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Professor of Sociology Ann Mullen launches book

Degrees of Inequality: Culture, Class, And Gender in American Higher Education

Dr. Ann Mullen, Associate professor of Sociology, 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.

There will be a reception celebrating the publication of Degrees of Inequality on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 from 4:00 - 5:30 pm at the Jeannette Wright Lounge, Room 238, Department of Sociology, 725 Spadina Avenue, University of Toronto. Professor Jane Gaskell, former dean of OISE, will give a short address followed by comments from Ann Mullen. There will be a book signing and light refreshments will be provided.

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