Julie R. Posselt
Assistant Professor of Education
PhD, Higher Education, University of Michigan
Equity & diversity in higher education; 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 was a 2015-2017 National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation postdoctoral research fellow. Rooted in sociological and organizational theory, her research program uses mixed methods to examine 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. She was the recipient of the 2018 American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award and the 2017 Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Early Career/ Promising Scholar Award.
Her book, Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping (2016, Harvard University Press), was based on an award-winning ethnographic study of faculty judgment in 10 highly ranked doctoral programs in three universities. This work has led to thriving research-practice partnerships with universities, disciplinary societies, graduate schools & programs, and other associations that are re-examining how we evaluate students and scholars for key academic opportunities— and support those who are in the system. Partners include the University of California, American Physics Society, and the Council of Graduate Schools.
Her current scholarship, funded by three grants from the National Science Foundation and one from the Mellon Foundation, examines movements for equity and inclusion in graduate education and the humanistic and physical science disciplines. Posselt recently completed a National Academy of Education postdoctoral fellowship for the first national study of graduate student mental health. This concurrent mixed methods project identified factors associated with depression and anxiety; investigated the roles of discrimination, competitiveness, and faculty support in graduate student wellbeing; and measures disparities within and across academic disciplines.
She has published research in the American Educational Research Journal, Annual Review of Sociology, 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. Her work has been highlighted in Science, The Atlantic, New York Times, Slate, Times Higher Education (UK), Insider Higher Ed, among others. She is a member of the Journal of Higher Education’s and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education's editorial review boards, and is program chair for the 2019 Sociology of Education Association meeting.
Posselt earned her PhD from the University of Michigan.
My research group strives to understand institutionalized racial and gender inequities, especially in graduate education and the disciplines. By advancing theory and evidence about the core cultural and structural forces that embed inequalities in departments, disciplines, schools, and universities, we can more effectively work with practitioners to develop locally resonant, effective strategies for creating more equitable, inclusive educational institutions.
Assistant Professor, University of Michigan School of Education, 2013-2016
Assistant Director, McNair Scholars Program, Univeristy of Northern Colorado, 2003-2007
Honors and Awards:
American Educational Research Association, Early Career Award, 2018
Association for the Study of Higher Education, Early Career Award, 2017
USC Rossier School of Education, Outstanding PhD faculty member, 2017.
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 653: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods 1
ED 654: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods 2
ED 688: Institutions, Organizations, and Equity in Education
ED 708: Advanced Student Development Theory
ED 707: Administration in Higher Education
"Alliance for Multicampus Inclusive Graduate Admissions" (a.k.a., AMIGA). Mellon Foundation. (Assessment Lead & Senior Advisor; Subaward from the University of California), 2018-2022. $1,200,000.
"A National Network for Access and Inclusion in Physics Graduate Education", (a.k.a., Inclusive Graduate Education Network, IGEN). National Science Foundation INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot, (Co-Principal Investigator; Subaward from the American Physical Society), 2016-2018. $300,000.
"Fieldwork Inspiring Expanded Leadership for Diversity" (FIELD). National Science Foundation GOLD, (Principal Investigator; Collaborative Research project), 2017-2020. $400,000.
"Active Societal Participation in Research and Education" (ASPIRE). National Science Foundation GOLD, (Principal Investigator; Collaborative Research project), 2016-2018. $400,000.
“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., Porter, K., & Kamimura, A. (In press for August 2018). Organizational pathways toward gender equity in STEM. American Journal of Education.
- Slay, K., Reyes, K., & Posselt, J. (In press for Summer 2018). Bait and switch? Representation, climate, and the tensions of diversity in graduate education. Review of Higher Education.
- Posselt, J. R. (In press for August 2018). Normalizing struggle: Dimensions of faculty support for doctoral students and implications for persistence and wellbeing. Journal of Higher Education.
- Posselt, J. R. (In press for Summer 2018). Trust networks: A new perspective on pedigree and the ambiguities of admissions. Accepted in Review of Higher Education.
- Posselt, J. (2018). Review of ‘The Diversity Bargain and other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities.’ Political Science Quarterly.
- Posselt, J. (2018). Rigor and support in racialized learning environments: The case of graduate education. New Directions for Higher Education 181, 59-70.
- Posselt, J. & Grodsky, E. (2017). Graduate education and social stratification. Annual Review of Sociology 43, 353-378.
- McCallum, C., Posselt, J.R., & Lopez, E. (2017). Graduate school choice for African Americans: Relating the roles of family, fictive kin, faculty, & student affairs practitioners. In A. Mountford-Zimdars, & N. Harrison (Eds.). Access to higher education: Theoretical perspectives and contemporary challenges. New York: Routledge.
- Posselt, J. R., Reyes, K. A., Slay, K., Kamimura, A., and Porter, K. (2017). Equity efforts as boundary work: How symbolic and social boundaries shape access and inclusion in graduate education. Accepted in Teachers College Record.
- Posselt, J. R. (2016). Inside graduate admissions: Merit, diversity, and faculty gatekeeping. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Eisenberg, D., Lipson, S., & Posselt, J. R. (2016). Promoting resilience and retention. New Directions in Student Services: College Student Mental Health. Vol.156.
- Posselt, J. R., Lipson, S. K. (2016). Competitiveness and mental health in the college classroom: Variations across social identities and fields of study. Journal of College Student Development 57 (8), 973-989.
- 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.
- Posselt, J. R. (2015). Applicant evaluation as admissions practice: A socio-cognitive framework of faculty judgment. International Handbook of Higher Education Admissions Policy. New York: Peter Lang Publishers.
- Kamimura, A. P. & Posselt, J. R. (2015). The benefits of diversity for innovation in academic research. In L. R. Roberts, L. Wooten, & M. Davidson (Eds.) Positive Organizing in a Global Society: Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity Building and Inclusion. New York: Routledge.
- 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.
- Posselt, J. R., & Black, K. R. (2007). Students to scholars: An undergraduate research curriculum facilitating graduate school enrollment. In Karutkis, K.K. and Elgren, T. (Eds). Designing, Implementing, and Sustaining a Research-Supportive Undergraduate Curriculum. Washington, DC: Council on Undergraduate Research.
- 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.