March/April 2013 Issue • Volume 41 • Issue 3

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rob warren

Rob Warren

Rob Warren to Edit Sociology of Education

“If Sociology of Education is to be widely read and have broad impact, a printed journal and old-fashioned website are no longer enough.”  So says John Robert “Rob” Warren, the incoming editor of Sociology of Education (SOE), whose term begins in January 2014. “Like it or not, Twitter and Facebook are becoming prominent communication media for younger scholars.”  With these words, Warren will usher this 86-year-old journal into the era of fast-paced, short-stream communication to extend its reach and enhance its relevance and visibility to a broader audience.

Of course, nothing will shake the journal from its long-established tradition of publishing high-quality sociological scholarship on education that is theoretically motivated, empirically grounded, and presented in a clear and compelling manner. With this grounding, however, the new communication media can help elevate the impact of sociological research by drawing immediate attention to timely and important findings.

Rob Warren is professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he has taught since 2002. Prior to moving to Minnesota, he taught at the University of Washington-Seattle from 1998 through 2002. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998. In taking on the editorship, he succeeds the University of Iowa’s David Bills, who has served as editor since 2009.

A Team Effort

An important aspect of Warren’s editorship will be the involvement of an accomplished team of deputy editors. “Editing a journal is a collaborative enterprise,” Warren explains. “Not only will I rely on the deputy editors, but ultimately the success of the journal depends on the active support of a wide range of scholars who will serve as editorial board members and reviewers.”  The three deputy editors are Amy Binder (University of California-San Diego), who uses qualitative methods to understand the ways in which cultural and organizational forces in education settings affect students, teachers, administrators, and parents; Eric Grodsky (University of Wisconsin-Madison), who deploys quantitative methods to explore inequalities in secondary and postsecondary schooling in the United States, with special emphasis on the intersection of educational opportunities and demographic factors as they shape postsecondary enrollment and attainment; and Hyunjoon Park (University of Pennsylvania), who brings expertise in the Korean, Japanese, and U.S. education systems and conducts cross-national studies using international data on students’ academic achievement and adults’ literacy skills. Together, the new editor and deputy editors cover a wide range of methodological and substantive approaches and will encourage submissions from across the full breadth of interests within the sociology of education.

Why Warren?

It’s easy to see why the ASA Publications Committee selected Warren, in light of the experience he brings to the job. He served as deputy editor from 2006 through 2009, while Barbara Schneider edited SOE. Recalling that experience, Schneider commented recently, “Rob is an excellent scholar, exceptionally thoughtful and fair—and a superb colleague to work with. The journal will become even better with his stewardship and the talented associated editorial team he has assembled.”  Warren has also served on the SOE editorial board as well as others, and at last count he had reviewed about 60 articles for previous editors of Sociology of Education. His own work has appeared in the journal on a number of occasions, including his very first publication, “Educational Inequality among White and Mexican-origin Adolescents in the American Southwest: 1990,” which appeared in the journal in 1996 and won the graduate student paper award (now the David Lee Stevenson Award) from the Sociology of Education Section of ASA.

Education is not the sole focus on Warren’s work—his record includes work in demography, health inequalities, stratification, and survey research methods—but it is the area within sociology with which he is most closely identified and in which a plurality of his publications have appeared. Major projects within the sociology of education include work on the impact of state high school exit examinations, the measurement of high school dropout and grade retention rates, the consequences of students’ paid employment, and the role of education in social mobility.

In addition to his published work, Warren is a long-time collaborator in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, a survey of the Wisconsin high school graduating class of 1957. He is currently collaborating with Chandra Muller, Eric Grodsky, and Sandra Black on a 2013 follow-up of the “High School and Beyond” sophomore cohort. His recent work on high school exit examinations (with several collaborators) was headlined by a 2008 article in Sociology of Education, which showed that requiring students to pass examinations to graduate from high school did not result in any improvement in employment or earnings for students, as one might have expected if exit examinations elevated the quality of the workforce. Warren is currently co-PI on a project to link, harmonize, and freely disseminate all existing data from the Current Population Survey as part of the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) collection; this will include data from the October school enrollment supplements. He is also a member of the National Research Council’s Board on Testing and Assessment and the Population Association of America’s Committee on Population Statistics.

Warren and his editorial team bring a strong commitment to enhancing the intellectual diversity represented in Sociology of Education. Fulfilling this commitment will require active outreach to ensure that the best papers in a wide range of methodological and substantive traditions are submitted and fairly reviewed. The new editors also intend to prioritize work that is useful to external constituencies, such as educators and policy makers. They note that sociology of education is a vibrant and expansive field, and by publishing high-quality work that is relevant beyond the discipline, they aim to enhance the impact of the journal and of the field more generally.

SOE provides a forum for studies in the sociology of education and human social development. The quarterly journal publishes research that examines how social institutions and individuals’ experiences within these institutions affect educational processes and social development. For more information, see www.asanet.org/journals/soe/soe.cfm.

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