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To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields


The present study identifies characteristics of individuals and work settings that influence Asian international faculty members’ intentions to continue their employment in US research universities. Given the demand for researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM), the higher rate of turnover among untenured faculty, and the replacement costs associated with turnover in STEM, the sample is limited to assistant professors employed in these areas. Multinomial regression analyses are conducted to identify variables that “pull” and “push” uncertain faculty toward intentions stay and leave their current institutions. The results suggest that faculty who are more satisfied with time available for research and those who express stronger organizational commitment are more likely to say they will stay. Those dissatisfied with the fairness of work evaluations and believe tenure decisions are not merit-based, are more likely to say they will leave.

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  1. 1.

    We utilized responses to two survey items to select our sample. One item asked respondents, “What is your race?” and presented them with a list of possible groups. We included those respondents who selected the Asian, Asian-American, Asian-Canadian, or Pacific Islander option that defined this group as: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, Guam, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.” A second item asked respondents to indicate if they were US citizens, non-US citizens, or (decline to answer. We included only individuals who identified themselves as Asian, Asian-American, Asian-Canadian, or Pacific Islander and non-US citizens.


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Correspondence to Janet H. Lawrence.


Appendix 1

See Table 4.

Table 4 Variable definitions

Appendix 2

See Table 5.

Table 5 Pairwise correlations among variablesa

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Lawrence, J.H., Celis, S., Kim, H.S. et al. To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields. High Educ 67, 511–531 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-013-9658-0

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  • International faculty
  • Faculty retention
  • STEM fields
  • United States