Academic Gravity

In his theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein proposed that the mass of an object warps space-time producing what we know to be the force of gravity.  The greater the mass of the object, the more space-time is distorted.  The greater the space-time distortion the higher the magnitude and extent the gravitational force the object exerts.

In our paper, we propose the notion of academic or institutional gravity,

“… gravity or gravitational pull takes on a new meaning. A student or new faculty member selects an institution because they seek to become (a graduate, a professor, or a technical professional) and they believe that the institution can provide the resources and training to be successful.  We propose that gravity in this context is the expectation to succeed.  Specifically, it is the attractive force that results from the expectation that there will be success, recognition, advancement, or attainment of the desired outcome (e.g., graduation, funding, promotion.)  The reputation of a department…”

To read more about academic and institutional gravity see Dark Matters:Metaphorical Blackholes that Affect Ethnic Underrepresentation in Engineering.

Photo credit: NASA

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