Hiring Your Own Grads

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mrhistory:
"Silly rule?"  Only from the perspective of one wanting to stay.  Beyond the desire to have intellectual diversity in terms of where people trained (which, of course, works in theory more than fact) there is a very, very good political reason:

An institution that hires its own grads except in the case where they are people who have distinguished themselves elsewhere and are hired in at a senior level are risking some serious dissention in the faculty AND graduate student ranks.  Whose students do you think will get hired?  The most powerful senior faculty member's favorite, that's who. And what of the brand-shining-new-Asst Prof coming up from his own grad program?  Can he teach the grad students effectively? Can he buck the system pedagogically---that is, if he *thinks* of another way to do things at all can he do it without some former "mentor" or fac member thinking its a criticism of how *they* taught the seminar? No.  Will said junior faculty have even the modicum of independence that other outside-originating junior faculty have on dept issues?  No.

Perhaps in a perfect universe they would but hiring your own grads out of graduate school can lead to disaster in terms of morale. Everyone has to be watchful for abuses.  It breeds mistrust. It has the potential to ruin the career of the hired-grad itself.

Maybe the OP is one of the few who has the perfect dept where all decisions are principled and made by open, principled people, is also the ideal candidate for an open position with the best credentials in the world for that job,  and is distant enough from current grad students in time and location (due to dissertation research away from campus not to have any conflicts of interest), but I would not care to be part of a department who really wants to try that. 

mrhistory:
A followup to a couple of points from earlier posters:

The problem of homogenity of thinking from PhDs from one program tends to happen in sub-fields. A case:  a decision was made in our largest doctoral subfield not to hire X U doctorates in the next search. Why? We have four people in that general subfield and three (including the soon to retire senior guy) are all from top-ranked XU.  That does create a homogeneity of approach and we want to invigorate the program not simply try to recreate a version of X U's wonderful program. By looking at Y State U, or Z U we see people with different research emphases and different mentors.

The issue of top-ranked Us hiring their own is a different thing from what the majority of State Us with grad programs experience.  At, say, Harvard, dissertators aren't likely active TAs and an in-department presence from start of program to end like those at my current X State U doctoral program who DO know the new grad students.  Also, from my experience at/with top ranked program in my subfield, Asst Profs do not direct dissertations. At many mid and lower ranked Us they must from the beginning: case in point, I "inherited" the two dissertators of the departing guy in my field. Not ideal in anyone's eyes but a reality of what happens when you are covering an entire subfield that isn't a focus of the department and people have dissertations in progress. 

scotia:
Whilst hiring the occasional insider may be just about acceptable, on the whole I think it is (1) bad for the institution and (2) bad for the person hired.

I joined one department that, up until two years previously, had mostly hired its own PhDs. In many cases faculty members had joined as Masters students and were still around 20 - 30 years later. The politics were horrible, with schisms from the 1980s still evident post-2000 as former students continued their advisors' feuds. Innovation was mostly non-existent and there was very little diversity among the faculty - WASP males were abundant. It was not a happy place to work.

I am now in a much saner setting. One of my current colleague's recently completed her doctorate whilst acting as a 'teaching fellow' in the local jargon. She is beginning to realise that, despite the fact that she has been promised a 'proper lectureship', she will almost certainly have to leave in order to be seen as a scholar in her own right, rather than as someone's student. It is a pity, because she is good - just the sort of person we would hope to recruit - but some people's image of her seems fixed.

seniorscholar:
Of course the Ivies do hire their own grads -- but the Ivies very rarely tenure the people they hire as assistant professors; they hire the best accomplished and nationally reputable mid-career scholars from outside (thus keeping the gene pool healthy), and turn the assistant professors with their own degrees loose to get tenured positions elsewhere.

In a department that uses quite a lot of visiting assistant professors (who can stay a maximum of five years) to teach freshman comp, we do sometimes hire our own Ph.D.'s for a maximum of three years, instead of five. The visiting assistant professors have a decent salary and good benefits (they're covered by the same union contract that covers the rest of the faculty), and we are constantly reminding all of them to publish, develop new skills, and apply for jobs every year since otherwise (whether they're our own former grad students or not) they all begin to fantasize that they are so special we'll make a tenure line for them. I have made it a practice of reading the articles and making suggestions about publishing only to the visiting assistant professors in my subfield who have PhD's from other universities. I have urged (a.k.a. required) the two or three, over the years, that were my own doctoral students to make connections with someone else, since I believe everyone needs to develop independence as a scholar as quickly as possible. It seems to me that the inability to cut loose from intellectual dependence on a supervisor is the worst thing, professionally, that can happen to a young faculty member.

holzman:
Quote from: seniorscholar on December 29, 2006,  9:16:26 PM

In a department that uses quite a lot of visiting assistant professors (who can stay a maximum of five years) to teach freshman comp, we do sometimes hire our own Ph.D.'s for a maximum of three years, instead of five. The visiting assistant professors have a decent salary and good benefits (they're covered by the same union contract that covers the rest of the faculty), and we are constantly reminding all of them to publish, develop new skills, and apply for jobs every year since otherwise (whether they're our own former grad students or not) they all begin to fantasize that they are so special we'll make a tenure line for them.

I would suspect that after 5 years you would then be required by that very same union contract to hire them for a slightly longer term, am I wrong?  In other words, very convenient that you drop them just before year six... just before they become vested and get a tiny bit of job security.  Certainly wouldn't want them to feel "special" eh?

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