In modern societies, formal education plays primary roles in a host of basic social processes, from socialization and stratification to national development and globalization. Questions arise at every level of analysis, and they inspire vigorous policy debates.
The Sociology of Education cluster at UCI draws on uniquely broad and deep faculty expertise to provide students with exceptional opportunities and training to address these questions. Our faculty are on the cutting edge of both quantitative and qualitative methods, and cluster members' research features prominently in public debates as well as informing policy and legislation. Students interested in the sociology of education benefit from UCI's interdisciplinary landscape, and work with faculty examining educational processes at the interactional, organizational, and global levels. Nine sociologists at UCI have been honored as National Academy of Education/Spencer post-doctoral fellows, and our faculty includes a member of the National Academy of Education. In addition to the world class faculty currently at UCI, this is an area of substantial growth on campus, and we expect to add three new faculty members in this area in the fall of 2017, further cementing UCI's strength in the sociology of education.
Interests of individual faculty and examples of their current research are listed below:
Richard Arum: My current research focuses on studying innovative programs that have attempted to integrate digital learning with progressive pedagogical approaches. I also continue to work on higher education outcomes and assessment.
- Arum, Richard and Josipa Roksa. 2014. Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Arum, Richard, Josipa Roksa and Amanda Cook, eds. 2016. Improving Quality in American Higher Education: Learning Outcomes and Assessments for the 21st Century. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Susan Brown:My research examines unexpected ways that policy affects access to higher education. Current work with Frank D. Bean looks at how the ability of unauthorized immigrants to legalize can enhance children's educational attainment.
- Bean, Frank D., Mark A. Leach, Susan K. Brown, James D. Bachmeier, and John R. Hipp. 2011. “The Educational Legacy of Unauthorized Migration: Comparisons Across U.S. Immigrant Groups in How Parents’ Status Affects Their Offspring.” International Migration Review 45(2): 352-389.
- Brown, Susan K., and Charles Hirschman. 2006. "The End of Affirmative Action in Washington State and Its Effect on the Transition from High School to College." Sociology of Education 79: 106-30.
Gil Conchas: My current work analyzes the factors that shape the post-secondary enrollment, completion, and labor market mobility of low-income Black and Latino young adults.
- Conchas, G. Q. and Gottfried, M. (2015). Inequality, Power and School Success: Case Studies on Racial Disparity and Opportunity in Education. London: Routledge.
- Conchas, G.Q. and Vigil, J.D. 2012. Streetsmart/Schoolsmart: Urban Poverty and the Education of Adolescent Boys. New York: Teachers College Press.
George Farkas: My research focuses on educational inequality and how it can be reduced.
- Miller, E., Farkas, G., Vandell, D., & Duncan, G. (2014).“Do the Effects of Head Start Vary by Parental Pre-academic Stimulation?” Child Development 85(4), 1385-1400.
- Silver, Eric, Stacy Silver, Sonja Siennick, and George Farkas. (2011). “Bodily Signs of Academic Success: An Empirical Examination of Tattoos and Grooming.” Social Problems 58 (4): 538 – 564.
- Hall, Matthew, Emily Greenman, and George Farkas. (2010). Legal Status and Wage Disparities for Mexican Immigrants.” Social Forces 89 (2): 491 – 513
Cynthia Feliciano: My research examines how differences in educational expectations and attainment by race/ethnicity, gender, class, and immigrant status are shaped by family, school, and community factors, as well as the relationship between educational inequality and racial/ethnic identification and classification.
- Feliciano, Cynthia and Yader R. Lanuza. 2016. “The Immigrant Advantage in Adolescent Educational Expectations.” International Migration Review.
- Feliciano, Cynthia. 2009. "Education and Ethnic Identity Formation among Children of Latin American and Caribbean Immigrants." Sociological Perspectives 52: 135-58.
Glenda Flores: My research examines the intersection of race, gender, class and other social locations in educational institutions through ethnographic methods. In particular, I examine interracial relations between teachers, parents and students as well as dominant and non-dominant forms of cultural capital in schools.
- Flores, Glenda M. 2017. Latina Teachers: Creating Careers and Guardians of Culture. New York: NYU Press.
- Flores, Glenda M. 2011. "Racialized Tokens: Latina Teachers Negotiating, Surviving and Thriving in a White Woman's Profession." Qualitative Sociology, 34: 313-335.
David John Frank: A current project (with John W. Meyer) envisions the university as the bedrock institution of the contemporary global knowledge society. Another (with Matthew Pearce and Evan Schofer) looks at the worldwide expansion of the university curriculum.
- Robinson, Karen Jeong, and David John Frank. 2014. “Higher Education: Institutional Effects.” Pp. 2868-70 in Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research, edited by A. C. Michalos. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
- Frank, David John, Karen Jeong Robinson, and Jared Olesen. 2011. “The Global Expansion of Environmental Education in Universities.” Comparative Education Review 55 (November): 546-73.
Jennifer Lee: My research has addressed the question: why do second-generation Asians exhibit high academic achievement, even when controlling for socioeconomic factors like parental education, occupation, income, and residential segregation? I bring culture back into the debate about second-generation outcomes and address the "Tiger Mother" controversy head on by bridging research in education with that in immigration, race/ethnicity, and social psychology in a novel way.
