Admissions is hot topic as scholars prep for education conference

Annual national conference of education researchers features 59 USC scholars

By Ross Brenneman

Julie Posselt

Julie Posselt, an expert on higher education admissions, will deliver the 2019 AERA Early Career Award Lecture. (Photo/Ross Brenneman)

As the American Educational Research Association brings its annual conference to Toronto this April, nearly five-dozen scholars from USC Rossier are preparing papers and presentations for the country’s largest gathering of education researchers.

The five-day conference is highlighted by the Early Career Award Lecture to be delivered by Associate Professor Julie Posselt, an expert on undergraduate and graduate admissions. Posselt says she plans “to speak broadly about the social construction of merit in U.S. higher education,” including how colleges and universities have institutionalized inequities in their admissions processes, but also “why hope is not lost” for them.

Admissions has become a flashpoint in the past month following allegations of bribery and fraud committed by wealthy parents looking to get their children into elite universities, including the University of Southern California. The scandal has caused wider conversations about elitism, merit and wealth, and what social and political levers can be used to curb the role of money in admissions.

Posselt is the fourth professor at USC Rossier to win the AERA Early Career Award in the past five years. Last year, Associate Professor Morgan Polikoff delivered his Early Career Award Lecture on the rocky implementation of standards-based reform.

Five additional USC Rossier scholars will speak as invited speakers or in presidential sessions, while 10 professors have roles as discussants.

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