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Board 97: Is Postdoctoral Training Linked to Faculty Careers and Higher Salaries among Engineering Ph.D.s?

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Joyce B. Main Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16

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Joyce B. Main is Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She holds a Ph.D. in Learning, Teaching, and Social Policy from Cornell University, and an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Yanbing Wang Purdue University

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The number of engineering PhDs obtaining postdoctoral research scholar employment has increased over the last 20 years. This study examines the factors associated with obtaining postdoc positions, and the early career outcomes associated with postdoc training. Descriptive and regression analyses, and propensity score matching are conducted using a nationally representative sample of engineering PhDs from the 1993-2013 National Science Foundation Survey of Doctorate Recipients matched with the 1985-2013 Survey of Earned Doctorates. Findings show that engineering PhDs with greater research experience, research ability, or who graduated from doctoral programs with more prevalent postdoc employment among previous PhD cohorts, tend to be more likely to obtain postdoc positions. Compared to PhDs who obtain non-academic positions, postdoc training is associated with greater likelihood of attaining tenure track faculty positions and remaining in academia 7-9 years after PhD graduation. In terms of early career salary, postdoc training may delay salary growth among engineering PhDs who are eventually employed in the private sector, but not among those who are eventually employed in the academic sector. Research findings provide critical information regarding the outlook for postdoctoral employment and its role in the long-term career paths of engineering PhDs.

Main, J. B., & Wang, Y. (2019, June), Board 97: Is Postdoctoral Training Linked to Faculty Careers and Higher Salaries among Engineering Ph.D.s? Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32471

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