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Josipa Roksa

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Josipa Roksa
Phone: 434-243-0909
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Location: Ruffner Hall 284
Curriculum vitae: Roksa_CV_June_2016_Web
Department: CASTL; Leadership, Foundations and Policy
Mailing Address: PO Box 400766, Charlottesville, VA 22904

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Associate Professor


  • Ph.D., New York University, Sociology, 2006
  • B.A., Mount Holyoke College, Psychology, 2000

Personal Statement

To what extent does education amplify, preserve, or reduce social inequality? This has been the central question guiding Professor Roksa’s scholarly inquiry.  In addressing this question, her recent endeavors have focused in particular on understanding how students’ experiences in higher education produce observed disparities.

More specifically, Professor Roksa’s recent and on-going work has encompassed three areas of inquiry: a) inequality in the development of critical thinking skills during college (funded by the Spencer Foundation, with Ernest Pascarella and Charles Blaich), b) the role of financial aid in fostering academic success and persistence of low-income students in STEM (funded by the NSF, with Sara Goldrick-Rab), and b) inequality in research skill development among graduate students in biology (funded by the NSF, with David Feldon).  Each of these projects illuminates the role of students’ experiences, including interactions with faculty and peers, inside and outside of the classroom, in fostering student success.

In a similar vein, Professor Roksa has been keenly interested in understanding how educational institutions compensate for (or amplify) inequalities in family resources.  After considering the role of cultural capital in K-12 education and transition into college, she is currently focusing on the role of family resources in facilitating success after students enter higher education.  With a prolonged transition to adulthood, “emerging adults” today rely extensively on their families both during and after college.  While Aspiring Adults Adrift, co-authored with Richard Arum, provides some indication of family support after degree completion, it does not speak to parental influences while students are in college.  During her sabbatical year (2016-2017 academic year), Professor Roksa is considering how family resources in general and parental involvement in particular translate into educational success during college, and how higher education institutions can decrease inequality by engaging productively with parents as well as minimizing the influence of family resources.

Alongside her faculty appointment, Professor Roksa has served in several administrative roles, including Special Advisor to the Provost (2012-2016) and Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (2012-2015).  She has also collaborated with Richard Arum on convening faculty in six disciplines to articulate learning outcomes and assessment strategies.  The resulting edited volume (Improving Quality in American Higher Education) aims to offer resources to departments and institutions as they grapple with the difficult questions about defining and measuring student learning.  All of these endeavors, as well as Professor Roksa’s scholarship, aim to make higher education just a little better tomorrow than it is today.

Research Interests:
    Social Inequality
    Higher Education
    Student Experience
    Success of Underrepresented Students in STEM

More on Professor Roksa’s expertise and research may be found here.

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