Neoinstitutional theory has become a popular explanatory tool for analysts seeking to understand the hows and whys of a wide variety of institutional changes in organizations like corporations, hospitals, and educational institutions. Evidence from prior research suggests that at least some of the time, such explanations are useful ways to understand curricular change--particularly for advanced and institutionalized disciplines. But when, exactly, are neoinstitutional explanations useful? What sorts of institutions are likely to serve as innovators, and what sort as imitators? What does the path of institutional isomorphism look like? I will answer these questions with a longitudinal study of higher education institutions that takes into account a variety of types of peer relationships to trace change over time and across the institutional field using network analysis techniques. In particular, I look at the emergence and spread of curricular programs in women's studies, Asian American studies, and queer/LGBT studies across North American undergraduate degree-granting colleges and universities. As of fall 2011, I am working on wrapping up data collection with a great team of undergraduate research assistants, who are helping me build a large-scale networked dataset.
I have begun preliminary analysis on a portion of this dataset while participating in a Coursera course on social network analysis. Preliminary datasets for this portion of the analysis are available in Gephi and SPSS formats.
"Who are the Insiders? Faculty and Students as Activists." Presented at the Thematic Session on Campus Activism at the Making Connections: Movements and Research in a Global Context" workshop of the American Sociological Association Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2011.
"No Emperor Lives Here: Teaching about Racialization and Statelessness in the Context of the Japanese Internment Camps and Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine. In the Open Books-Open Minds Faculty Teaching Guide, Rhode Island College, 2011.
"The Neglected Virtues of Comparative Historical Methods." In Zake and DeCesare, New Directions in Sociology: Essays on Theory and Methodology in the 21st Cenury, 2011, McFarland
"Change the World--Start at School." In Korgen, White, and White, Sociologists in Action, 2010, Pine Forge Press. For more information or to buy online, see the Pine Forge book profile.
"Reloading the Canon: The Timing of Diversification in American Literature Anthologies" with Adam Clark, Roger Clark, and Jennifer Racine. In Clark and Adler, An Invitation to Social Research, 2011, Thomson. For more information or to buy online, see the Cengage book profile.
"The Spectre of Class: Educating and Advising for Self-Efficacy," Issues in Teaching and Learning 6. Read online.
"Resurrecting Smelser: Collective Power, Generalized Beleif, and Hegemonic Spaces." Theory in Action 2:4, 2009. Abstract available.
"The Not-So-Invisible Hand: Understanding the Dynamics of Curricular Change in Higher Education." Presentation at the National Summer Data Policy Fellowship Program of the Association for Institutional Research, June 21-27, 2009. (The presentation PowerPoint is available).
"Thinking Outside the Master's House: New Knowledge Movements and the Emergence of Academic Disciplines." Social Movement Studies 8:1, 2009. (Available to subscribers from InformaWorld).
"Conflict, Controversy, and Collective Actionin the Collegiate Curriculum," Cornell University Institute for the Social Sciences Textbook Controversies Workshop, Feburary 8, 2008 (conference paper available).