Advertisement

Higher Education

, Volume 57, Issue 6, pp 703–721 | Cite as

Imported talents: demographic characteristics, achievement and job satisfaction of foreign born full time faculty in four-year American colleges

  • Zeng Lin
  • Richard Pearce
  • Weirong Wang
Article

Abstract

The information-based economy globalizes the competition for talents and has changed the nature of international migration in recent decades. The rise of America has historically benefited from imported talents, and higher education has played a crucial role. By using 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF04), this research tries to reexamine the roles of foreign born faculty in four-year American colleges after September 11. Descriptive statistics and discriminant analysis demonstrate that foreign born faculty occupy a special niche in the American four-year colleges. We argue that American higher education still needs imported talents, especially in the areas of pure and applied sciences.

Keywords

Foreign born faculty Immigration Achievement Job satisfaction Higher education Four year college 

Introduction

Whether viewed through the lens of a melting pot or a mosaic, America’s strength and vitality have long been recognized as rooted in that place where the eager immigrants meet the challenges of the frontier. Large-scale international migration is not only a prominent feature of the American social and cultural landscape, but also a necessity in a modern industrial society (Richmond 1988). During the past century of American ascendancy, immigration has played a pivotal role (Zinn 2003). However, the nature and character of those approaching the American shores have, over the same period, experienced dramatic changes. The earlier waves of twentieth century immigrants were predominantly European and by-and-large poorly-educated at the time of their arrival. In recent decades, Richmond (1988) has observed a growing demand for highly qualified immigrant talents, which has resulted in the phenomenon known as “brain drain”—intellectual talents flowing from the less developed to the more technologically advanced societies, including the US (p. 35).

This research looks to one particular and rather special segment of the American labor force, faculty in four-year American colleges and universities. The initial data analysis suggests that foreign born full time faculty members at four-year institutions in the US constitute a significant part of the ivory tower. Based on 2000 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF99), 15.4% of the faculty in four-year colleges are foreign born in 1999 (Lin et al. 2006), while 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF04) shows that 22.1% of them are foreign born in 2003, representing 6.8% increase over four year time periods. With such a large proportion of foreign born faculty members at four-year American colleges and universities, we are curious about the extent to which imported talents play an important niche role in American higher education. Since the American economic structure has continued to move away from manual labor and toward intellectual labor (Hagan 2004; van Tuberqen et al. 2004). Therefore, the priority of imported workers should be shifting from immigrant labor to immigrant intellect (Buchen 2003).

Although the US has long cherished its reputation as a welcoming port (Vecoli 1996), the history of American immigration has witnessed several periods of restricted access. Among the most notable was the extension of the Oriental Exclusion Acts into the twentieth century (Jillson 2004). The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 ushered in a new era defined in part by a significant change in public views on immigration (Llorente 2003). Coupled with the economic protectionism, the increased perception of a foreign threat to American national security has put a spotlight on immigration loopholes, which has invited some lawmakers to call for immigration reforms: in other words, stricter controls and greater limits (FAIR 2005). As one of the consequences, by 2004, the annual influx of foreigners who remained in the US was down 24% from its all time high in 2000 (Passel and Suro 2005). As Altbach (2004) observed that the US hosts more than a quarter of the world’s foreign students, but increases in foreign-student enrollments in the US stopped in 2002–2003, at a time when other countries have been witnessing dramatic growth in their overseas enrollments (p. 18). During the same period, Passel and Suro (2005) also found that the proportion of immigrants entering or remaining in the country illegally increased. Since tightened immigration controls, by definition, can only have an impact on those applying for legal immigration, this disproportional increase of illegal immigrants cannot be addressed through such means. Therefore, the consequences of these shifts would have impacts on American social, cultural, and economic strength.

One of the pioneer works on American professorate done by Bowen and Schuster (1986) suggests that recruiting and retaining competent faculty need support from governments, colleges as well as faculty members. In this regard, foreign born faculty are more likely than native faculty to subject to the influences of government actions. In response to globalization, knowledge-based economy, privatization movement, and new information technologies, Shuster and Finkelstein (2006) argue that American higher education is experiencing a great transformation, in which foreign born faculty would be an important part. Bowen, Shuster and Finkelstein’s works provide us with initial guidelines on how to conduct this research. However, the issues of foreign born faculty in American higher education are not their sole focus. To fill the gap, Liu (2001, unpublished) explores cultural adaptation of foreign born faculty by using 1993 National Study of Post Secondary Faculty (NSOPF93) long before the September 11. This research tries to reexamine the roles of foreign born faculty in American higher education after September 11. Through a large scale data analysis, we argue that American academic excellence and its sustainable growth require continued importation of immigrant intellectual talents, and the current tightening policies on legal immigrants is more likely to hinder rather than promote American economic interests.

Background

The changing nature of immigrants1 in the US

Claims of the US as a nation of immigrants could be overstated (Dinnerstein and Reimer 1999). The waves of immigration have ebbed and flowed over the centuries, and subsequent generations have come to view themselves as native, and from time to time have even moved to stem the flow of new immigrants (Baldoz 2004; Bean and Stevens 2003; Alba and Nee 2003). Still, there can be no doubt as to the central role of immigration in American history.

As the US expanded from coastal colonies to its present bi-coastal state, immigrants helped to settle the land as farmers, ranchers, and both skilled and unskilled labor on the frontier. European labor helped to build the cities of the East Coast and the prairie states. Slaves, as forced immigrants, built the agricultural foundation of the Old South. Asian immigrants built the railroads that linked the two coasts. At each stage of American expansion and development, immigrants answered the call for labor (Dinnerstein and Reimer 1999; Hagan 2004; Chew and Liu 2004).

In the period of rapid industrialization, fresh waves of immigrants found jobs in factories and steel mills, and in the period of expansion as a world power in the wake of World War II, new immigrants joined with old to bolster the burgeoning U.S. economic might (Hendricks 2001; Vecoli 1996). Throughout the stages of exploration, expansion, agricultural growth, urbanization, and industrialization, immigrant labor helped to fill the growing demand for strong backs. Immigrants were ideally suited to fill this role. Advanced English literacy was not required to work the fields or to operate the machines in an industrial nation. In other words, the mainstream of immigrants during these periods was made up of unskilled or semi-skilled labors.

