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School of Social Sciences

For immediate release

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Steve McGregor, UTD, (972) 883-2293, [email protected]

Two UTD Profs Win Russell Sage Foundation Grant
To Study Community College Education in Texas

$137,000 to Fund Research into Changing Role of Two-Year Schools
Dr. Jargowsky
Dr. Kain
Dr. Jargowsky
Dr. Kain

        RICHARDSON, Texas (July 17, 2002) — The Russell Sage Foundation of New York has awarded two professors at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) a $137,000 grant to study the changing role of community colleges in Texas and identify ways the schools might be improved.

        Dr. Paul A. Jargowsky and Dr. John F. Kain, both members of the faculty of UTD’s School of Social Sciences, were given the funding for a one-year period beginning Aug. 1 to support a joint project entitled “The Middle Path: Community College Education in Texas.”

        The project will be a collaboration of two UTD research centers — the Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society, directed by Kain, and the Bruton Center, directed by Jargowsky.

        “Community colleges are an increasingly important part of the education, training and retraining systems in the United States,” said Kain. “At a time when enrollments in traditional four-year colleges have seen little growth, community college enrollments have expanded rapidly and taken on many new roles. This study will provide an unprecedented level of detail on the demographics of the student population, the institutional diversity and program offerings of community colleges and the dynamics of student paths through community colleges and into the workplace.”

        “Most research in higher education has focused on traditional four-year universities, while relatively little is known about the changing role that community colleges play in the overall education system,” said Jargowsky. “Given the large commitment of public funding to these institutions, it is important to have a better understanding of whom they serve and how they might be improved.”

        According to Jargowsky and Kain, the project will be conducted in three phases:

  • The first will describe the social and demographic characteristics of the community college population in Texas and how these characteristics are changing over time.
  • The second will examine institutional diversity of community colleges themselves, including the expanding roster of services provided by the schools and geographic variation in program availability.
  • The third will document the dynamics of student careers in the community college system, clarifying how students enter and exit the community college and how they move back and forth among community colleges, four-year institutions and the labor market.

        The Russell Sage Foundation is the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences. In addition to conducting research, the organization is a funding source for studies at other academic and research institutions and a publisher of books that derive from the works of its grantees and visiting scholars.

        Jargowsky holds a Ph.D. degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. His principal areas of research are neighborhood poverty, segregation by race and class and the effects of economic inequality. Jargowsky's book, “Poverty and Place: Ghettos, Barrios, and the American City,” is a comprehensive examination of the concentration of poverty in U.S. metropolitan areas. His current work focuses on racial segregation and connections between suburban sprawl and central city decline.

        Kain earned a Ph.D. degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently the Cecil and Ida Green Chair for the Study of Science and Technology, in addition to being director of the Green Center. Before joining UTD, Kain was the Henry Lee Professor of Economics and Professor of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University, where he taught for more than 35 years.

        Kain initiated a major research project on Texas public schools while he was a visiting professor at UTD in 1992. The UTD Texas Schools Project is a multi-year research effort with a goal of fostering a better understanding of the determinants of student academic performance, with the long-term objective of providing a knowledge and research base to improve public schools. In 1999, the project broadened its scope to include an extensive program of research on minority access to Texas public colleges and universities.

About UTD

        The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor , enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at

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