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Faculty members

Mitchell L. Stevens

Photo of Mitchell L. Stevens
Mitchell L. Stevens
Academic Title 
Associate Professor
Other Titles 

Associate Professor of Sociology (by courtesy)

Director, Center for Advanced Research through Online Learning (CAROL)

Contact Information
(650) 723-4536
Barnum 109
Program Affiliations 
SHIPS (PhD): Educational Policy
SHIPS (PhD): Higher Education
SHIPS (PhD): Organization Studies
SHIPS (PhD): Social Sciences in Education
SHIPS (PhD): Sociology of Education
(MA) ICE/IEPA
(MA) POLS
(MA) MA/MBA

My most recent book is Seeing the World: How US Universities Make Knowledge in a Global Eracoauthored with Cynthia Miller-Idriss and Seteney Shami.

With Ben Gebre-Medhin (UC Berkeley) I developed a synthetic account of change in US higher education

With Mike Kirst I edited a volume on the organizational ecology of US colleges and universities.

With Arik Lifchitz and Michael Sauder I developed a theory of sports and status in US higher education.

I co-convene a project on responsible use of student data in higher education.

Earlier work on college admissions, home education, and (with Wendy Espeland) quantification continues to inform my scholarly world view.

I am an organizational sociologist with longstanding interests in the quantification of educational processes, alternative educational forms, and the formal organization of knowledge.

"A great inheritance of the twentieth century is that the rest of the world still admires [the United States'] great universities. Everywhere, people dream of sending their children to our campuses. They want tastes of our academic banquet through online courses. They court our experts to consider their local affairs specifically, on site. Worldwide, governments are building new universities and growing existing ones, often hiring US consultants to help them approximate an American academic ideal. What will our most ambitious students have to offer these new patrons, in what languages, and on whose terms? Facing these questions squarely might transform parochial social sciences into truly global endeavors."

- from Seeing the World: How US Universities Make Knowledge in a Global Era (Princeton, 2018), pp. 117-118

  • PhD, Northwestern University, 1996
  • BA, Macalester College, 1988

2010-2017: Director, Scandinavian Consortium for Organizational Research (SCANCOR)

2003-2009: Associate Professor, New York University

1995-2003: Assistant to Associate Professor, Hamilton College

  • EDUC 199 Undergraduate Honors Seminar
  • STS 200 Sciences of Learning
  • EDUC 250a Measurement and Inquiry in Education
  • EDUC 250c Qualitative Methods in Education
  • EDUC 346 Research Seminar in Higher Education
  • EDUC 355 Higher Education and Society
  • EDUC 376 Higher Education Leadership Colloquium
  • EDUC 418 Case Study Research

Seeing the World: How US Universities Make Knowledge in a Global Era (w/ Cynthia Miller-Idriss and Seteney Shami). Princeton University Press, 2018.

"From Soldiers to Students: The Tests of General Educational Development as Diplomatic Measurement" (w/ Ethan Hutt), Social Science History 41 (2017):731-755.

"Association, Service, Market: Higher Education in American Political Development" (w/ Ben Gebre-Medhin), Annual Review of Sociology 42 (2016):121-142.

"Football as a Status System in US Higher Education" (w/ Arik Lifschitz and Michael Sauder), Sociology of Education 87 (2014):204-219.

"A Sociology of Quantification" (w/ Wendy Nelson Espeland), European Journal of Sociology XLIX (2008):401-436.

"Sieve, Incubator, Temple, Hub: Empirical and Theoretical Advances in the Sociology of Higher Education" (w/ Elizabeth A. Armstrong and Richard Arum), Annual Review of Sociology 34 (2008):127-151.

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