Over the past few decades, the U.S. economy has taken a new turn, moving away from manufacturing and toward service industries (Falk et al. 2003). This shift to a service economy presents different challenges and different labor demands. Although a vibrant U.S. economy continues to offer opportunities for advancement, demands on the workforce have increased dramatically. Not only are workers required to demonstrate basic literacy, those wishing to advance are often required to possess advanced skills in a variety of areas spanning from business theory to advanced technology, from fluency in multiple languages to an understanding of psychology and sociology (Hagan 2004). Increased demands for intellectual capital possession among the workforce have resulted in a far greater role for formal education in preparing individuals and groups to take part in the American economy.

Institutions of higher education have taken a leading role in fostering a thriving service sector by preparing individuals to participate in that sector (Hunter 2001; Pang and Appleton 2004). Therefore, it can be asserted that higher education in the US has played a key role in fostering and maintaining American economic strength and vitality. American colleges and universities fulfill this role in a number of ways. At the most basic level, colleges and universities become the training ground for the American workforce. At a more profound level, colleges and universities have played vital roles in creating and disseminating knowledge and skills and in fostering the American economic landscape through research and development in cooperation with corporate America (Benjamin 2003).

Recognizing the central role of immigrant labor in the past of American economic development and the key role of education in the present, this study examines the current situation among foreign born faculty in American four-year colleges and universities to reveal the role immigrant intellect plays in higher education, and by proxy in the American economy at-large. The roles of foreign born faculty are explored in contrast to native born faculty in four important dimensions: demography, teaching and research, achievement, and job satisfaction. The operational definitions of these dimensions are further elaborated below (see Table 1).
Table 1

Selected variables in the 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty

Dimension

Variable

Variable label

1. Demographics

Q71

Female

Q74E

Minority

X01Q72

Age in 2004

2. Teaching & researcha

Q16

Principal teaching field

Q54

Principal research field

3. Personal achievement

X01Q12

Tenure status

Q10

Academic rank

Q52aa

Number of articles published in refereed journals during career

X03q66

Total income from institution

X08q66

Total income not from institution

4. Job satisfactionb

X01q61

Satisfaction, index (sum) of institutional items

X01q62

Satisfaction, index (sum) of employment items

Notes: 1. X38_0 “institution classification” was used to identify four-year institutions; 2. Q5 “Employed part time or full time?” was used to select full time faculty; 3. Q80 “Born/not born in the US” was used to distinguish foreign or native born faculty

aDetails of the classification of field of teaching and research are described in Table 10 in Appendix C

bSatisfaction index of institutional items includes satisfied with (1) Decision making, (2) Technology based activities, (3) Equipment/facilities, and (4) Support for teaching. Satisfaction index of employment items includes satisfied with (1) workload, (2) salary, (3) benefit, and (4) job overall. Table 5 contains a detailed analysis of these individual items

Gender, ethnicity of foreign born faculty

The question of foreign born faculty is naturally related to the issues of gender and ethnic diversity. As a significant proportion of foreign born faculty are male and many would be classified as members of specific ethnic minorities, the impact of foreign born faculty on gender and ethnic diversity is evident. Although the ranks of faculty have long been dominated by men, efforts have been made to correct the imbalance on American campuses (Lin et al. 2005; Nettles et al. 2000). In exploring gender differences, Nettles et al. (2000) found that female full-time faculty are more likely to be primarily responsible for teaching, to have lower salaries than male faculty, and are less likely to be tenured or to be full professors.

In an examination of the “quality of life” in the academic workplace for White and Black faculty in predominantly White schools of social work, Davis et al. (1983) found that Black faculty perceived barriers in the academic workplace that prevented them from receiving respect. In a study of Latino faculty members’ attitudes about workplace, Martinez et al. (1993) found that Latino faculty perceive few opportunities in the academic workplace for assuming leadership roles or positions with the potential for leadership. In contrast, White faculty perceive the academic workplace as open to anyone interested in pursuing leadership roles or positions.

The findings overwhelmingly suggest that female and minority faculty have a long way to go before reaching equity. The inflow of foreign born faculty has further complicated the landscape of gender and racial equity on campuses. The impacts of foreign born faculty on diversities of gender and ethnicity are worth exploring.

Achievement and job satisfaction

In addition to simple numbers of faculty and demographic breakdowns, it is important to examine the state of the individual’s relationship with their institution and chosen field. In order for foreign born faculty to have a lasting impact on education and on the economy, they must demonstrate both persistence and productivity.

In a study of foreign doctorate recipients in America looking into the rates of those who stay after graduation, Finn (2000) found that more than half (53%) of the foreign born doctorate recipients had stayed in the US by four years after graduation. The percentage of those staying varies by field, with 62% for physical science, 54% for life science, and 54% for engineering. Social Science has the lowest percentage with 32%. Johnson and Regets (1998) reported that a large proportion of foreign born PhD recipients staying more than four years went on to post doctorate programs (22%) or employment in research and development positions (11%), with only 3% finding teaching positions. These two studies agree that most foreign born PhD recipients who stayed in the US were employed in science and research.

Since few foreign born PhDs are employed in teaching positions (Finn 2000; Johnson and Regets 1998), the highly selective nature of those foreign born faculty in four year American colleges and universities implies higher quality and higher achievement. Faculty achievement can be measured in a number of ways, such as publication record, grants awarded, and teaching record (Green et al. 2002; Lee 2004, unpublished). This kind of data is, however, very difficult to gather (Skolnik 2000; Fairweather 2002). Since teaching, service and research are commonly used by institutions in making tenure, merit, and promotion decisions (Fairweather 2002; Middaugh 2001), this paper uses tenure, rank, number of published journal articles, and salaries as proxy measures of faculty achievements.