- Lee, Jennifer, and Min Zhou. 2015 The Asian American Achievement Paradox. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
- Lee, Jennifer, and Min Zhou. 2016. "Unraveling the link between culture and achievement." Ethnic and Racial Studies 39 (13): 2404-2411.
Andrew Penner (Cluster Coordinator) : My research seeks to understand issues around inequality in education. In particular, I am interested in how educational systems sort students in ways that create categorical inequalities, the role of educational policies and practices in creating and redressing inequality, and how gender differences in education vary across national contexts.
- Domina, Thurston, Andrew M. Penner and Emily K. Penner. 2016. "'Membership has its privileges': Status incentives and categorical inequality in schools." Sociological Science 3: 264-295
- Penner, Andrew M. 2008. "Gender Differences in Extreme Mathematical Achievement: An International Perspective on Biological and Social Factors." American Journal of Sociology 114: S138-S170.
Emily Penner: My work examines the ways in which schools, teachers, families, and policies produce and ameliorate educational inequality. In particular, I'm interested in the ways that contexts and policies shape school experiences and outcomes for low-income children and youth in urban schools.
- Dee, Thomas S. and Emily K. Penner. Forthcoming. "The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance: Evidence from an Ethnic Studies Curriculum." American Educational Research Journal. NBER Working Paper No. 21865.
- Penner, Emily K. 2016. "Teaching For All? Teach For America's Effects across the Distribution of Student Achievement." Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 9(13): 259-282. DOI: 10.1080/19345747.2016.1164779. NIHMSID: 809947.
Maria Rendon: My current research focuses on urban environments and their impact on the social mobility process of children of Latino immigrants. As part of this research, I examine neighborhood and school processes and the cultural outlooks of inner city youth and young adults. In particular, I focus on Latino young men.
- Rendón, Maria G. February 2014. ""Caught Up:" How Urban Violence and Peer Ties Contribute to High School Non-Completion." Social Problems. 61 (1)
- Rendón, Maria G. 2013. "Drop Out and Disconnected Young Adults: Examining the Impact of Neighborhood and School Contexts." The Urban Review.
- Briggs, Xavier de Souza, Kadija Ferryman, Susan Popkin, Maria Rendón. Spring 2008. "Why Didn't the Moving to Opportunity Experiment Get Children to Better Schools?" Housing Policy Debate.19 (1)
Rubén G. Rumbaut: My research focuses on intergenerational educational mobility and inequality among immigrant-origin groups.
- Rumbaut, Rubén G. 2008. "The Coming of the Second Generation: Immigration and Ethnic Mobility in Southern California." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 620: 196-236.
- Rumbaut, Rubén G. 2005. "Children of Immigrants and Their Achievement: The Role of Family, Acculturation, Class, Gender, Ethnicity, and School Contexts." Pp. 23-59 in R.D.Taylor, ed., Addressing the Achievement Gap. Greenwich, CT: IAP. A volume in the series on Research in Educational Productivity
Evan Schofer: I am interested in the global expansion of education systems, the varying structure and organization of education around the world, and the impact of those variations on the economy and inequality.
- Meyer, John W., Francisco O. Ramirez, David John Frank, and Evan Schofer. 2007. "Higher Education as an Institution." Pp. 187-221 in Sociology of Higher Education: Contributions and Their Contexts, edited by P. J. Gumport. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Schofer, Evan, and John W. Meyer. 2005. "The World-Wide Expansion of Higher Education in the Twentieth Century." American Sociological Review 70: 898-920.
Kristin Turney: My research examines how inequalities in family life contribute to inequalities in children's wellbeing. In one vein of this research, I consider the collateral consequences of incarceration for children's educational outcomes.
- Turney, Kristin. Forthcoming. "The Unequal Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children." Demography.
- Turney, Kristin, and Anna Haskins. 2014. "Falling Behind? Children's Early Grade Retention after Paternal Incarceration." Sociology of Education 87:241–258.
CLUSTER FIELD EXAM & GRADUATE COURSES
To qualify for a graduate field exam and/or expertise in the sociology of education, students must take both of the core courses and one of the elective courses listed below.
SOC 237- Educational Inequality
EDUC 251- Educational Politics and Policy
- Higher Education and Society (Frank)
- Immigration and the Second Generation (Conchas/Feliciano)
- Intersectionalities in Education (Flores)
- Organizational Studies and School Change (Arum)
- Policies to Reduce Educational Inequality (Farkas)
- Race and Education (Feliciano)
- Social and Cultural Foundations of Education (E.Penner)
- Social Capital and Student Achievement (Farkas)
- Social Organization of Schools and Classrooms (Conchas)
- Studies of Diversity and Inequality in Education (Conchas)
- Women in Science (A.Penner)
- World Culture and World Society (Frank and Schofer)
Students interested in taking the field exam in the sociology of education should consult with the cluster coordinator. Parts of the reading list (up to a quarter of the readings) can be tailored to accommodate particular student interests.