(Revised Thurs July 10, 2014)
I am in the midst of a massive data collection and crunching process, in support of an article I am writing on public engagement by law profs in Canadian common law schools (that is, LLB and JD granting schools). To this end, I have collected demographic and career data from the public web profiles on the people listed on the websites of these law schools as Assistant, Associate or Full professors (and occasionally emeritus).
The results are fascinating, especially on some of the gender issues. I am writing up the article now. But as a teaser, here are provisional data on the education of Canada's common law professors. Table 1 below shows the top 15 institutions from which Canadian law professors obtained their highest degree (an LLM or increasingly a doctorate -- more on that in the article) and the proportion of profs who received degrees from each institution. I had data for 572 profs (a number that includes a number of emeritus profs). Table 2 represents the top 15 institutions, at the Assistant professor level. It reflects, in other words, more recent hiring trends. (Here, I had data for 102 profs.)
Table 1: Highest Degree By Institution, All Profs
Table 2: Highest Degree by Institution, Assistant Profs
These top 15 schools account for 79% of all of the highest degrees of all profs, and 88% of all of the highest degrees of Assistant Profs.
These data suggest that UK schools have lost ground relative to Canadian schools, while US schools continue to figure prominently (although perhaps not as prominently). In fact, a more general analysis confirms this inference. Table 3 shows the region in which Canada's common law professors earned their highest degree.
Table 3: Region Where Canadian Common Law Profs Earned their Highest Degree
|All Profs||Assistant Profs|
Canadian origin higher degrees have swelled among Assistant professors. These data are heartening to those of us labouring in Canadian law schools to produce competitive graduate students . We may be overcoming the "neocolonialism" of academic hiring -- the bias in favour of foreign credentials.
Special credit goes to Toronto, Osgoode and McGill for their success in producing graduate degree holders securing positions in Canadian law faculties.
I received a number of questions and observations on these data. The original post included top 10 schools, so I increased to top 15. I also revised by consolidating and counting together some institutions that were coded in my data set differently (eg York vs Osgoode -- some profs specify one or the other and don't indicate whether a doctorate is in law or another discipline). I also did some manual rejigging to account for a few instances where a prof had degrees of the same level from two schools. (I basically double counted that prof, adding an entry under both institutions).
I was asked about instances where a person might have an LLM from a US school and a doctorate from a Cdn school -- but I didn't collect data on intermediate degrees, just highest degree. (This whole degree of origin thing is incidental to the purpose of my data collection effort -- an article on public engagement by Cdn law profs). Note, however, that I would expect the Cdn doctorate count to go up for the current crop of Assistant profs, many of whom seem to have doctorates in progress (and thus have a degree yet to add). On a related issue, I will post this morning on patterns of LLM v. doctorates.
Finally, I was asked also about "internal" hires -- that is, Canadian schools who hire their own -- and what that does to the count. The question may have been motivated by understanding which Canadian programs are truly "hubs" in terms of the supply of law profs. This is a valid question, and something I would want to know if I was going to grad school with an eye to teaching.
So I ran the data set again, eliminating "internal" hires (that is, removing profs whose highest degree is from the institution at which they teach). The result tends to distort, as it increases the relative importance of foreign schools. But in the final analysis, the top 15 ranking is not terribly different. Table 4 shows data for all profs, less those eliminated by the "internal" hire criterion (so 545 people):
Table 4: Highest Grad Degree By Institution, Eliminating Internal Hires by Cdn Schools, All Profs
Table 5 completes the same process for the 92 Assistant Profs remaining after "internal" hires are removed. The resulting table does not affect Toronto, or UBC, and would have only an incidental impact on Osgoode and McGill. uOttawa, Dal and Sask fall from the list when internal hires are removed. (At uOttawa, for instance, we have made several internal Assistant hires in our French language and tech law programs.)
Table 5: Highest Grad Degree By Institution, Eliminating Internal Hires by Cdn Schools, Assistant Profs
(This table only includes 13 schools -- all those for whom there was more than 1 Assistant Prof possessing their degree as the highest degree obtained)
So there you are -- the numbers as I compute them. I am sure learning a lot about how to use Excel doing this project! And the grad school I went to never taught that. So caveat emptor, especially since I am still working on the article and my final product will involve a careful review of my computations.
More tweeting commentary! I was asked a follow up on my "internals" analysis; namely, whether there is evidence of the opposite phenomena (schools that want a foreign pedigree to be hired). The question was posed with specific respect to the "producer" schools -- that is, the three institutions in Canada that produce the most Cdn common law profs (McGill, Osgoode and Toronto). Do these schools hire only those whose highest degree is a foreign one?
Here are the numbers I have. Nation wide, the proportion of law profs with a Canadian highest degree is 42%. For McGill, the equivalent figure is 22%, Osgoode, 37% and Toronto, 20%. (In each institution, there were a handful of persons for whom I was able to find no data on highest degree on thier faculty bios).
The numbers for Assistant Profs (presumed to be the most recent hires) start to get awfully small, in terms of sample size. But nation wide, the proportion of Assistant law profs with Canadian highest degrees is 56%. The equivalent number at McGill is 33%, at Osgoode, 40% (may be 60%, as one now dated bio says Cdn doctorate in progress), and Toronto, 0%. Again, these schools only have a handful of Assistant profs, so the trends may be artificial. In addition, there may be some hires from this past year not up on websites yet.
I did not code for intermediate degrees. So I have no idea if these persons with Canadian highest degrees have intermediate foreign degrees. For instance, a number of Cdn doctorates may well have foreign LLMs. (All this "advice on where to go to grad school" is collateral fun stuff that I can pull from data collected for an article that is really about something completely different, and that means the data I collected allow me to drill only so far.)
I'm beginning to feel like a Canadian version of US News & Reports. (I wonder if I can made money on this?) I imagine it's only a matter of time before I start getting stern emails from deans. But if someone sees something in my data that doesn't add up, I'd welcome the chance to correct.