Academic Inbreeding: Local Challenge, Global Problem

Philip G. Altbach, Maria Yudkevich, Laura E. Rumbley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Why examine “academic inbreeding,” a seemingly small and peripheral aspect of the academic profession, involving the appointment of faculty members who graduated from the institution employing them? Academic Inbreeding and Mobility in Higher Education: Global Perspectives had its origins in a concern at the National Research University — Higher School of Economics in Moscow that the common practice in Russia of hiring one’s own graduates for faculty jobs has profound implications for academic culture, productivity, and the essential nature of the university. This interest led to a research project collaboratively organized by the Higher School of Economics and the Boston College Center for International Higher Education and centered on an examination of academic inbreeding in eight different countries: Argentina, China, Japan, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, and Ukraine. We quickly discovered that faculty inbreeding is common worldwide — and not just a concern in Russia. Indeed, hiring one’s own graduates is not considered either unusual or problematic in many countries. The pattern has been in place for many years — often for centuries — and is quite often considered a point of pride for a higher education system, as clear evidence that the system is able to retain its best intellectual talent.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Studies in Global Higher Education
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Global Higher Education
ISSN (Print)2662-4214
ISSN (Electronic)2662-4222

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Philip G. Altbach, Maria Yudkevich, and Laura E. Rumbley.


  • Global Problem
  • High Education Sector
  • High Education System
  • Likert Scale Response
  • Project Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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