Elizabeth Bruch is an Associate Professor in Sociology and Complex Systems, an Associate Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research, and an External Faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute. She also leads the University of Michigan’s Computational Social Science Initiative.
“The culmination of a university education is the degree one receives at graduation, but the building blocks of academic progress are the courses students take in each term. To the extent that a sequence of courses is common to a group of students, it denotes a potential academic career path. I will first review how sociologists have treated careers in an occupational setting and extend those ideas to the context of higher education. I will then present several different ways of thinking about and studying features of the undergraduate curriculum in which these careers unfold. I apply these concepts and models to data from a large public university to reveal how students of varying backgrounds, including historically underrepresented groups, enter and exit fields of study.”