Research in Higher Education

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 345–355 | Cite as

Reputational quality of academic programs: The institutional halo

  • James S. Fairweather
Article

Abstract

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reputational ratings of faculty often are used as indices of program quality. The underlying assumption is that these ratings are functions ofprogram-related characteristics, particularly faculty accomplishments. Consistent with this viewpoint, King and Wolfle (1987) and Saunier (1985) found that faculty reputations are best explained by program size and faculty scholarly activity. To determine whether program characteristics alone are sufficient to explain reputational ratings, this paper examines the additional contribution ofinstitutional characteristics to explain the NAS faculty reputational ratings. Three technical fields are examined: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science. Institutional- and program-related composite variables are identified by principal components analyses. For each discipline, a multiple regression analysis shows that program characteristics strongly influence reputational ratings, but an institutional “halo effect” also exists. These findings indicate that faculty reputations and program quality are more complex phenomena than implied by models limited to program-specific factors.

Keywords

Principal Component Analysis Multiple Regression Analysis Education Research Composite Variable Electrical Engineering 

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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • James S. Fairweather
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Higher EducationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park

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