Tenure in academia means academic freedom guarded by job security. Once tenure is granted by the employing institution, a faculty member can only be fired for cause. In a study of foreign born scientists, Lee (2004, unpublished) observes that foreign born scientists receive closer scrutiny and are less likely to be tenured than are native born faculty. Johnson and Regets (1998) note that the ranks of scientists are more diverse in terms of both faculty and research associates/assistants than are faculties in four-year colleges and universities. The exploration of tenure status among foreign born faculty has obvious merit. Following similar logic, Lee (2004, unpublished) also concludes that a greater proportion of native born faculty hold full professorships than is true among foreign born faculty.

Rank is another milestone of academic achievement. Nettles et al. (2000) found that women are less likely to be full professors than are their male peers. Native born scientists are more likely to be full professors than are foreign born scientists (Lee 2004, unpublished). Foreign born Ph.D. recipients are more likely to be employed as corporate researchers and are less likely to take teaching positions (Johnson and Regets 1998). Foreign born faculty in four year institutions explored in this study may offer a different perspective on these findings.

Although a survey conducted in the late 1970s ranked publication record as fifth among five criteria upon which decisions on appointment, promotion and tenure were based (Miller 1978), more recent studies have found that scholarly productivity is the central criterion in such decisions (Fairweather 2002; Gibbs and Locke 1989; Green 1998). A variety of indicators of publishing productivity are used to assess faculty scholarship, including publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and chapters in books, and inclusion in conference proceedings (Barnett et al. 1998; Green et al. 1992; Green et al. 2002). However, articles published in peer-reviewed journals have emerged as the single most frequently used measure of faculty scholarship (Bloom and Klein 1995; Green 1998; Park 1996; Seipel 2003).

Closely tied to tenure and rank, salaries reflect many aspects of faculty achievement. In general, female and minority faculty make lower salaries than do male and White faculty. However, Asian faculty are the exception (Lee 2002). Asian faculty have higher average salaries than do Hispanic and Black faculty. In fact, Asian faculty even outstrip their White counterparts (Nettles et al. 2000). Since Asians create an anomaly among minorities, some explanations may be found in exploring the role of foreign born faculty on campus.

Job satisfaction is an emotional state that reflects an affective response to the job situation (Locke 1984). All factors mentioned above (e.g., field of teaching, tenure, rank, salaries) are more or less related to an individual faculty member’s job satisfaction. Hill (1987), for example, reveals that faculty who taught in social and behavioral science, education, mathematics and physical science are generally less satisfied with their work than are those in other disciplines (such as law, medicine, engineering, architecture). Reports have cited tenure status as correlating with the highest mean job satisfaction as measured by the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (Weaver 1989). Lin and Nur-Awaleh (2005) find that job autonomy is the most satisfied aspect of job satisfaction, while salary is the least satisfied item among faculty members. The job satisfaction of minority and immigrant faculty members especially deserves attention. The character of job satisfaction is necessary in order to facilitate matching the right person to the right job. Inherent in identifying the character of job satisfaction is maximizing job satisfaction and ultimately improving our understanding of organizational effectiveness. Immigrant and minority faculty members are becoming important assets in serving the needs of multicultural students and parents, as well as society as a whole. Identifying the specific character of job satisfaction for these groups is doubly important.

Research methods

Data sources

Data used in this research are from the NSOPF04, which was designed to provide nationally representative data on faculty and staff at two and four-year degree-granting institutions in the US. The survey included questions on the activities and instructional duties of postsecondary faculty and instructional staff during the 2003 Fall term. Faculty and instructional staff participating in the survey were asked a series of questions regarding their teaching, research, life and job situations, including salary, benefits, workload, job security, decision making, and job satisfaction (Cataldi et al. 2005a, b).

In order for this study to explore the status and role of foreign born faculty, native-born faculty serve as a benchmark. The variable “institution classification” is used to identify four-year institutions, while the variable “faculty status” is used to select faculty members. Since full time and part time faculty have different status on campuses (Rajagopal and Lin 1996), this study selects only full time faculty at four-year colleges as research subjects. “Employed part time or full time” was used to select full time faculty. The variable “born/not born in the US” was used to distinguish foreign or native born faculty. The size of the selected sample, after normalized weighting is applied, is n = 11,562 which represents 536,661 full time faculty at four year college in the US.

Four dimensions (e.g., demographics; chosen field in teaching and research; personal achievement; and job satisfaction.) are generally recognized as important indicators in characterizing the faculty profession. The similarities and differences of native and foreign born faculty explored in this study are based on these indicators. The detailed operational definitions of these dimensions of faculty profession are displayed in Table 1. It should be noted that some of the variables were recoded for the purposes of the data analyses (see Table 9 in Appendix B).

Research questions

In order to reexamine the roles of foreign born faculty in American four-year colleges after September 11, this research explores the following questions:
  1. 1.

    Do foreign born faculty occupy special niches in teaching and research?

     
  2. 2.

    What are the demographic characteristics of foreign born faculty?

     
  3. 3.

    Do foreign born faculty demonstrate outstanding personal achievements?

     
  4. 4.

    Are foreign born faculty satisfied with their jobs?

     

Statistical analysis

Quantitative methods are used to provide both descriptive and inferential statistics in relation to immigration status among full-time faculty members at four-year colleges and universities in the US.

The first part of the data analysis describes the four dimensions compared between native and foreign born faculty. To systematically classify group membership (native or foreign born faculty), discriminant function analysis is introduced. Discriminant function analysis uses a categorical variable as a dependent variable, and the main purpose of the analysis is to predict group membership from a set of predictors (McLachlan 2004). In this study, the dichotomous dependent variable is “faculty birth place” (native versus foreign) and the independent predictors are the four important dimensions of defining faculty as a profession listed in Table 1.

Results

Proportion of foreign born full-time faculty at four-year colleges

Based on the selected sample from the 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF04), this study found that 77.9% of full-time faculty at four-year colleges and universities are native born, while 22.1% of full-time faculty were born outside of the US. The proportion of foreign born to native faculty is even more striking when compared with the fact that the 33.5 million foreign born among the population of the US in 2003 constituted only 11.7% of the total US population (U.S. Census Bureau 2004).

