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Richard Arum

Richard Arum is Professor of Sociology and Education, New York University; and Director of Education Research Programs at the Social Science Research Council. He is author of numerous books and peer reviewed articles in leading social science journals including American Sociological Review, Criminology, Annual Review of Sociology, Sociology of Education and Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. Arum also successfully led recent efforts to organize educational stakeholders in New York City to create the Research Alliance for New York City Schools (an entity loosely modeled after the Consortium on Chicago School Research, focused on ongoing evaluation and assessment research to support public school improvement efforts). He received a B.A. from Tufts University, a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to teaching in higher education for the past two decades, Arum previously taught for five years in the Oakland, California public schools.

The Best 8 Books on Richard Arum

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Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses

In spite of soaring tuition costs, more and more students go to college every year. A bachelor's degree is now required for entry into a growing number of professions. And some parents begin planning for the expense of sending their kids to college when they're born.

Almost everyone strives to go, but almost no one asks the fundamental question posed by Academically Adrift: are undergraduates really learning anything once they get there? For a large proportion of students, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa's answer to that question is a definitive "no."

Their extensive research draws on survey responses, transcript data, and, for the first time, the state-of-the-art Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test administered to students in their first semester and then again at the end of their second year. According to their analysis of more than 2,300 undergraduates at twenty-four institutions, forty-five percent of these students demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skills - including critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing - during their first two years of college. As troubling as their findings are, Arum and Roksa argue that for many faculty and administrators they will come as no surprise - instead, they are the expected result of a student body distracted by socializing or working and an institutional culture that puts undergraduate learning close to the bottom of the priority list.

Academically Adrift holds sobering lessons for students, faculty, administrators, policy makers, and parents - all of whom are implicated in promoting or at least ignoring contemporary campus culture. Higher education faces crises on a number of fronts, but Arum and Roksa's report that colleges are failing at their most basic mission will demand the attention of us all.
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The Reemergence of Self-Employment: A Comparative Study of Self-Employment Dynamics and Social Inequality (2004-07-26)

The Reemergence of Self-Employment: A Comparative Study of Self-Employment Dynamics and Social Inequality (2004-07-26)
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The Structure of Schooling: Readings in the Sociology of Education

The Structure of Schooling: Readings in the Sociology of Education by Richard Arum, Irenee Beattie, and Karly Ford exposes students to examples of sociological research on schools, with a focus on the school as community. Now in its Third Edition, this engaging reader has broadened its scope even more, presenting additional readings in particular related to the sociology of higher education. The book draws from classic and contemporary scholarship to examine current issues and diverse theoretical approaches to studying the effects of schooling on individuals and society. In addition to covering traditional areas such as stratification and racial inequality, the book also veers off the beaten path, including readings on such contemporary topics as bullying, school shootings, school choice, and teen social media use.
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Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority

Reprimand a class comic, restrain a bully, dismiss a student for brazen attire--and you may be facing a lawsuit, costly regardless of the result. This reality for today's teachers and administrators has made the issue of school discipline more difficult than ever before--and public education thus more precarious. This is the troubling message delivered in Judging School Discipline, a powerfully reasoned account of how decades of mostly well-intended litigation have eroded the moral authority of teachers and principals and degraded the quality of American education.

Judging School Discipline casts a backward glance at the roots of this dilemma to show how a laudable concern for civil liberties forty years ago has resulted in oppressive abnegation of adult responsibility now. In a rigorous analysis enriched by vivid descriptions of individual cases, the book explores 1,200 cases in which a school's right to control students was contested.

Richard Arum and his colleagues also examine several decades of data on schools to show striking and widespread relationships among court leanings, disciplinary practices, and student outcomes; they argue that the threat of lawsuits restrains teachers and administrators from taking control of disorderly and even dangerous situations in ways the public would support.

