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S. Michael Gaddis

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Demography, The Pennsylvania State University

I received a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. I recently finished my tenure as a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan where I conducted research on mental health among college students and stigma across college campuses. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Demography at the Pennsylvania State University. My research and teaching interests include the sociology of education, education policy, higher education, race and ethnicity, inequality, mental health, and experimental methods. I was a 2012-13 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellow and was named a 2012 Impact Award winner for outstanding research of benefit to North Carolina.


Some of my most recent projects use field experiments to examine racial discrimination among roommate seekers on Craigslist (one available on SSRN and one in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, both co-authored with Raj Ghoshal) and the effects of sub-BA credentials on the labor market.


My dissertation, ďA Matter of Degrees: Educational Credentials and Race and Gender Discrimination in the Labor Market,Ē uses an experimental research design known as an audit study to examine the effect of educational credentials on labor market success. I created matched candidate pairs and applied for 1,008 jobs over three geographic regions using a national job search website. The results show that although a credential from an elite university results in more employer responses for all candidates, black candidates from elite universities only do as well as white candidates from less selective universities. Moreover, race results in a double penalty: when employers respond to black candidates it is for jobs with lower prestige and lower starting salaries than those of white peers. Results by social class, gender, and college major show additional differences. My dissertation has been honored with six graduate student paper awards and the Deanís Distinguished Dissertation Award for social sciences from UNC's Graduate School. The first paper from my dissertation was published in Social Forces.


Additionally, I have published work on race and class-based educational inequality in relation to social capital (Social Forces) and cultural capital (Social Science Research). Doug Lauen and I frequently collaborate on projects that examine student achievement in North Carolina. This research investigates the causal effects of classroom poverty on student test scores (American Journal of Sociology), the impact of the No Child Left Behind policy on individual test scores (Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis) and the black-white test score gap (Social Science Research), and the effects of academic standards changes on educational triage (forthcoming at Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis). Click on the Research link for more information.


I have written an op-ed piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution titled "Rethinking Accountability Models in U.S. Public Education," and other posts on education and inequality for the Everyday Sociology Blog, The Century Foundation's Blog of the Century and Daily Kos.


Some of my non-academic interests include music, hiking, running, photography, coffee, and cooking.


Contact:

The Pennsylvania State University

Department of Sociology

503 Oswald Tower

p: 814.863.4399

e: mgaddis AT psu.edu