Demographics

Table 2 demonstrates that foreign born faculty (71.3%) are more likely than native born faculty (59.7%) to be men. While faculty positions remain male-dominated (Altbach 1995), increased recruitment of foreign born male faculty simply exacerbates this situation. Among foreign born faculty, slightly over 46% are White, followed by Asian (39.2%), Hispanic (7.3%), and Black/African American (7.1%). Foreign born faculty constitute more than half (53.8%) of those in the minority category. Considering the low numbers of native Black and Hispanic faculty, it appears to be the case that American four-year institutions depend upon imported talents to diversify their campuses. When age is brought into the faculty snapshot, we observe that foreign born faculty are, on average, more than three years younger than native faculty. All differences presented in Table 2 are statistically significant.
Table 2

Demographics

Variable

Attribute

Native born

Foreign born

Total (n)

Gender

Male

62.9

71.3

7,484

Female

37.1

28.8

4,077

Total (n)

9,001

2,560

11,561

Race

American Indian or Alaska Native

1.4

.2

129

Asian and/or Pacific Islander

2.2

39.2

1,204

Black/African American non-Hispanic

5.0

7.1

630

Hispanic White or Hispanic Black

1.7

7.3

339

White, non-Hispanic

89.7

46.2

9,260

Total (n)

9,001

2,561

11,562

Age

Mean

50.2

47.0

49.5

Std. deviation

10.3

10.0

10.3

Total (n)

9,001

2,561

11,562

Notes: For gender, χ2(1, n = 11,562) = 61.1, p < 0.01; for race, χ2(4, n = 11,562) = 3,338.5, p < 0.01; for age, F(1, n = 11,562) = 199, p < 0.01

When controlling for Carnegie Institutional Classifications, we found that over 71% of the foreign born faculty work for doctorial institutions rather than four year non-doctorial institutions. In terms of gender and race, more than 74% of them are male, and more than 40% of them are Asian. These findings, consistent with the Science and Engineering Indicators (2006), suggest that foreign born faculty have played important roles in the most prestigious universities in the US. However, the issues of gender and racial diversities on these research universities deserve another separate research.

Teaching and research

Teaching and research are primary tasks of faculty (Spooner et al. 2002). Foreign born faculty members occupy special niches in American higher education. When comparing the teaching field of foreign and native born faculty members in Table 3, it can be observed that the foreign born faculty are somewhat more likely to specialize in Liberal Science (8.2% vs. 5.3%) and Applied Science (35.3% vs. 26.1%), while native born are more likely to specialize in the areas of Education (10.3% vs. 3.9%) and Applied Arts/Social Science (20.1% vs. 13.5%). A similar pattern is repeated in the principal field of research. Some 8.4% of the foreign born faculty members conduct research in Liberal Science, while only 5.5% of the native faculty members do research in these areas. A larger difference is observed in the areas of Applied Science where 35.4% foreign born versus 24.7% native born faculty conduct research. On the other hand, 40.7% of the native born faculty members conduct research in the areas of Liberal Arts/Social Science, while only 38.5% of the foreign born faculty do research in these same areas. Again, a similar pattern can be found in Education as is seen in Liberal Arts/Social Science. The differences in the field of principal teaching and research between foreign born and native are statistically significant according to Chi Square testing. These significant differences support the argument that foreign born faculty make a unique contribution in science teaching and research at American four-year colleges and universities.
Table 3

Principal field of teaching and research

Variable

Field

Native

Foreign born

Total n

Teaching

Liberal Arts/Soc. Science

38.1

39.1

4,369

Liberal Science

5.3

8.2

678

Education

10.3

3.9

1,009

Applied Arts/Soc. Science

20.1

13.5

2,127

Applied Science

26.1

35.3

3,208

Total (n)

8,876

2,515

11,391

Research

Liberal Arts/Soc. Science

40.7

38.5

3,564

Liberal Science

5.5

8.4

554

Education

9.2

4.0

701

Applied Arts/Soc. Science

19.9

13.7

1,629

Applied Science

24.7

35.4

2,421

Total (n)

6,708

2,161

8,869

Notes: For principal teaching field, χ2(4, n = 11,390) = 220, p < 0.01; for principal research field, χ2(4, n = 8,869) = 180, p < 0.01

Personal achievement

Do foreign born faculty do well at American four-year institutions? This section outlines the personal achievements of the faculty. Table 4 informs us that native born faculty are more likely to be tenured than foreign born faculty. Some 50.3% of native born faculty are tenured, in contrast to 43.6% of the foreign born faculty. However, it seems that more foreign born than native born faculty are in tenure-track positions but have not yet been granted tenure (27.2% vs. 21.1%). The result seems supporting Lee’s (2004, unpublished) observations that foreign scientists are less likely to be tenured. However, a strong presence of foreign born faculty on the tenure track will eventually make both groups even.
Table 4

Personal achievement

Variable

Attribute

Native

Foreign born

Total (n)

Tenure status

Tenured

50.3

43.6

5,647

On tenure track but not tenured

21.1

27.2

2,599

Not on tenured track, although the institution has a tenure system

24.2

25.0

2,817

No tenure system at this institution

4.3

4.2

499

Total (n)

9,001

2,561

11,562

Rank

Other

6.5

6.2

735

Lecturer

3.9

3.1

428

Instructor

6.1

5.4

683

Assistant Professor

25.8

32.2

3,125

Associate Professor

25.2

25.8

2,913

Professor

32.6

27.4

3,610

Total (n)

8,961

2,533

11,494

Number of published journal articles during career

Mean

17

28

20

Std. Deviation

31

40

34

Total (n)

9,001

2,561

11,562

Total income from institution

Mean

$76,201

$78,847

$76,787

Std. deviation

$42,256

$41,550

$42,113

Total (n)

9,001

2,561

11,562

Total income not from institution

Mean

$10,104

$7,109

$9,441

Std. deviation

$20,544

$16,760

$19,807

Total (n)

