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Sociology Professors Awarded Grawemeyer Award
The Grawemeyer Foundation, based at the University of Louisville, has announced its 2008 awards, and in the field of education, sociology professors Paul Attewell and David Lavin, both at the City University of New York (CUNY), were selected to receive the $200,000 award for their 2007 book, Passing the Torch: Does Higher Education for the Disadvantaged Pay Off Across the Generations?. The prestigious Grawemeyer liberal arts awards are designed to honor performing arts, the humanities, and the social sciences. They are given in five categories: Music Composition, Ideas Improving World Order, Education, Religion, and Psychology. The nominations for the awards come from all over the world.
In Passing the Torch, a volume in the ASA’s Rose Series in Sociology, Attewell and Lavin tracked nearly 2,000 disadvantaged women who entered CUNY through open enrollment in the early 1970s. When they interviewed the women three decades later, they found more than 70 percent had graduated and boosted their income, and that their children also had better educational success. Study participants were selected to equally represent whites, blacks, and Hispanics. The researchers calculated that the annual dollar benefit to each woman averaged about $9,700 for whites, $5,000 for blacks and $7,900 for Hispanics.
Paul Attewell, City University of New York’s Graduate Center, has spent his career addressing public policy dilemmas in education. His research focuses on inequality and social stratification, especially in the educational sphere. In addition to studying the effects of open enrollment at colleges, he has researched the policy of requiring more advanced coursework from high school students and whether remedial education works for college students. His work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Ford, Andrew Mellon and Spencer foundations. He also taught at the State University of New York-Stony Brook and the University of California-Santa Cruz. Attewell earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University College at the University of London in 1971 and his doctorate in sociology from the University of California-San Diego in 1978.
David Lavin, City University of New York’s Graduate Center, has spent much of his career focusing on open enrollment and the impact that higher education has on disadvantaged families. Since 1971, he has completed 14 research grants and projects about open enrollment, mostly related to the procedures in place at CUNY in the 1970s. He has co-written three books and a half-dozen articles on the topic of dating back to 1979. Lavin began his career as a research fellow in social relations at Harvard University from 1960 to 1962. From 1962 to 1970, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Colby College in 1953, his master’s degree in sociology and social psychology from New York University in 1955, and his doctorate in sociology from New York University in 1960.
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