American Sociological Association

Task Force on the Postdoctorate in Sociology

Background and Charge

In 2010 the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) jointly implemented a small two-cohort postdoctoral fellowship program for the purpose of doing original research on the causes and effects of the Great Recession. Along with implementing that program, the 2010 ASA Council approved a Task Force on the Postdoctorate in Sociology that would study the longer term impact of expanding and institutional this stage of the sociology pipeline. However, Council delayed implementation of the Task Force until the ASA Research Department had competed data collection on the ASA/NSF postdoctoral fellowship program and had identified volunteer ASA members who were interested in participating in the Task Force. After the selection of the second and final cohort for the ASA/NSF program in January 2012, Council urged the Task Force to move forward. The Task Force began its work in early 2013. The mission of the Task Force includes, but is not limited to, the following tasks:  1) working with the ASA Executive Office to gather evidence on the experiences and outcomes of participation in postdoctoral programs; 2) If possible, compare the career trajectories of matching cohorts of those who received postdoctoral degrees and those that did not; 3) if possible, do research comparing findings in sociology and other disciplines, both within and outside the social and behavioral sciences working with other professional societies if feasible; 4) identify and investigate research and policy concerns in science and higher education including an agenda for future research on post doctorates and career-related issues; 5) weigh which aspects of the natural science model sociology might follow and what are the potential problems and issues that need to be addressed; and 6) identify recommendations for new and existing programs in sociology.

Task Force on the Postdoctorate in Sociology Members

Tiffany Bergin (University of Cambridge)

Sarah N. Gatson (Texas A&M University)

Robyn Ann Goldstein (unaffiliated)

Kevin Fox Gotham (Tulane University)

Karen A. Kaiser (Northwestern University)

Brent Mach Shea (Sweet Briar College)

R. Tyson Smith (Brown University)

Gergory D. Squires (George Washington University)

Kim Weeden (Cornell University)

Roberta Spalter-Roth (co-Executive Staff Liaison)

Jean H. Shin (co-Executive Staff Liaison)

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