9,001

2,561

11,562

Notes: For tenure status, χ2(3, n = 11,562) = 51.3, p < 0.01; for rank, χ2(5, n = 11,494) = 52.3, p < 0.01; for number of published journal articles F(1, n = 11,562) = 190.5, p < 0.01; for total income from institution, F(1, n = 11,562) = 7.9, p < 0.01; for total income not from institution F(1, n = 11,562) = 45.8, p < 0.01

In terms of status in the profession, 85.4% of the foreign born faculty hold academic rank,2 while only 83.6% of the native faculty can be classified as such. Publication, especially refereed journal articles, is a central criterion in evaluating achievement in this profession. On average, foreign born faculty have 28 refereed journal articles published during their career while native born faculty have 17 articles published. Even after controlling for field of specialty, gender and rank, we still find that foreign born faculty members are more productive than native born faculty in terms of research. Linear regressions were conducted to examine the factors that predict faculty publications of refereed journal articles. To compare the magnitudes of the predictors between native and foreign born faculty members, birthplace was introduced as a control. Table 8 (in Appendix A) reveals that all independent variables are significant in both regressions, except Education and Applied Arts/Social Science. However, among all significant variables, the predictors for foreign born faculty members demonstrate stronger magnitudes in terms of predicting publication of journal articles.

Earnings, to a large degree, reflect the value of the related skills (Jasso et al. 2002). Interestingly, this study found that foreign born faculty salaries are, on average, slightly over $2,600 higher than those of native faculty in the same institution. Since market forces will normally function at the institutional level, the higher salaries for foreign born faculty when compared with colleagues in the same institution suggest they reflect a greater value placed on skills possessed. This may also reflect concentrations of foreign born faculty in higher-paid disciplines or in regions of high income concentration. Large urban areas generally experience a higher cost of living and therefore offer higher remuneration. That foreign born faculty would naturally be attracted to such areas and their inherent concentrations of foreign born and ethnic populations can be expected. When comparing incomes from outside institutions, however, foreign born faculty earn an average of nearly $3,000 less than their native counterparts. This reveals advantages based on locations and social networks where the native born faculty members are well established.

Job satisfaction

Job satisfaction3 has been one of the most frequently researched phenomena in industrial psychology and other areas (Locke 1984; Blackburn et al. 1995). One previous study (Lin and Nur-Awaleh 2005) reports that faculty are either generally satisfied or are very satisfied with their jobs. Specifically, decision making and overall job satisfaction are the most satisfied aspects of faculty jobs, while salary and support for teaching are the least satisfied aspects in this regard.

Table 5 displays the mean scores comparing native and foreign born faculty for job satisfaction related to decision making, technology based activities, equipment/facilities, support for teaching, workload, salary, benefit, and overall job satisfaction.
Table 5

Job satisfaction

Satisfied with

Native born

Foreign born

Total

Mean

n

Std.

Mean

n

Std.

Mean

n

Std.

Decision making

1.23

8,572

0.53

1.40

2,417

0.66

1.27

10,989

0.57

Technology based activities

1.75

8,572

0.79

1.79

2,417

0.77

1.76

10,989

0.79

Equipment/facilities

1.96

8,572

0.86

1.88

2,417

0.81

1.94

10,989

0.85

Support for teaching

2.11

8,572

0.91

2.15

2,417

0.90

2.12

10,989

0.91

Workload

2.02

9,001

0.90

2.03

2,561

0.86

2.02

11,562

0.89

Salary

2.32

9,001

0.94

2.42

2,561

0.94

2.35

11,562

0.94

Benefit

1.90

9,001

0.83

1.98

2,561

0.82

1.92

11,562

0.83

Job overall

1.72

9,001

0.76

1.87

2,561

0.76

1.75

11,562

0.76

Notes: For decision making, F(1, n = 10,989) = 160.1, p < 0.01; for technology based activities, F(1, n = 10,989) = 7.2, p < 0.01; for equipment/facilities, F(1, n = 10,989) = 16.0, p < 0.01; for support for teaching, F(1, n = 10,989) = 3.3, p > 0.05; for workload, F(1, n = 11,562) = 0.1, p > 0.05; for salary, F(1, n = 11,562) = 21.8, p < 0.01; for benefit, F(1, n = 11,562) = 21.7, p < 0.01; for job overall, F(1, n = 11,562) = 79.6, p < 0.01

Statistical analysis shows that most of the differences between the job satisfaction items for native and foreign born faculty are significant at p < 0.01 level except for workload and support for teaching. However, decision making shows the greatest difference (mean score difference = 0.17), followed by overall job satisfaction (mean score difference = 0.15), salary (mean score difference = 0.10), and benefit (mean score difference = 0.08). On the other hand, workload shows the least difference (mean score difference = 0.01, insignificant), followed by support for teaching (mean score difference = 0.04). Overall, foreign born faculty members are more satisfied with their jobs than those of native born faculty members.

Discriminant function analysis

To systematically explore what factors influence foreign born faculty membership, a discriminant function analysis was conducted using four sets of variables as predictors of membership in two groups: foreign or native born faculty (see Table 6). One discriminant function was calculated with combined eigenvalue = 0.316, Wilks’ Lambda = 0.76, canonical correlation = 0.49, χ 2 = 2,324, p < 0.001 (df = 13). In general, the discriminant function analysis is effective for the sets of predictors since 81.6% of original grouped cases were correctly classified (McLachlan 2004). The canonical correlations of predictor variables with discriminant function are displayed in the last column in Table 6.
Table 6

Results of discriminant function analysis of the faculty group membership (native born versus foreign born)

Predictor variables

Univariate analysis: tests of equality of group means

Canonical discriminant function coefficients

Correlations of predictor variables with discriminant function

Wilks’ Lambda

F(1, 8472)

Std.

Unstd.

