wondering if those who have experience working at satellite campuses can comment on what it's like. E.g. do faculty typically collaborate between campuses, did you often go to the main campus for brown bags etc, were there shared resources for research, admin, subject pool etc, did the main campus have a lot of say on how things were run at the satellite? Or are satellite campuses entities onto themselves? Thanks.
Date: 24 Jul 2012 11:18
Number of posts: 16
RSS: New posts
In my experience they're separate entities. But there could be exceptions to the rule, I suppose.
I went to grad school at the main campus of a large state school with many branch campuses, and only once in 6 years did a faculty member from a satellite campus come to a colloquium. I will also say that many, if not most, of the faculty at the main campus had a negative view of faculty at the branch campuses. If considering a position at a branch campus, I think that it's important to consider this if you are hoping to use the main campus resources, faculty, etc….
However, this may not be the case in all systems. For example, in the Texas system the branch campuses (e.g. UTEP) are becoming fairly independent and developing significant resources that are in no way tied to the main campus.
I am like anon and went to a grad school with some satellite campuses and yeah, we never interacted with them, even though one of them was only 20-30 minutes away. Faculty were more likely to interact with a farther away school (but still sort of close by) that was another R1 than with the satellites of our own school much nearer.
I do think it depends on geography, similarity of the campuses, etc. In the UC system there are several prestigious R1 schools and some are near to each other, so I think those collaborations do happen, but maybe just as much as they would between, say, Harvard and MIT, two unrelated private schools near to each other with big research missions.
A lot of the time satellites have different missions than the main campus, with the main campus being more research-oriented but the satellite having more of a teaching mission.
May I offer a small point of clarification? Universities that are part of a state's higher Ed system are usually established as independent universities, which may pursue separate missions with regards to teaching and research balance and areas of expertise or emphasis. The states like California and Texas are good examples of this. Wisconsin calls all schools UW, including liberal arts colleges. Satellites, however, share the same name as a specific university but offer courses as a branch entity in a different location from the main campus of a university. Examples of this may be Ohio State University-Newark Campus, or Michigan State University-Grand Rapids Campus. The satellites often give priority to teaching, but may also encourage or promote research. Usually, if they promote research it is for training of undergrads, but they may also foster occasional collaborations with faculty at the big campuses.
As the number of PhDs continues to grow and outnumber the dwindling number of academic jobs, some universities are increasingly placing their students at satellite campuses. So there they teach, but continuing to work on a former advisers line of research seems like a natural extension, and one that faculty in the department at the main campus are sure to like!
"California and Texas are good examples of this…"
Thank you. The feck if UCLA or UCSB is considered a branch campus of Cal (UC Berkeley). Know if it's truly a branch/satellite or a separate entity. Otherwise, you run the risk of realllly pessing people off…
oops, yeah, my bad, obviously in the UC system the schools are separate entities. For my grad institution that I mentioned above the other schools were satellites, not totally separate schools. And we still didn't interact with them.
I work at a branch campus. It's true that the main campus is much more prestigious but the people I have contacted there have always been helpful to me and I have presented at their brown bags. I also helped out a grad student there by consulting on her dissertation informally. I have collaborated with faculty at other branch campuses too. There is a big divide and I do teach 2 more courses a year than the main campus folks but it hasn't been like completely different universities.
I interviewed at two actual branch campuses of large state universities in the midwest a few years ago… I agree with the above statement that the main campus faculty pretty much despised the branch campus faculty. At one, I had to interview on both campuses. Every faculty member I interviewed with at the main campus told me repeatedly that I basically wasn't good enough for the main campus and stressed that branch campus faculty aren't main campus faculty. It was more than insulting; if I thought I was "too good" for the branch campus, or good enough for the main campus, I wouldn't have applied to the branch campus opening, would I have?
I am very sorry for your experience. That must have been very off putting.
I think sometimes faculty at R1 schools live their lives in a bubble where only pubs, connections, and grant success matter in life. Given how rarely people's work are cited, how much time it takes to get a paper through the review process, and how soon a pub is forgotten, that kind of scoreboard is often life consuming. If you worked 70-90+ hours a week, had little or no life outside your tiny, largely insignificant and soon to be forgotten niche of research, perhaps you might want to use downward social comparison processes too; to thumb your nose at others in a desperate effort to grasp at the fleeting notion that you are better than others in some way.
Vanity! Vanity! All is vanity.