These are non-sequiturs. The research question here is whether faculty are hired from those prestigious schools above and beyond the rate at which they would have been hired based on other signals of their potential as researchers, which, presumably, are related to what school they go to.
I am not seeing how schools' historical relationships with marginalized peoples bears on that question.
I believe it was Gary King who said that nepotism and meritocracy are very hard to distinguish in academia. You would need a clever identification strategy  to tease out the effects of prestige on the margin. I'm afraid this article doesn't offer much on that front.
I’ve been to every kind of level of school (public, private, non-elite, elite). Whenever I’ve had someone from an elite background teaching at a non-elite place has made me feel better about the education I received, and was grateful for it! Relatedly, the expectations in the elite environments were substantially higher, which ended up producing better work from myself because of my peers, culture, and pressure than when I was lacking those in non-elite environments… despite the fact that I’m the same person.
I hate this trend perusing equality by lowering to the common denominator. That’s how you lose competitive edge in the world and end up with a mushy disinterested public. Talent is non-uniformly distributed… we should encourage and have ample mechanisms for the cream to rise to the top regardless of background. Finding ways to identify and prop up talent is what’s culturally lacking. I’ve seen it first hand countless times, and it’s saddened me each time because it’s so wasteful for society and the individuals. We need access to more elite institutions not less!
I looked around at my professors in undergrad and virtually all had come from Ivies or other institutions of similar caliber.
At least software pays well.
This is really why you go to elite universities: to open doors. It's not just the people you meet and build relationships with while at those august institutions, it's the preferential treatment you'll get from former alumni as well as the perception of you being more capable by just having that name on your CV. You've gotten admitted to such an institution and graduated.
The tech world prides itself on being a meritocracy but "social proof" is just as prevalent. Going to an elite school will get you better access to internships, which will get you better access to jobs and so on.
Academia is just a more extreme version of this. A friend (who did manage to secure a tenure track position in the humanities against all odds as a non-Harvard graduate) once told me "you'll never be without a job with Harvard on your CV". Academic departments view prestige by how many Harvard graduates you have on staff.
The scandals in academic publishing are just symptomatic of this: trading on prestige, trading on connections, not wanting to rock the boat, etc.
It would be nice if this was because a few elite universities are so good at training academics but I think we all know that isn't entirely the case.
Or, it could just be that those 20 prestigious schools are harder to get into (which is pretty provably true based on acceptance rates), and could thus have higher standards than other universities.
I've become tired of the argument that any distribution that doesn't follow the distribution of an underlying population is by itself evidence of bias, without any specific evidence of bias. Not saying this is always the case, but it's an extremely lazy argument that is easily disputed if people are actually being honest.
The Pareto Principle at work. All these figures show is that universities have the usual distribution of quality.
I feel like this is not the best representation here as they sorta switched what they are measuring. Imagine if every single PhD from every single university became a tenured professor at the exact same rate. We'd still see a pretty big imbalance because presumably there are some universities which give out 300+ PhDs per year because they have a ton of programs/departments and others that give out 30+ per year because they have very limited grad programs.
Surely there is a skew but it just seems like a very deceptive way to look at it.
Would be like saying that 50% of all Americans who become teachers come from just 20% of the states - but not adjusting for the fact that 50% of the population lives in the top 10 largest states.
I was also going to say that there are plenty of less prestigious schools that graduate a ton of professors, like UC Berkeley, but it turns out it's on this list hah.
This was very disheartening to realize in college. It was too late for me to attempt to become any of the role models physically in front of me.
The inverse correlation would be that people who end up being professors attended those colleges. Maybe they were more likely to get in or are more interested in academia so focused applying to those colleges.
It's worth noting that 3 of these 5 are public — only 2 are private. I was expecting to see a list of Ivies, but there's only one on the list. Things are much more skewed among law professors, who are mostly from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Chicago, and Michigan.
> This picture of elitism is bolstered by a study published last month in Nature Human Behaviour, showing that almost 25% of faculty members in the United States have at least one parent with a PhD (in the general population, less than 1% of people have a parent with a PhD).
What a silly comparison. University faculty are not selected from "the general population" — only people with PhDs (or JDs/MBAs/MDs, in certain fields) can get these positions. The relevant baseline percentage is: what percent of people seeking faculty positions (i.e., people with the requisite terminal degree) have a parent with a PhD?
Otherwise you're comparing (1) people who successfully got a job with tons of requirements with (2) Americans, generally. If you're going to do that, why not use the average rate worldwide, which would undoubtedly be even lower? Plenty of professors were born outside the US, after all!
A faulty comparison like this calls into question the seriousness of the article.
EDIT: another commenter linked to a list of the schools with the largest number of PhD graduates.  It turns out that all but one of the 5 schools listed here is on the top 10 list for volume of graduates. So the conclusion is: the schools with the most PhD graduates...produce a large chunk of professors? Not a huge surprise.
Now, in our universe (bringing back all that baggage I initially eschewed) university "eliteness" is pretty stupid and meaningless - it's used as a status symbol which is irrelevant as soon as you have real work experience with the exception of academia which obsesses over degrees even into your 60s. I guess Harvard is probably going to get you a better education than Mass Bay - but a keen student at Mass Bay will get more out of their education than a trust fund baby at Harvard.
I see what they are getting at - yes there needs to be more diversity in academia and education needs to be more available, and widely distributed, across society. I don't see however, how this is going to motivate hiring committees to take an otherwise promising, and competitive person from a lower prestige institution, who is almost certainly competing with an equally qualified person from an elite institution. Making the case that this person would also be a very good bet might help.
Therefore, although "elite" indicates mainly a social class, majority of those people are very likely coming from mid-class families and they just happen to have a good academic record. With that in mind, I wouldn't call this a bias but just a normal and beneficial outcome of the academic system.
It would obviously need to be catered to each major. And it won’t exactly align with any one school’s curriculum, but it’d be great to see actual stats of who knows what after graduation across thousands of students.
Thinking about this a bit more, this is something the government could definitely do. Have schools submit students to these tests as a condition of receiving federal funding. Any student that graduates that doesn’t take the test counts as a zero for the schools numerator but still a one for the denominator.
There are professors who teach undergraduates. There are professors who teach graduate students who are working on doctorates they will use in industry.
And finally, there are professors who get to mint new professors.
That final list SHOULD be an elite. Academia is done growing, which means if you're a full professor, you should expect exactly one of your advisees to make full professor. Out of the entire career's retinue of advisees. Some professors will get to mint more than that. Others will have zero.
I would expect that strong undergraduate candidates to elite programs (e.g. 3.9+ GPA with letters of recommendation from professors) would not have statistically different GRE/LSAT/MCAT scores based on race. Has anyone studied high GPA students' GRE scores for racial bias?
Nice pareto principle example
If something other than the 80/20 rule was found, that might be cause for alarm or further exploration
A worse issue is that Harvard and Stanford get all the grant money.
Higher edu has far less power and hands on direct impact than Uncle Sam.
It is basically saying like "most rich people have a high resolution TV."