Media Releases

New book: Degrees of Inequality: Culture, Class, and Gender in American Higher Education

January 24, 2011

TORONTO, ON – Dr. Ann Mullen, Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Soci­ol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Scar­bor­ough, has pub­lished a new book con­cerned with the grow­ing social inequal­i­ty in Amer­i­can high­er edu­ca­tion. The book, pub­lished by Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty Press, is titled Degrees of Inequal­i­ty: Cul­ture, Class, And Gen­der in Amer­i­can High­er Edu­ca­tion.

Degrees of Inequal­i­ty reveals the pow­er­ful pat­terns of social inequal­i­ty in Amer­i­can high­er edu­ca­tion by ana­lyz­ing how the social back­ground of stu­dents shapes near­ly every facet of the col­lege expe­ri­ence. Even as the most pres­ti­gious insti­tu­tions claim to open their doors to stu­dents from diverse back­grounds, class dis­par­i­ties remain. Just two miles apart stand two insti­tu­tions that rep­re­sent the stark class con­trast in Amer­i­can high­er edu­ca­tion. Yale, an elite Ivy League uni­ver­si­ty, boasts accom­plished alum­ni, includ­ing nation­al and world lead­ers in busi­ness and pol­i­tics. South­ern Con­necti­cut State Uni­ver­si­ty grad­u­ates most­ly com­muter stu­dents seek­ing cre­den­tial degrees in fields with good job prospects.

Ann L. Mullen inter­viewed 100 stu­dents from both uni­ver­si­ties and found that their col­lege choic­es and expe­ri­ences were strong­ly linked to social back­ground and gen­der. Yale stu­dents, most hav­ing gen­er­a­tions of fam­i­ly mem­bers with col­lege degrees, are encour­aged to approach their col­lege years as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for intel­lec­tu­al and per­son­al enrich­ment. South­ern stu­dents, how­ev­er, per­ceive a col­lege degree as a path to a bet­ter career, and many work full- or part-time jobs to help fund their edu­ca­tion.


WHAT: Recep­tion cel­e­brat­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of Degrees of Inequal­i­ty. Pro­fes­sor Jane Gaskell, for­mer dean of OISE, will give a short address fol­lowed by com­ments from the author, Pro­fes­sor Ann Mullen. Book sign­ing and light refresh­ments pro­vid­ed.

WHEN: Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 26, 2011, 4 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Jean­nette Wright Lounge, Room 238, Depart­ment of Soci­ol­o­gy, 725 Spad­i­na Avenue, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to.

Media are request­ed to RSVP as space is lim­it­ed.

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For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Pro­fes­sor Ann Mullen
Depart­ment of Soci­ol­o­gy, UTSC

Michael Kennedy
Media rela­tions assis­tant