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Lynch School of Education

Karen Arnold

Associate Professor

Karen Arnold, Lynch School of Education

I study the connections between education and adult life.  My research follows “best case” groups of students across the transitions from high school to college to career: high school valedictorians, Rhodes Scholars, and low income students of color from innovative high schools.  The work centers on the ways in which individual, organizational, and social factors come together to perpetuate inequality in individuals’ educational opportunities, higher education experiences, and subsequent life chances.  I also study educational conditions and interventions designed to advance human development and social equality. This practice-oriented work takes place in community-based college access organizations in the U.S. and at universities in China and elsewhere around the world. 

My graduate student teaching draws from my professional experience as a dean of students and my scholarly expertise in developmental theory and adult learning.  At the Ph.D. level, this means courses in which doctoral students discover and follow their own interests, connect to their peers, and develop the tools to become creators of knowledge.  For Master’s students, courses connect theory, professional applications, and personal experience to form them as reflective practitioners of higher education.

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