Josipa Roksa headshot

Josipa Roksa

Unit: Provost's Office
Department: Office of the Vice Prov for Instructional Dev
Office location and address
Randall 206
445 Rugby Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

To what extent does education amplify, preserve, or reduce social inequality? This has been the central question guiding Professor Roksa’s scholarly inquiry. To address this question, her current research centers on two main areas: a) understanding the role of families and relationships between families and higher education institutions in fostering student success, and b) examining how students’ experiences in college contribute to inequalities in STEM fields.

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 engaged in a series of projects that aim to understand how family support and resources are related to higher education success, particularly for first-generation and low-income students. Moreover, she is interested in how higher education institutions can reduce inequality by engaging productively with parents as well as by minimizing the impact of unequal distribution of family resources.

The second line of inquiry examines success of traditionally disadvantaged groups, including first-generation, low-income and under-represented racial/ethnic minority (URM) students, in STEM fields. In this line of inquiry, Professor Roksa is exploring the role of financial aid in fostering academic success and persistence of low-income students in STEM (with Sara Goldrick-Rab) as well as studying inequalities in research skill development and degree progression among graduate students in life sciences (with David Feldon). She is also working with an interdisciplinary team of scholars to understand how college experiences contribute to disparities in academic outcomes among undergraduates in STEM fields and to develop social-behavioral and structural interventions to reduce inequality.

Professor Roksa’s prior research has also included an exploration of inequalities in learning outcomes. Collaborations with Richard Arum, Charlie Blaich, Ernest Pascarella and other scholars have produced a number of books and articles on student learning and academic achievement

Alongside her faculty appointment in Sociology and Education, Professor Roksa serves as Senior Advisor for Academic Programs in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. All of these endeavors, from research to administration, aim to make higher education just a little better tomorrow than it is today.

Trajectories into Early Career Research
Source: Utah State University
September 01, 2018 – April 30, 2023
Driving Change Learning Community
Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
April 01, 2021 – March 31, 2023
Inclusive Excellence 3 Learning Community
Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
April 01, 2021 – March 31, 2023
CU - Collaborative Research: Progressions of Skill Development in Biology Doctorates: Patterns of Inequality
Source: U.S. NSF - Directorate For Ed. & Human Resources
September 01, 2014 – August 31, 2019
AS-SOCI Doctoral Dissertation Research Support for Denise Deutschlander
Source: U.S. NSF - Directorate Soc., Behav. & Eco. Science
June 15, 2016 – November 30, 2017
AS-SOCI Estimating and Explaining the Causal Impacts of Need-Based Financial Aid on STEM Success Among Pell Grant Recipients
Source: Temple University
June 01, 2016 – August 31, 2017
AS-SOCI Blake Silver - Navigating the Senior Year Transiotion: A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of First-Generation American Students
Source: National Association of Student Personnel Administ
November 01, 2015 – October 15, 2016
AS-SOCI Estimating and Explaining the Casual Impacts of Need-Based Financial Aid on STEM Success Among Pell Grant Recipients
Source: University Of Wisconsin
September 15, 2013 – August 31, 2016
AS-SOCI Race, Class and Academic Outcomes
Source: Spencer Foundation
August 01, 2012 – August 31, 2015
AS-SOCI Graduate Pedagogy Course on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Source: The Teagle Foundation
July 01, 2012 – June 30, 2015
CU Doctoral Dissertation Research - Moral U or Market U? The Rise of the Market Logic in Religious Higher Education (2000-2012)
Source: U.S. NSF - Directorate Soc., Behav. & Eco. Science
July 15, 2014 – June 30, 2015
SOC 4053: Sociology of Education
Credits: 3
Analyzes education as a social institution and its relationship to other institutions (e.g., the economy, the stratification system, the family). Emphasizes the role of education in the status attainment process. Prerequisite: Six credits of sociology or instructor permission.
SOC 4980: Distinguished Majors Thesis Research
Credits: 3
Independent research, under the supervision of a DM faculty adviser, for the DMP thesis. Prerequisites: SOC 3120 and Admission to the Distinguished Majors Program in Sociology.
SOC 4981: Distinguished Majors Thesis Writing
Credits: 3
Writing of the DMP thesis under the supervision of a DM faculty adviser. Prerequisite: SOC 4980
SOC 5420: Social Stratification
Credits: 3
Studies the distribution of rewards and punishments and the resulting social inequalities in cross-cultural and historical perspective. Analyzes negative liabilities such as arrest, imprisonment, unemployment, and stigmatization, and positive assets such as education, occupation, income, and honor. Draws on the literature of both stratification and deviance/criminology. Focuses on the distributive aspects of power and the resulting social formations such as classes, and status groups. Prerequisite: SOC 5030, 7130 or their equivalent, or instructor permission.
SOC 8998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Research
Credits: 1–12
For master's research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.
SOC 8999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For master's thesis, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.
SOC 9010: Directed Reading
Credits: 1–12
Independent study with a faculty member. 
SOC 9520: Advanced Topics in Social Inequality
Credits: 3
This course covers selected topics in social inequality across various dimensions and contexts.
EDLF 9740: Internship in College Teaching or Supervision
Credits: 1–6
Opportunities for experienced doctoral students to teach courses or partial courses at the University, or to supervise student teachers under the guidance of a faculty member. Opportunities are arranged by the students with the assistance of the sponsoring faculty member.
EDLF 9995: Independent Research
Credits: 1–12
Independent Research
SOC 9998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.
EDLF 9999: Doctoral Dissertation
Credits: 3–12
Doctoral Dissertation Research completed under the guidance of dissertation committee. 12 hours is required for graduation. Permission of instructor required.
SOC 9999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.