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Rudy Professor of Sociology
Professor Powell received his B.A. from Hobart College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Emory University. After two years as a post-doctoral fellow in the NIMH/Indiana University Program in Measurement, he joined the faculty at Indiana University in 1986.
A specialist in sociology of education and sociology of the family, Powell's research has been driven by one overriding question: How do differential opportunities and statuses affect educational achievement and attainment and, more broadly, life chances? One goal of his recent work is to gain a richer understanding of the conditions that favor or disfavor parental investments into children and the educational consequences therefrom. Powell is especially concerned with the linkage between resource allocation and familial structure (e.g., family size, birth order, sex composition, and age differences between siblings) and parental characteristics (e.g., parental age and race), and in turn, the extent to which resource allocation affects children's well being and, in particular, educational success.
Professor Powell has published extensively in sociology and education journals such as American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Psychology Quarterly, Sociology of Education, Phi Delta Kappan, and Harvard Education Reviews. His research has been supported by governmental and private sources such as the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the American Educational Research Association. Active in his professional associations, he also has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Sociology and currently is co-director of the department's Preparing Future Faculty and the director of Associate Instructor training. In addition, he has been the recipient of several teaching honors at the departmental and university level (Edwin Sutherland Teaching Award, President's Award, Wilbert Hites Mentoring Award, and the Trustees Teaching Excellence Recognition Award). He became Rudy Professor of Sociology in 2008.