Julie R. Posselt
Assistant Professor of Education
PhD, University of Michigan
Equity & diversity in higher education; Graduate education & the professoriate; Organizational theory; Sociology of education; Research methods
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Workshop on Quasi-Experimental Design, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; August 2012
Dr. Julie Posselt is an Assistant Professor of higher education in the USC Rossier School of Education and a National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation postdoctoral research fellow. Rooted in sociological and organizational theory, her research program examines institutionalized inequalities in higher education and organizational efforts aimed at reducing inequities and encouraging diversity. She focuses on selective sectors of higher education— graduate education, STEM fields, and elite undergraduate institutions—where longstanding practices and cultural norms are being negotiated to better identify talent and educate students in a changing society.
Posselt is author of the book Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping (2016, Harvard University Press), which is based on an award-winning ethnographic study of faculty judgment in 10 highly ranked doctoral programs in three universities. This research has led to partnerships with departments, graduate schools, and other associations that are re-examining graduate admissions practices, including the University of California, American Physics Society, and Council of Graduate Schools.
Her other current work includes a multi-institutional comparative case study, funded by the Spencer Foundation, of organizational conditions and institutional practices in highly-ranked STEM graduate programs that have been successful enrolling and graduating women and students of color.
Posselt also holds a National Academy of Education postdoctoral fellowship for the first national study of graduate student mental health. This project identifies factors associated with depression and anxiety; investigates the roles of discrimination, competitiveness, and faculty support in graduate student wellbeing; and measures disparities within and across academic disciplines.
She has published or forthcoming research in the American Educational Research Journal, Research in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Teachers College Record, Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. She is a member of the Journal of Higher Education’s editorial review board.
Honors and Awards:
National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2015-2017
American Educational Research Association, Outstanding Dissertation Award, Doctoral Education Special Interest Group, 2014
University of Michigan School of Education, Dimond Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2014
Emerald Publishing Group, Highly Commended Award Winner, for “Developing the research identities and aspirations of first-generation college students: Evidence from the McNair scholars program”, 2013
American Educational Research Journal, Outstanding Reviewer, 2013
ED 708: Advanced Student Development Theory
“Transforming Graduate Admissions.” Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (Subaward from University of California). 2015-2016. $150,000.
“Competitiveness, Equity, and Mental Health in Graduate Education” (Principal Investigator). National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2015-2017. $75,000
“Competitiveness and Support in STEM Graduate Education” (Principal Investigator). Seed grant from Institute for Research on Women and Gender, 2014-15. $7,030.
“How can STEM Graduate Programs Diversify in a Post-Affirmative Action Context?” (Principal Investigator). Spencer Foundation, 2014-2015, $49,983.
“Merit and Diversity in Doctoral Admissions: Examining the Dynamics of Faculty Judgment” (Principal Investigator). Rackham Predoctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2012-2013, Competitive selection, $28,200.
“Merit and Diversity in Doctoral Admissions: Examining the Dynamics of Faculty Judgment” (Principal Investigator). National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals, 2011, $2,500, competitive selection
“Merit and Diversity in Doctoral Admissions: Examining the Dynamics of Faculty Judgment” (Principal Investigator). Center for Public Policy in Diverse Societies, University of Michigan, 2010, $6,000; competitive selection.
“Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program,” U.S. Department of Education program grant for the University of Northern Colorado, (Co-author with Kim Black). $1,011,384.
- Posselt, J. R. (2016). Inside graduate admissions: Merit, diversity, and faculty gatekeeping. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Posselt, J. R. (in press). Trust networks: A new perspective on pedigree and the ambiguities of admissions. Accepted in Review of Higher Education.
- Posselt, J. R., Reyes, K. A., Slay, K., Kamimura, A., and Porter, K. (in press). Equity efforts as boundary work: How symbolic and social boundaries shape access and inclusion in graduate education. Accepted in Teachers College Record.
- Eisenberg, D., Lipson, S., & Posselt, J. R. (in press). Promoting resilience and retention. Accepted in New Directions in College Student Mental Health.
- Posselt, J. R., Lipson, S. K. (in press). Competitiveness and mental health in the college classroom: Variations across social identities and fields of study. Accepted in Journal of College Student Development.
- Jaquette, O., Curs, B., & Posselt, J.R. (2016). Tuition rich, mission poor: Nonresident enrollment and the changing racial and class composition of public research universities. Journal of Higher Education 87 (5), 635-673.
- Posselt, J. R. (2015). Disciplinary logics in doctoral admissions: Understanding patterns of faculty evaluation. Journal of Higher Education 86 (6), 807-833.
- Bielby, R., Posselt, J. R., Bastedo, M., & Jaquette, O. (2014). Why are women underrepresented in elite colleges and universities? A non-linear decomposition analysis. Research in Higher Education 55 (8), 735-760.
- Posselt, J. R. (2014). Toward inclusive excellence in U.S. graduate education: Constructing merit and diversity in PhD admissions. American Journal of Education, 120(4), 481-514.
- Posselt, J. R., Jaquette, O., Bielby, R. & Bastedo, M. (2012). Access without equity: Longitudinal analyses of institutional stratification by race and ethnicity, 1972-2004. American Educational Research Journal 49 (6), 1074-1111.
- Posselt, J. R. & Black, K. R. (2012). Developing the research identities and aspirations of first-generation college students: Evidence from the McNair Scholars Program. International Journal of Researcher Development 3(1), 26-48.
- Masse, J. C., Perez, R. J., Posselt, J. R. (2010). Revisiting college predisposition: Integrating sociological and psychological perspectives on inequality. Equity and Excellence in Education 43 (3), 279-293.
- Posselt, J. R. (2009). The rise and fall of need-based grants: A critical review of presidential discourses on higher education. Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, Volume 24, 183-226.
- Hess, D. & Posselt, J. R. (2002). How students experience and learn from the discussion of controversial public issues in secondary social studies. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 17(4), 283-314.