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MIHE Community Tapped to Comment on Academic Job Market in Red States

McBee members

by Jewel Caruso

Paul Rubin (PhD 2017), Barrett Taylor (PhD 2012), and Brendan Cantwell (former McBee postdoc) contributed to a recent article in Inside Higher Ed by Ryan Quinn, "Are Professors Really Fleeing Universities in Red States?"

In the article, Quinn addresses news articles that have "raised alarms" that waves of faculty members are fleeing red states. Some observers had speculated that right-wing pressure has led to "Southern brain drain" across universities, and the AAUP produced an investigative report, released in December, that states, "Threats to academic freedom, tenure and shared governance in Florida public universities described a statewide faculty 'exodus.'"

Taylor, professor at the University of North Texas, told Quinn, "There's not really a national data set at the level of individual faculty members ... With the current data we have, it's very difficult to adjudicate between these competing narratives."

Cantwell, professor at Michigan State University, noted that a mass exodus is not something anyone would expect. He believes that faculty members are "too entrenched" in their states and the overall turnover in the academic job market is low. Cantwell added that faculty members are tied down by mortgages, families, and other normal things. 

Rubin, assistant professor at the University of Utah, described the academic job market as "bifurcated" further stating that there's two separate markets: one for new PhD holders and those for established members who rake in research dollars. 

Rubin was quoted as saying that members may feel loyalty or "personal responsibility" to stay in the state. He noted that some professors prefer to stay to do their best countering the prevailing political talking points. "For many faculty members, it isn't combating the states, it's serving the students." Rubin said. 

Type of News/Audience:


PhD, 2017
Postdoctoral Research Associate, 2011-2012

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