programs), the faculty is “very diverse in terms of the institutions where they got their terminal degree. We have some faculty from elite Ph.D.-granting institutions, but most of our faculty come from institutions that are very different than that. We have an exceptional faculty that we are very proud of, and they come from a lot of places.” FacultyEditorial Tags: HiringGraduate educationImage Source: Jongho Shin/iStock/Getty Images PlusImage Caption: Network analysis of faculty jobs across academe suggests insular hiring practices. Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: Prestige Hiring Across AcademeTrending order: 2Display Promo Box: Live Updates: liveupdates0Most Popular: 3In-Article Advertisement High: 6In-Article related stories: 9In-Article Advertisement Low: 12
Florida chancellor search yielded only eight applicants September 23 2022
Image: By all measures, the chancellor position at the State University System of Florida seems like a plum job. It oversees 12 institutions that serve more than 430,000 students, manages a multibillion-dollar budget and comes with a salary of over $400,000. Yet the latest search for a new chancellor of the second-largest public university system in the U.S. yielded only eight applicants. A ninth application, which lacked substantial information and listed President Joe Biden as a reference, was marked “incomplete.” None of the applicants had experience as a college president, a qualification that experts say is often desirable in a system head. Some were international applicants who had spent most or all of their careers working outside the U.S. Though the university system's Board of Governors insists it conducted a thorough search, the depth of the applicant pool is underwhelming to experts who suggest that the state’s fractious political climate may have stifled interest in the job. Ultimately, the board hired Ray Rodrigues—a former legislator and confederate of Republican governor Ron DeSantis—from the shallow pool. But other candidates who spoke to Inside Higher Ed suggest the fix was in from the start, with Rodrigues elevated to the top of the résumé pile solely on the power of his political credentials. They say he was hired as an ally of the governor by a state board stocked with DeSantis appointees. The Search Process The Florida Board of Governors unanimously voted to hire Rodrigues on Sept. 14. Rodrigues will replace the current chancellor, Marshall Criser, who is retiring. The hire concluded a search in which only two candidates were interviewed, while some of the other applicants were never contacted. The position was open to applications for a period of 30 days, closing on Aug. 12. “The Board’s Chancellor Search Committee conducted a thorough search to fill the chancellor position,” Renee Fargason, spokesperson for the Board of Governors, wrote in an email. “The application process was open for 30 days. The position was advertised in the online job platforms of the Chronicle of Higher Education, InsideHigherEd and HigherEdJobs. These 3 online platforms are visited by approximately 7 million people each month.” Fargason did not answer a list of questions Inside Higher Ed sent regarding the search, and she said that Rodrigues was not available for an interview before he formally starts—a date Fargason also said she was unable to provide. Likewise, final salary details have not yet been announced. Three applicants who spoke to Inside Higher Ed said they were never contacted during the search process, even to confirm receipt of their submitted materials. Other candidates did not respond to requests for comment. One applicant—who applied because he thought he could make a difference in the role—sharply criticized the hiring process, suggesting that Rodrigues was handpicked from the beginning. “They determined that the qualifications were basically to be a politician who was an ally of the executive leadership of the state,” said the applicant, who requested anonymity to discuss the search freely. “And as far as I know, this would be the only chancellor in the country without a doctoral degree. So you’re losing any outside perspective, any sense of innovation or any real understanding of academia, of what it takes to teach, what it takes to do research, what it takes to deal with disadvantaged students. And 20 or 30 years of experience, which will be expected in a normal chancellor, is gone; it’s nonexistent and it’s to the detriment of the state of Florida.” That applicant and others called the handling of the search process “unprofessional” and questioned Rodrigues’s qualifications. On his résumé, Rodrigues lists 11 years of corporate experience and 16 years in various roles at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he is the director of interagency partnerships. His highest academic credential is a master’s degree from FGCU. In his application, Rodrigues also touted his legislative experience, which spanned 10 years in the Florida House and Senate. Rodrigues pointed to his sponsorship of controversial 2021 legislation that DeSantis championed, including SB 264, which established a viewpoint-diversity survey for students and employees that faced strong opposition from academics and then received few responses when distributed. Critics of the legislation have likened the survey to a political litmus test for university employees. Rodrigues also noted his sponsorship this year of SB 7044, which requires public institutions to change accrediting agencies at the end of each accreditation cycle. Critics of the bill see it as political retaliation against the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the regional accrediting agency for Florida institutions. SACSCOC sent letters to individual colleges in 2021 seeking information on a potential conflict of interest in a recent presidential search at Florida State University, as well as on the University of Florida’s gag order on professors who sought to participate in a lawsuit opposing state voting restrictions. A U.S. Department of Education official cautioned DeSantis against approving the bill before it was signed into law. SB 7044 also allows the Board of Governors to design its own tenure-review process for professors—despite existing campus policies—a measure that critics, including the American Association of University Professors, have decried as an attack on academic freedom. Search-Process Norms Outside