Professor: Leslie Killgore, visiting assistant professor

Department: Sociology and Anthropology

Description: The course examines the historical and contemporary purposes for higher education in American society. Through the application of sociological concepts, students analyze topics related to college life—admissions, academics and the liberal arts curriculum, and student culture and campus life—with the goal of understanding student development in college.

Requirements: Two in-class exams, three reflection assignments based on topics related to the students’ experience at Holy Cross; a team presentation; and a research project

Readings: Declining by Degrees, by Richard Hersh and John Merrow (eds.); Gatekeepers, by Jacques Steinberg; Privilege, by Ross Douthat; Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus, by Kathleen Bogle; and additional Web-based readings

Sample class: After reading a selection from Universities in the Marketplace, by Derek Curtis Bok, students discussed the impact of the forces of commercialization and consumerism in modern society on higher education, and the options of the university in its response to them.

Professor quote: “I want students to think purposefully about their own college experience and understand the context in which it takes place, as well as the forces that grant and constrain their opportunities for development.”

Professor’s bio: A member of the College faculty since 2005, Killgore received her Ph.D. from Brown University in Providence, R.I.; her dissertation, “Beyond the Merit of Test Scores: Gatekeeping in Elite College Admissions,” considers “the meanings academic and nonacademic activities of high school students hold for college admissions officers as they choose among candidates.”

Student quote: “At first my reason for taking College Life stemmed from being a student in her senior year who had completed all requirements and was looking to take a course that would involve fun/personal related material,” says Amy Archambault ’08. “After being introduced to the systems of higher education, including admissions, the education of the elite, and campus structures that promote or inhibit learning, I truly learned a lot. … As a prospective teacher, the material has been very helpful in teaching me how to engage students and better our nation’s system of higher education.”
By Pam Reponen