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After reading your article, I wanted to know which resource gave the
data that an average successful scientist gets denied tenure at 44.
I tried to look for "percentage denied tenure", but could not find
data on the most recent years (after 2005). Further, do you have a
source that shows the proportion denied tenure for each area of
science, in particular for mathematics? Thanks!
-- Yang Jiao, January 9, 2011
Yang: I haven't Googled around for this lately, but it sounds as though you're in math, so it really shouldn't be necessary. If the average professor who eventually earns tenure in science or engineering produces 15 PhD students over his or her 40 years on the job, very few of those 15 will be needed to fill the single slot created when the advisor finally retires. In the U.S., at least, there is no plausible growth story for how new universities or positions will be created (the MIT faculty is about 10 percent larger than it was 40 years ago, despite a tremendous growth in wealth and funded research).
The newest, biggest, and most rapidly growing universities in the U.S. are for-profit schools such as University of Phoenix (470,800 students; MIT has about 10,500) and they are staffed with traditional at-will employees (see http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2008/SO/Feat/zems.htm ). The U.S. population is forecast to grow to between 600 million and 1 billion in 2100, but that doesn't mean the number of tenured faculty positions will double or triple. It could remain constant or shrink as the nimble start-up universities grow to capture the new market while traditional schools stagnate.
http://www.economist.com/node/17723223 probably reflects the most recent readily accessible data.
See http://www.phoenix.edu/about_us/publications/academic-annual- report/2010.html for a bit more on what the average American's university education will look like in 20 years.
-- Philip Greenspun, January 9, 2011
You also might be interested on this CNBC Original Production, http://www.cnbc.com/id/39911910. It talks about College Education and Debt Crisis in America in general. It mentioned about the University of Phoenix as one of the fastest growing for-profit universities in the country.
-- Emmanuel Cajayon, January 20, 2011