Minority

0.797

2,152.7**

0.898

2.732

0.897

Principal research field

0.984

133.6**

−0.171

−0.366

0.223

Principal teaching field

0.986

122.7**

0.062

0.133

0.214

Age in 2004

0.986

118.8**

0.200

0.020

−0.211

Number of journal article during career

0.987

115.6**

−0.303

−0.008

0.208

Institution strata

0.987

110.1**

−0.153

−0.317

0.203

Female

0.995

43.5**

0.136

0.290

−0.127

Total income outside institution

0.996

31.7**

0.099

0.000

−0.109

Tenure status

0.997

28.2**

0.041

0.082

−0.103

Satisfaction index of employment items

0.997

23.1**

0.061

0.023

−0.093

Academic rank

0.999

11.4**

−0.016

−0.012

−0.065

Satisfaction index of instruction items

0.999

6.1*

0.008

0.003

−0.048

Total income from institution

0.999

5.0*

0.089

0.000

0.043

Constant

   

−3.318

 

Notes: (1) Minority, principal research, principal teaching, institutional strata, female, and tenure status are dummy variables. Details of the coding schemes are described in Table 9 in Appendix B. (2) For the entire discriminant function, eigenvalue = 0.316; Wilks’ Lambda = 0.76; canonical correlation = 0.49; df = 13; χ2 = 2,324; p < 0.001. (3) Classification result: 81.6% of original grouped cases correctly classified

p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

Univariate analyses (tests of equality of group means) in Table 6 are displayed according to the values of Wilks’ Lambda where the smaller the value for an independent variable, the more that variable contributes to the discriminant function (Garson 2006). In predicting whether the faculty membership is native or foreign, all independent variables are statistically significant. Based on quantity of contribution to the discriminant function, minority, principal field of research and teaching, age, number of published journal articles, institutional strata, female, total income outside the institution, tenure status, satisfaction index of employment items, academic rank are significant at the level of p < 0.01. Satisfaction index of instruction items and income from the institution are significant at the level of p < 0.05.

Among all variables, minority is the strongest predictor of the foreign or native born status. This finding suggests that American four-year colleges and universities are highly dependent upon foreign born faculty to bring racial and ethnic diversity to their campuses. Results related to female, although not as strong as minority, is also significant. As previously discussed, a high percentage of men among the foreign born faculty is likely to reinforce the male dominance of the profession.

The personal achievement variables, number of published journal articles, total income from outside institution, tenure status, are significant. While satisfaction index of instruction items and total income from the institution are relatively weak predictors of foreign or native born group membership.

On the dimension of job satisfaction, foreign born faculty expressed higher levels of dissatisfaction in terms of satisfaction index of employment items (salary, workload, and benefit) (p < 0.05). Satisfaction index of instruction items (decision making, technology based activities, equipment/facilities, and support for teaching) have relatively weak power in predicting the membership.

In brief, the most important four predictors of the membership of foreign or native born faculty are minority, principal research field, principal teaching field, age, number of published journal articles, and institutional strata. These are also core elements of the faculty profession.

Both variables related to the dimension of field of teaching and research are significant in the discriminant analysis. According to Science and Engineering Indicators (2006), 1990s have witnessed strong increases in the number of foreign born individuals holding US science and engineering jobs. “More than half of the engineers holding doctorates and 45% of doctorate holders in the physical science, computer science, and life science were foreign born” (Science and Engineering Indicators 2006, p. 0–14). However, dummy variables field of teaching and research used in previous discriminant analysis are not adequate to display the impact of field on the dependent variable. Therefore, it becomes necessary that discriminant analysis should be controlled by the variable field of specialty. Specifically, we choose field of research as a variable of control.

Unlike discriminant analysis displayed in Table 6, Table 7 demonstrates that not all independent variables are significant in predict dependent variable when controlled by field of research. Minority, for example, shows strength in field of Liberal Science and Applied Science in predict foreign born faculty membership though it is significant across all fields. Similar pattern can be observed in number of refereed journal article as well. In summary of canonical discriminant functions, we found that all discriminant functions are significant, nevertheless, Liberal Science (Wilk’s Lambda = 0.704) and Applied Science (Wilk’s Lambda = 0.678) have the smallest Wilk’s Lambdas, indicating that these fields (Liberal and Applied sciences) have stronger contributions to the discriminant functions than other fields.
Table 7

Results of discriminant function analysis of the faculty group membership (native born versus foreign born) controlled by field of research

Univariate analysis: tests of equality of group means

Wilks’ Lambda

Predictor variables

Liberal Arts/Soc.

Liberal Science

Education

Applied Art/Soc.

Applied Science

Minority

0.853**

0.756**

0.897**

0.778**

0.727**

Age in 2004

0.994**

0.995

0.977**

0.983**

0.978**

Number of journal article during career

0.996**

0.986*

1.000

0.999

0.984**

Institution strata

0.981**

0.991**

0.999

1.000

0.995**

Female

1.000

0.995

0.999

0.994**

0.984**

Total Income outside institution

0.996**

1.000

0.995

0.990**

0.995**

Tenure status

0.991**

0.977**

0.998

0.999

1.000

Satisfaction index of employment items

0.999

1.000

0.998

0.998

0.992**

Academic rank

0.992**

0.992*

0.996

0.999

1.000

Satisfaction index of instruction items

1.000

0.998

0.993*

0.997*

0.999

Total income from institution

1.000

1.000

0.994*

0.993**

0.999

Constant

Summary of canonical discriminant functions

 

Eigenvalue

Canonical correlation

Wilks’ Lambda

χ 2

 

Liberal Arts/Soc.

0.214

0.420

0.824**

661.958

 

Liberal Science

0.420

0.544

0.704**

178.099

 

Education

0.141

0.352

0.876**

88.581

 

Applied Arts/Soc.

0.339

0.503

0.747**

451.157

 

Applied Science

0.475

0.567

0.678**

894.841

 

Notes: * p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

Conclusion and discussion

The information-based economy globalizes the competition for talents and has changed the nature of international migration in recent decades. The rise of America has historically benefited from imported talents, and higher education has played a crucial role. This study argues that American higher education still needs imported talents, especially in the areas of pure and applied sciences. Since higher education is one of the core foundations of American economic strength, imported talents at four-year American colleges and universities has system-wide significance.

