Jensen Speaker Series

September 29, -
Speaker(s): Elizabeth E. Bruch, University of Michigan

Jensen Speaker Series


Portrait of Elizabeth Bruch crouched down in front of white backdrop with stacks of paper in front of her

Elizabeth E. Bruch is Associate Professor of Sociology & Complex Systems, University of Michigan; External Faculty Member, Santa Fe Institute

Undergraduate Careers and the Structure of Academic Curriculums

The aim of this talk is to develop the idea of undergraduate careers as a strategic link between structural features of a university curriculum and the educational outcomes of college students. The culmination of a university education is the degree one receives at graduation, but the building blocks of academic progress are the courses students take in each term. To the extent that a sequence of courses is common to a group of students, it denotes a potential academic career path. I will first review how sociologists have treated careers in an occupational setting and extend those ideas to the context of higher education. I will then present several different ways of thinking about and studying features of the undergraduate curriculum in which these careers unfold. I apply these concepts and models to data from a large public university to reveal how students of varying backgrounds, including historically underrepresented groups, enter and exit fields of study.”


Department of Sociology