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Improving Learning Environments: School Discipline and Student Achievement in Comparative Perspective (Studies in Social Inequality)

Improving Learning Environments provides the first systematic comparative cross-national study of school disciplinary climates. In this volume, leading international social science researchers explore nine national case studies to identify the institutional determinants of variation in school discipline, the possible links between school environments and student achievement, as well as the implications of these findings for understanding social inequality. As the book demonstrates, a better understanding of school discipline is essential to the formation of effective educational policies. Ultimately, to improve a school's ability to contribute to youth socialization and student internalization of positive social norms and values, any changes in school discipline must not only be responsive to behavior problems but should also work to enhance the legitimacy and moral authority of school actors.
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Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study (Studies in Social Inequality)

The mass expansion of higher education is one of the most important social transformations of the second half of the twentieth century. In this book, scholars from 15 countries, representing Western and Eastern Europe, East Asia, Israel, Australia, and the United States, assess the links between this expansion and inequality in the national context.
Contrary to most expectations, the authors show that as access to higher education expands, all social classes benefit. Neither greater diversification nor privatization in higher education results in greater inequality. In some cases, especially where the most advantaged already have significant access to higher education, opportunities increase most for persons from disadvantaged origins. Also, during the late twentieth century, opportunities for women increased faster than those for men. Offering a new spin on conventional wisdom, this book shows how all social classes benefit from the expansion of higher education.
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Improving Quality in American Higher Education: Learning Outcomes and Assessments for the 21st Century

An ambitious, comprehensive reimagining of 21st century higher education

Improving Quality in American Higher Education outlines the fundamental concepts and competencies society demands from today's college graduates, and provides a vision of the future for students, faculty, and administrators. Based on a national, multidisciplinary effort to define and measure learning outcomes—the Measuring College Learning project—this book identifies 'essential concepts and competencies' for six disciplines. These essential concepts and competencies represent efforts towards articulating a consensus among faculty in biology, business, communication, economics, history, and sociology—disciplines that account for nearly 40 percent of undergraduate majors in the United States. Contributions from thought leaders in higher education, including Ira Katznelson, George Kuh, and Carol Geary Schneider, offer expert perspectives and persuasive arguments for the need for greater clarity, intentionality, and quality in U.S. higher education.

College faculty are our best resource for improving the quality of undergraduate education. This book offers a path forward based on faculty perspectives nationwide:

  • Clarify program structure and aims
  • Articulate high-quality learning goals
  • Rigorously measure student progress
  • Prioritize higher order competencies and disciplinarily grounded conceptual understandings

A culmination of over two years of efforts by faculty and association leaders from six disciplines, this book distills the national conversation into a delineated set of fundamental ideas and practices, and advocates for the development and use of rigorous assessment tools that are valued by faculty, students, and society. Improving Quality in American Higher Education brings faculty voices to the fore of the conversation and offers an insightful look at the state of higher education, and a realistic strategy for better serving our students.

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Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates

Few books have ever made their presence felt on college campuses—and newspaper opinion pages—as quickly and thoroughly as Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s 2011 landmark study of undergraduates’ learning, socialization, and study habits, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. From the moment it was published, one thing was clear: no university could afford to ignore its well-documented and disturbing findings about the failings of undergraduate education.
 
Now Arum and Roksa are back, and their new book follows the same cohort of undergraduates through the rest of their college careers and out into the working world. Built on interviews and detailed surveys of almost a thousand recent college graduates from a diverse range of colleges and universities, Aspiring Adults Adrift reveals a generation facing a difficult transition to adulthood. Recent graduates report trouble finding decent jobs and developing stable romantic relationships, as well as assuming civic and financial responsibility—yet at the same time, they remain surprisingly hopeful and upbeat about their prospects.
 
Analyzing these findings in light of students’ performance on standardized tests of general collegiate skills, selectivity of institutions attended, and choice of major, Arum and Roksa not only map out the current state of a generation too often adrift, but enable us to examine the relationship between college experiences and tentative transitions to adulthood. Sure to be widely discussed, Aspiring Adults Adrift will compel us once again to re-examine the aims, approaches, and achievements of higher education.
 
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