The empirical evidences explored in this study support this argument. First, the percentage of foreign born faculty (22.1%) is significantly higher than that of the foreign born population (11.7%) in the US. Second, foreign born faculty members occupy a special niche in pure and applied science research. The importance of their contribution becomes very significant especially after controlling for field of research. Higher personal achievement among foreign born faculty suggests a higher quality of immigrant intellect, and a relatively higher salary reveals the recognition of foreign born faculty value in American higher education system.

Several critical questions are raised by this research. There is a clear disconnect between the demand for professionals trained in pure and applied science and the native supply (Reys 2000; Altschuld 2003; National Board of Science 2006). This demand is clearly being met through the importation of talents. This suggests that efforts should be made to bolster science and math education in the US. In addition, imported talents appear to mask the true level of diversity within faculties. A large percentage of faculty classified as minorities are in fact foreign born, meaning the faculty of native born Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are not only underrepresented, but are more so than the data suggested.

Public opinion concerning immigration has experienced a remarkable shift in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks (Llorente 2003; Barkan 2003). Increased restrictions have been placed on faculty coming to work at American universities. America’s openness to immigrant labor has long been the underpinning of the country’s economic success. “Just as many U.S. corporations have gone global in recent years to great success, so too have American universities, drawing on the talents of the best and brightest from around the world” (Paden and Singer 2003, p. 8). Retaining and recruiting competent faculty, transforming American higher education in an information age (Bowen and Schuster (1986); Schuster and Finkelstein 2006) are, more or less, related to foreign born faculty. The shift away from openness seriously threatens access to immigrant talents, particularly in such high-demand fields of pure and applied sciences, where foreign born faculty occupy a clear niche. Any policy that threatens such access to talents in turn threatens the economic wellbeing of the nation. Immigration policies must recognize the vital roles that imported talents play in American higher education, economy, and sustainable growth.

Footnotes

  1. 1.

    The nature of illegal immigration has changed little since the term was first applied to this segment of international migration. The discussion included here of the changing nature of immigrants and immigration refers to legal immigration.

  2. 2.

    Academic rank includes Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and (full) Professor.

  3. 3.

    All job satisfaction questions are measured on a four-point Likert Scale: 1. very satisfied, 2. somewhat satisfied, 3. somewhat dissatisfied, and 4. very dissatisfied.

