Sociology of Higher Education


What we call "higher education" in the United States is a complex web of institutions - nearly 3,000 4-year colleges, 1,500 2-year colleges, and still more postsecondary institutions that grant a variety of credentials. It is a system through which tens of millions of students pass each year; over the last few decades, the importance of earning a postsecondary credential has increased markedly. As such, higher education is deserving of rigorous scrutiny and careful interrogation. But in studying "higher education," we are in fact attending to a multitude of things - among other things, varied institutional types with different resources and different imperatives, experiences of accessing and navigating higher education that are widely divergent along axes of inequality, and institutional processes that play out on campus but have resonance beyond the university gates. In this course, which will be conducted as a discussion-based seminar, we will engage with texts examining the enterprise of higher education from varied vantage points, but always through a sociological lens. We'll discuss why and how higher education came to be so important and loom so large in contemporary life, the stark differences between different sectors of the higher education landscape, and how stratification occurs between and within institutions. We'll talk at length about how higher education is a microcosm of many of the inequalities we see in the broader society, looking at issues of race, class, gender, and politics on campus. By taking a sociological lens to studying higher education, we'll learn a language and facility for rooting discussion of issues in higher education in theoretical grounding and empirical evidence. In so doing, students will develop the capacity to more critically assess research and public discourses on higher education, as well as their own work and experiences in the sector. Prerequisite: Completion of any 1000, 2000, or 3000-level Education course, graduate s
Course Attributes: AS SSC; AS SC; EN S

Section 01

Sociology of Higher Education
INSTRUCTOR: Nadirah Farah Foley
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