Curricular Innovation 

“Inequalities in Higher Education Guest-Expert Mentors Initiative”

Social Sciences Division 2020 Curricular Innovation Grant for $2,200 


With the award of a 2020 Curricular Innovation Grant from the University of Chicago Social Sciences Division, students in my remote Autumn 2020 "Sociology of Higher Education" course worked in “pods” to conduct original capstone research projects, featured on our course website,


Combining these theme-based research pods with mentorship from four guest expert-mentors who visited the classroom and worked with students, they gained perspectives on both established and emerging areas of higher education research, as well as the shifting higher education landscape today.


As student researchers, students developed tools for understanding and addressing higher education issues, and – working together with a community of peers – they developed agency to articulate, critically examine, and formulate solutions to higher education issues they care about at UC and beyond.

Featured Sociology of Higher Education Guest-Expert Mentors

(Hover on Photos for More Info; Click on Name to Visit Mentor's Website)

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Distinguished Professor of Education, UC, Irvine

Dr. Farkas was honored this year by the American Sociological Association for his lifetime achievement in the field of sociology of education.

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Associate Professor of Sociology, University of North Florida

Dr. Stuber's book, Inside the College Gates, explores the biggest divide in higher education today, the social class divide. 

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Assistant Professor of Curriculum Studies, Dept. of Education, Purdue University

Dr. Masta's teaches and conducts research on critical qualitative and Indigenous methodologies, school experiences of racialized youth, and the influence of colonialism in educational spaces. 

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Associate Professor of Sociology and Organizational Studies, University of Michigan

Dr. Armstrong's 2013 book with  Laura Hamilton, Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality, received multiple awards for its impact on the sociology of education, most notably the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Scholarly Book Award in 2015.

Watch Our Final Symposium

of Original Student Research on Higher Education!

“Undergraduate Research Assistant Opportunity for Study on Hookup Culture During the Pandemic”

Social Sciences Division 2020 Curriculum Innovation Grant for $5,860

To create opportunities for undergraduates to become involved in original research opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am partnering with an undergraduate research assistant in a research project on hookup culture and gender inequality that explores the following themes:


  1. How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted college hookup culture

  2. The interaction between digital culture and hooking up

  3. Variation in how the sexual double standard operates in the hookup cultures of different campuses across the United States


Combining online survey data of students’ self-reported hookup behavior and attitudes with a content analysis of memes generated by students about hooking up and with qualitative interviews with students, my undergraduate research assistant and I show how students use symbolic markers of trust and safety to “vet” potential hookups during the pandemic, how digital culture and hookup culture mutually constitute one another; and how the sexual double standard does not operate in the same way across colleges and universities.


We plan to submit three journal articles for peer review in 2020 about this research.

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