References

  1. Alba, R., & Nee, V. (2003). Remaking the American mainstream: Assimilation and contemporary immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Altbach, P. G. (1995). Problems and possibilities: The US academic profession. Studies in Higher Education, 20(1), 27–44.Google Scholar
  3. Altbach, P. G. (2004). Higher education crosses borders: Can the United States remain the top destination for foreign students? Change, 36(2), 18–24.Google Scholar
  4. Altschuld, R. A. (2003). US Science Education: The view from a practicing scientist. Review of Policy Research, 20(4), 635–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baldoz, R. (2004). Valorizing racial boundaries: Hegemony and conflict in the racialization of Filipino migrant labor in the United States. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 27(6), 969–986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barkan, E. (2003). Return of the nativists? California opinion and immigration in the 1980s and 1990s. Social Science History, 27(2), 229–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barnett, R., Carr, P., Boisnier, A., Ashe, A., Friedman, R., Moskowitz, M., et al. (1998). Relationships in gender and career motivation to medical faculty members’ production of academic publications. Academic Medicine, 73(2), 180–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bean, F., & Stevens, G. (2003). America’s newcomers and the dynamics of diversity. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  9. Benjamin, R. (2003). The environment of American higher education: A constellation of changes. The Annals of the American Academy of Politics and Social Science, 585, 8–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blackburn, R. T., & Lawrence, J. H. (1995). Faculty at work: Motivation, expectation, satisfaction. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bloom, M., & Klein, W. (1995). Publications and citations: The state of faculty at leading schools of social work. Journal of Social Work Education, 31, 377–387.Google Scholar
  12. Bowen, H. R., & Schuster, J. H. (1986). American Professors: A national resource imperiled. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Buchen, I. H. (2003). Education in America: The next 25 years. Futurist, 37(1), 44–50.Google Scholar
  14. Cataldi, E. F., Bradburn, E. M., Fahimi, M., & Zimbler L. (2005a). Background characteristics, work activities, and compensation of instructional faculty and staff: Fall 2003. Washington: NECS Report.Google Scholar
  15. Cataldi, E. F., Bradburn, E. M., Fahimi, M. & Zimbler L. (2005b). 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF:04) Report on faculty and institutional staff in Fall 2003. Washington: NECS ReportGoogle Scholar
  16. Chew, K., & Liu, J. (2004). Hidden in plain sight: Global labor force exchange in the Chinese American population, 1880–1940. Population and Development Review, 30(1), 57–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Davia, L., Freeman, P., Carter, L. H., & Cartwright, R. (1983). Black faculty in predominantly white schools of social work: a qualitative assessment, Journal of Education for Social Work, 19(1), 15–23. Google Scholar
  18. Dinnerstein, L., & Reimer, D. (1999). Ethnic Americans: A history of immigration (4th ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Fairweather, J. (2002). The mythologies of faculty productivity: Implications for institutional policy and decision making. Journal of Higher Education, 73(1), 26–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Falk, W., Schulman, M., & Tickamyer, A. (Eds.). (2003). Communities of work: Rural restructuring in local and global contexts. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Federation for American Immigration Reform—FAIR (2005). Retrieved July 4, 2005 from http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=iic_immigrationissuecentersb1c7/.
  22. Finn, M. G. (2000). Stay rate of foreign doctorate recipients from U.S. universities. Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.Google Scholar
  23. Garson G. D. (2006). Discriminant function analysis. At http://www2.chass.ncsu.edu/garson/pa765/discrim.htm.
  24. Gibbs, P., & Locke, B. (1989). Tenure and promotion in accredited graduate schools of social work. Journal of Social Work Education, 25(2), 126–133.Google Scholar
  25. Green, R. (1998). Faculty rank, effort, and success: A study of publications in professional journals. Journal of Social Work Education, 34(3), 415–426.Google Scholar
  26. Green, R., Bellin, M., & Baskind, F. (2002). Results of the doctoral faculty publication project: Journal article productivity and its correlates in the 1990s. Journal of Social Work Education, 38(1), 135–152.Google Scholar
  27. Green, R., Hutchinson, L., & Sar, B. (1992). The research productivity of social work doctoral graduates. Social Service Review, 66, 441–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hagan, J. M. (2004). Contextualizing immigrant labor market incorporation: Legal, demographic, and economic dimensions. Work and Occupations, 31(4), 407–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hendricks, L. (2001). The economic performance of immigrants: A theory of assertive matching. International Economic Review, 42(2), 417–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hill, B. (1987). A profile of job satisfaction among faculty members of selected Oklahoma public junior community colleges. Dissertation Abstract International, 48, 546-A.Google Scholar
  31. Hunter, N. (2001). Immigrants on campus. The American Prospect, 12(20), 30.Google Scholar
  32. Jasso, G., Rosenzweig, M. R., & Smith, J. P. (2002). The earnings of U.S. immigrants: World skill prices, skill transferability and selectivity. New York: Rand Corporation.Google Scholar
  33. Jillson, C. (2004). Pursuing the American dream: Opportunities and exclusion over four centuries. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  34. Johnson, J. M. & Regets M. C. (1998). International mobility of scientists and engineers to the United States—Brain drain or brain circulation? Issue brief, Division of Science Resources Studies, NSF 98-316, June 22.Google Scholar
  35. Lee, S. (2002). Do Asian American faculty face a glass ceiling in higher education? American Educational Research Journal, 39(3), 695–724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lin, Z., & Nur-Awaleh, M. (2005). An exploration of faculty job satisfaction in American 4-year Universities: Gender, Race and Immigrant status. Paper Presented to International Comparative Education Society (CIES), Stanford University, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  37. Lin, Z., Pearce, R., & Wang, W. (2006). Imported talents: The pivotal role of immigrant intellect in American higher education. In 4th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education, January 6–9, 2006, Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii.Google Scholar
  38. Llorente, E. (2003). Coping with the crackdown: Arab and Hispanic immigrants have borne the brunt of tighter immigration policies. Hispanic, 16(11), 12.Google Scholar
  39. Locke, E. (1984). Job satisfaction. In M. Gruneberg & T. Wall (Eds.), Social psychology and organizational behavior. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Martinez, R., Hernandez, A., & Aguirre, A. (1993). Latino faculty attitudes toward the workplace. Journal of the Association of Mexican American Educators, Special Theme Edition, 45–52.Google Scholar
  41. McLachlan, Geoffrey J. (2004). Discriminant analysis and statistical pattern recognition. NY: Wiley-Interscience. (Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics).Google Scholar
  42. Middaugh, M. (2001). Understanding faculty productivity: Standards and benchmarks for colleges and universities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  43. Miller, D. (1978). Criteria for appointment, promotion, and retention of faculty in graduate social work programs. Journal of Education for Social Work, 14(2), 74–81.Google Scholar
  44. National Science Board. (2006). Science and Engineering Indicators 2006 (Vols. 1 and 2). Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.Google Scholar
  45. Nettles, T. M., Perna, L. W., Bradburn E., & Zimbler L. (2000). Salary, promotion, and tenure status of minority and women faculty in U.S. colleges and universities. Washington: Statistical Report, National Center for Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  46. Paden, J., & Singer, P. (2003). America slams the door (on its foot): Washington’s destructive new visa policies. Foreign Affairs, 82(3), 8–14.Google Scholar
  47. Pang, B. C., & Appleton, N. (2004). Higher education as an immigration path for Chinese students and scholars. Qualitative Report, 9(3), 500–527.Google Scholar
  48. Park, S. (1996). Research, teaching, and service: Why shouldn’t women’s work count? Journal of Higher Education, 67(1), 46–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Passel, J., & Suro, R. (2005). Rise, peak, and decline: Trends in U.S. immigration 1992–2004. Washington: Pew Hispanic Center.Google Scholar
  50. Rajagopal, I., & Lin, Z. (1996). Hidden careerists in Canadian Universities. Higher Education, 24, 247–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Reys, R. E. (2000). Doctorates in mathematics education—An acute shortage. Notices of the AMS, 47(10), 1267–1270.Google Scholar
  52. Richmond, A. H. (1988). Immigration and ethnic conflict. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  53. Schuster, J. K., & Finkelstein, M. J. (2006). The American faculty: The restructuring of academic works and careers. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Seipel, M. (2003). Assessing publication for tenure. Journal of Social Work Education, 39(1), 79–88.Google Scholar
  55. Skolnik, M. (2000). Does counting publications provide any useful information about academic performance? Teacher Education Quarterly, 27(2), 15–25.Google Scholar
  56. Spooner, M., Spooner, F., Karvonen, M., & Algozzine, B. (2002). Contributing to the profession in meaningful ways. Action in Teacher Education, 24(3), 10–19.Google Scholar
  57. U.S. Census Bureau. (2004). The foreign born population in the United States: 2003. Washington DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Google Scholar
  58. van Tuberqen, F., Flap, H., & Maas, I. (2004). The economic incorporation of immigrants in 18 Western societies: Origin, destination, and community effects. American Sociological Review, 69(5), 704–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vecoli, R. (1996). The significance of immigration in the formation of an American identity. The History Teacher, 30(1), 9–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Weaver, P. (1989). Job satisfaction level of marketing faculty. Journal of Marketing Education, 11(2), 10–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zinn, H. (2003). A people’s history of the United States: 1492–Present (perennial classics). New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Administration and Foundations, College of EducationIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA
  2. 2.Illinois Board of Higher EducationSpringfieldUSA
  3. 3.Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of EducationIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA

Personalised recommendations