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Bigshots?

SLF notmyaddress at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 4 02:54:49 EST 2000



> B martin wrote:
>
> Well for one, all of us need to stop thinking of "bigshot" places as
> better places. We may disagree, but I am not convinced that such
> places actually turn out better qualified researchers or teachers.

This may be true in some ways.  But is the production of PEOPLE the measure?
The fact is that the research dollars and research productivity  are
usually the unit of measure of the "value" of a research insitution.
Those are (unsurprisingly) highest
at the big name institutions, and those who get the gold tend to  set the rules.


> Often
> candidates from "bigshot" places have a better resume ONLY because of
> the lab or institution, compared to others who succeed in spite of poor
> resources.
>

Maybe so.  But show me a search committee--or a study section--
that prefers a person from
a resource-poor institution who has been productive despite the odds,
to one from a resource-rich institution who has been even MORE
productive because of their advantages.  The system has that feedback
loop built in.

>
> Once the "bigshot" places no longer can corner the market, the system
> will be more open and it will matter less where folks go for positions.

Corner the market in what?  I'm unclear what you mean here.  The
top-rated institutions and their faculty have an enormous influence on
the structure of science beyond simple hiring decisions;  think
of editorial boards and study sections.  The glut of high quality candidates
in the system means that smaller schools and institutions are spoilt for
choice--all those talented ex-postdocs are going somehwere, and not all of
them are going to Harvard.  It's a buyer's market, with the result that there
are great faculty at smaller institutions.

But the point of the original post is that the
Harvards of the world still wield an enormous power, and as long
as women opt-out from storming their barricades,  we
 leave ourselves OUT of that power structure.  If we want the influence
we hve to get into the system.




--
-susan
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The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA
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