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Masters thesis defense presentation abstract:
Why do we care about prestige rankings? What does this preoccupation say about our implicit understanding of prestige as a function of image and identity? For an academic community in which identity matters, prestige rankings reveal an important dimension of identity in community context. In the case of existing rankings for the emergent iSchools, interdisciplinary growth has rendered the community context incomplete.
Exploring indicators of prestige in hiring networks as they relate to measures of prestige presented in peer rankings such as US News & World Report rankings provides a new perspective on hiring and identity in the iSchools. This research collected data on the educational pedigrees of 693 full-time faculty at iSchools and constructed a hiring network of institutional affiliations, with connections between the schools based on the institutions from which current iSchool faculty received their PhD degrees. The study quantitatively and qualitatively compares the iSchool hiring network structure to a similar hiring network in the more established academic discipline of Computer Science, and uses regression on network prestige and centrality measures to explain the variance in USNWR ratings. The study projects inclusive prestige ratings for the full CS and iSchool communities, which reveal underlying similarities in the structure of the two networks. Analysis of additional hiring network features, such as faculty areas of study and self-hiring in the iSchools, demonstrates the interdisciplinary diversity of the emergent field of information and its constituent institutions.
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