I recently discovered the Software Engineering Academic Genealogy. For those outside the ivory tower, this genealogy mirrors standard human breeding records. In the not-so-distant future I will be an indentation under Christine Julien, below Gruia-Catalin Roman. Standard genealogical terms apply in the academic version as well; for example, Christine is my academic parent.

Just as in humans, breed history can be an important determination of future success. A descendant of a well-known researcher will have high expectations to perform like their academic ancestor, but this is also a great way to position oneself for the job one desires. For example, if you want to be a professor, ensure that your advisor has graduated other students who became faculty. Unfortunately, this way of thinking favors older professors and can make it hard for new faculty to establish themselves despite their fresh ideas and tenacity. As with humans, genealogy comes with no guarantees! Individuals create their own track records. An advisor’s personality and research should play into the perspective student’s decision. Find an interesting topic and do it well!

While we’re on the subject, another fun genealogical term borrowed by scholars is “academic imbreeding” or “academic incest” which refers to the taboo practice of hiring people from the host university.

And that concludes today’s lecture. Visit me in my office hours if you have any questions. Have a nice weekend!