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Tina Wildhagen is Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Smith College. She attended Grinnell College as an undergraduate and completed her graduate work at the University of Iowa. Her research and teaching interests focus on social inequality in the American education system. In addition to Privilege and Power in American Education and Inequality in Higher Education, she teaches a course on quantitative research methods.
Much of her research and teaching investigates how the social construction of academic merit tends to favor privileged social groups. For instance, changes in the definition of academic merit over time have tended to track very closely with changes in middle class parenting practices, such that middle class students tend to adapt more quickly and effectively to changes in the definition of merit than do their less-advantaged peers.
Tina’s work appears in various scholarly journals, including The Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Perspectives, The Teachers College Record, The Journal of Negro Education, and Sociology Compass. She has several ongoing research projects in various stages of development. One of her works in progress examines differences in students’ understandings of the purpose of higher education along the lines of race and class. Another ongoing project finds that students from different status groups receive differential returns to AP course-taking in the college admissions process.
Tina lives in Holyoke with her spouse, Laurie, and daughter, Hazel. Though only about ten miles from Northampton, Holyoke provides a nice respite from her responsibilities at Smith. While at home, she enjoys being silly with her daughter and going for runs around the neighborhood.