observers note that eight applicants for a university system the size of Florida’s is an unusually low number. They also said that it is common practice to inform applicants their materials have been received. Jason Lane, dean of the College of Education, Health, and Society at Miami University in Ohio and a senior fellow at the National Association of System Heads, said he hasn’t heard of other states having trouble attracting quality candidates for top leadership searches. He believes Florida's shallow applicant pool reflects not a lack of available talent but rather worries about the state's political climate. “There are often state contextual issues that will dictate what folks are interested in doing, and I think given the contentiousness of politics in Florida at the moment, the individual’s time is likely going to be spent significantly in the political realm. I think that may have led some folks to self-select out of the opportunity at this moment, whereas they may have otherwise been interested in that role,” Lane said. Others point to additional factors contributing to the sparse applicant pool. Jay Lemons, president of the executive search firm Academic Search, said by email that system heads are less visible positions in the higher ed world and that these searches generally draw fewer applicants than presidential posts. He also noted the job of a system head differs significantly from that of a college president. “The jobs of system heads are very different than leading a campus. System heads are typically the critical link to state governments,” Lemons said. “They also bear responsibility and oversight of multiple campuses that serve an entire state rather than being focused on a single campus.” He adds that career pathways to such positions are highly varied, with some system heads rising up through the campus ranks and others coming with backgrounds in areas such as government. Political experience, he said, can help system heads navigate their responsibilities. “Given the central role of public funding for systems, having a system head with knowledge of government and relationships can be highly beneficial,” Lemons said. “The challenge can come if those persons don’t know, understand or respect higher education and how leadership and change management work in the academy.” Lane agreed that a political background can benefit a system head. “I think the benefits are that they understand the political side of the state, they have relationships that are existing, that hopefully they can use to the benefit of the system and the constituent campuses,” Lane said. “I think challenges are—and we see this even at the campus level—a lack of understanding of the higher education sector, how it operates, the on-the-ground issues that are dealt with in terms of the delivery of education and the life and the work of faculty. Folks who come from outside of higher ed don’t understand the machinations of higher education work. In the same way, somebody in higher ed [who] jumped into business probably wouldn’t understand how the machinations work—they have their own culture, so there’s often some difficulty there.” Reactions to the Hire When Rodrigues was formally hired as the next chancellor, local media reported that the move had been “widely expected,” noting his deep political connections. Rodrigues had announced in June—the same month that Criser declared his intention to retire—that he would not seek re-election for his State Senate seat. He then applied for the chancellor role on July 13. News of Rodrigues’s hiring prompted both congratulations and condemnations. Political colleagues noted that Rodrigues is a first-generation college graduate and praised his work ethic. The Board of Governors called Rodrigues “an experienced and dedicated leader.” But those who have opposed some of the legislation Rodrigues has sponsored are wary that he will advance a DeSantis agenda that they believe is detrimental to public higher education in the state. Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, said there is a perception that Rodrigues was hired for the chancellor role based solely on his past political experience. “Our position at UFF is the only people who should be in [executive] positions are people with a great deal of experience in higher education, preferably as faculty members, but also as administrators, and that we should not be putting political appointees in that role. And so we do have some concerns about Senator Rodriguez being appointed because of his political background. And we feel like that is the No. 1 reason he has been appointed,” Gothard said. “Now, he does have some administrative experience due to his employment with Florida Gulf Coast University. But we don’t believe that that is the main reason for his appointment. We believe the main reason for his appointment has to do with the legislation that he has sponsored in relation to higher education over the past few years. And unfortunately, we are very much at odds with Senator Rodriguez about what makes good policy for higher education.” Gothard specifically noted opposition to SB 7044 this year and SB 264 in 2021. Though his sponsorship of the legislation concerns faculty members, Gothard said the union wants to give Rodrigues a chance to establish common ground and prove himself as a leader. “I think everybody deserves a chance to prove themselves, especially in a new leadership role. So we certainly have a number of hopes about how Chancellor Rodrigues will behave, but those hopes do not in any way undermine our commitment to fully and vehemently oppose all policies and procedures that would harm the higher education system,” he said. “We want to give him a chance to do well, but we’re watching and we are ready to go after him and after the Board of Governors if they continue to make decisions that will harm our higher education system.” Academic FreedomLeadershipState PolicyEditorial Tags: LegislationState policyTrustees/regentsImage Source: Florida House of RepresentativesImage Caption: Ray Rodrigues, who spent a decade in state politics, was tapped as the next chancellor for the State University System Florida.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: A Search Mired in PoliticsTrending order: 1Display Promo Box: Live Updates: liveupdates0Most Popular: 3In-Article Advertisement High: 6In-Article related stories: 9In-Article Advertisement Low: 12