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Advantages of being a professor at a top school?

  1. Mar 23, 2010 #1
    Advantages of being a professor at a "top" school?

    Hi PF,

    What advantages are there for professors who go to highly regarded schools, as opposed to mid level schools? I am assuming there may be higher quality peers (professors), but what else could one get at a "top" school that one couldn't somewhere else? Funding? And a huge ego boost for many, but I'm trying to be in the minority there.

    The one thing that attracts me towards professorship is freedom. They are paying me to do the thinking I want to do (plus paperwork). If there's no more freedom in staking out a desk in Harvard as there is owning one in a Hawaiian university...I'd take the surf.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 24, 2010 #2
    Re: Advantages of being a professor at a "top" school?

    Money and power. You are more likely to get yourself on the funding committees that make science policy decisions. Also you spend less of your time on routine teaching and more of your time doing high level research.

    Also "highly regarded" by whom? In observational astronomy, University of Hawaii is comparable to Harvard, and Hawaii is better at some things (ground based microwave astronomy).

    That's a terrible, terrible reason for going into academia. I don't think that professors (particularly junior professors) really are more free to do what they want than people in industry.

    What you'll find when you are faculty is that money doesn't magically appear. In order to get facilities, you'll be spending a fair amount of your time at fundraising and politics.

    Except that getting a faculty position at University of Hawaii in astronomy isn't much easier than getting one at Harvard. Also Harvard has some very strange faculty hiring policies. They tend to hire senior faculty from outside of the school rather than promote people from within.
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