Note on the Faculty Homebody Index

Note on the Faculty Homebody Index

Is one, for example, a member of the Swarthmore faculty and incidentally
a historian, or is he a historian who happens to be at Swarthmore College?

— Commission on Educational Policy, Critique of a College (1967)

First, apologies to the mid-20th-century sociologists Erving Goffman  for applying here his concept of “total institutions” and Alvin W. Gouldner for appropriating but relabeling for present purposes his binary construction of the social roles “cosmopolitans and  “‘locals”. I have done so in an effort to provide both a theoretical basis and a composite means of measuring what I take to be an important  aspect of the history of the Barnard College faculty that no single metric makes manifest. By invoking the folksy term “homebody,” I have in mind one end of a continuum where Barnard faculty with career characteristics exist that suggest their primary professional identification is with the College, much like the ideal type Gouldner dubbed  “locals”. Elsewhere he invoked  the more vernacular term “company man” to identify the same type. I call them here  “homebodies.”

At the other end of the continuum, where Gouldner locates his “cosmopolitans,”  those whose primary identification is not institution-bounded but focused  on their career and/or specialization. Among them  institutional ties are fewer, weaker and often short-lived. Herein, although I try to avoid using either because of their negative connotation, “passes-through,” or  “itinerants”.

The homebody index (HBI) used here consists of weighted values assigned to five characteristics faculty bring to their jobs at Barnard.

1. Gender. Given the principal mission of Barnard is the education of women, women faculty are thought to identify more personally with that mission, men less so.
Female faculty à 2 points
Male faculty à 0 points

  1. Propinquity. Faculty from Barnard’s locale are thought to be more readily identified with the institution than those who come from “somewhere else.” In the absence of readily accessible birthplace/hometown information, I have used the location of the college faculty attended to geographically place them.
    New York City à 3 points
    Northeast à 2 points
    Other US à 1 point
    Foreign à 0 points

    3. College type. Faculty who attended Barnard or a college that shared some aspect of that experience as opposed to faculty whose undergraduate experience was substantially different from that of Barnard.
    Barnard graduate à 4 points
    Columbia College graduate à 3 points
    Sister College graduate à 3 points
    Ivy college graduate – 2 points
    Other private US college à 1 point
    Foreign AB à 0 points

  2. Graduate School type. Faculty who attended Columbia University for their graduate studies and began their teaching at Barnard either during that time or upon completion are seen to be more institutionally familiar with Barnard than those with graduate training elsewhere.
    Columbia graduate degree à 4 points
    Ivy graduate degree à 3 points
    Sister graduate degree à 3 points
    US Private graduate degree à 2 points
    US public graduate degree à 1 point
  3. Longevity. Faculty who stay on at Barnard for the their careers are thought to become in the process more institutionally identified than those whose tenure at Barnard is brief and whose academic career is multi-institutional.
    30+ years at Barnard à 3 points
    20+ years at Barnard à 2 points
    10+ years at Barnard à 1 point
    < 10 years at Barnard à 0 points

    The maximum weighted Homebody Index (HBI)score is 15, wherein a Barnard AB and Columbia PhD remains a member of the Barnard faculty for 30 plus years; the minimum weighted score is 0, wherein a male with all his training was outside the United States and whose tenure at Barnard id less than 10 years. The mean HBI for all 834 faculty  recorded as fulltime members of the Barnard faculty since 1889  is 6.2

15 13
14 11
13 17
12 37
11 28
10 52
9 64
8 65
7 74
6.2   Mean
5 84
4 87
3 73
2 86
1 24
0 32




Over time the HBI has steadily dropped, which I take to suggest that Barnard has adapted to faculty whose institutional identification with Barnard has diminished, resulting in  fewer homebodies and more itinerants.

Era # Faculty Index Cum Average
1889-1914 61 506 8.3
1915-1939 65 507 7.8
1940-1964 104 797 7.7
1965-1989 244 1500 6.4
1990-2018 360 1843 5.1
834 5153 6.17866


Erving Goffman, “The Characteristics of Total Institutions,” Symposium on Preventive and Social Psychiatry, 15-17, April 1957, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C.;
Alvin W. Gouldner, “Cosmopolitans and Locals: Toward an Analysis of Llatent Social Roles,” Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 3 (December 1957), 281-306. I used a similar composite index in Robert A. McCaughey, “The Transformation of American Academic Life: Harvard University, 1821-1892,” Perspectives in American History, Vol. 8 (1974), 239-332.