Janice Aurini

Associate Professor | Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Sociology

PhD Sociology (McMaster)profile picture of Janice Aurini.

Selected Honours and Positions

2015           Outstanding Performance Award for teaching and Scholarship,  University of Waterloo
2016-2018  Editorial Board: Sociology of Education
2015-2018  Editorial Board: Canadian Review of Sociology
2013           Featured Researcher: People for Education
2011           Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania, Department of     Sociology
2006-2008  SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard University,  Department of Sociology

Research and teaching areas

  • Education
  • At Risk Youth
  • Inequality
  • Organizations and Occupations
  • Qualitative Methods

Major Projects

  • Robotics and 21st Century Competencies
  • Upper-Middle Class Parenting in Canada and the United States
  • Summer Learning Inequality (also referred to as ‘summer setback’)
  • Private Education in Canada

Broadly, my research examines issues related to education and schooling. These projects intersect with research and theories of organizations, family, inequality, and technology. As a qualitative researcher, I use a variety of techniques to answer my research questions including interviews, field research, video-recorded observations, and photo-interviewing. I have also worked on several mixed method projects. My graduate students are intimately involved in these projects, collecting data through RAs and publishing articles and chapters with me. Several of my students are using these data for their theses.

I am working on three projects funded by SSHRC and the Ontario Ministry of Education.

I recently completed a multi-method project on robotics and 21st century competencies. We conducted focus groups, interviews, video-recorded observations and surveyed educators in nine Ontario school boards (with Drs. John McLevey, Robert Gorbet and Allyson Stokes).

The second project comparatively examines upper-middle class parenting in Canada and the United States. I conducted nearly 100 interviews with parents, and am currently working on a book proposal that examines how the institutional structure of higher education shapes how higher SES parents strategize their children’s postsecondary careers.

The third project examines a key source of educational disadvantage – summer setback. Less advantaged children tend to lose literacy and numeracy skills over the summer months. This project examines the sources of these disparities and whether summer program interventions mitigate their impact. The project includes gathering quantitative and qualitative data on the effects of summer programs (with Scott Davies, Emily Milne and Cathlene Hillier).

We have conducted over 200 interviews with teachers, parents and students and have spent many hours in the field examining the relationship between families and schools. We also conducted 35 interviews with students using a photo-interviewing technique.

This research has generated a lot of media attention. Last summer I was on The Agenda and conducted almost 30 radio interviews. For example:

http://tvo.org/video/programs/the-agenda-with-steve-paikin/summer-learning-losses

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/janice-aurini-waterloo-first-summer-setback-study-in-canada-1.3721924

A sample policy report Building Confidence Making Connections: Continuing the Summer Literacy Learning Project in Ontario Schools can be found at: http://www.ontariodirectors.ca/summer_literacy.html

I am also interested in the growth and change of the private education sector in Canada. Projects on this topic include examining the rise of various forms of private education, determinants of school choice, and private education entrepreneurs. This research agenda broadly examines the growth and legitimacy of private education, and the relative impact of markets on decision-making. Most recently I co-edited a book on the global spread of supplementary education.

Finally, I recently completed an advanced qualitative methods textbook with Dr. Melanie Heath (McMaster University) and Dr. Steph Howells (University of Guelph). 

Selected publications

  • Hillier, C. and J. Aurini. Forthcoming. “What Role does the Parent-Effect Play in Child-Centered Research?:  The Case of Photo-Interviews of Children’s Home Reading Practices.” Qualitative Research.
  • Hillier, C. and J. Aurini. 2018. “The Summer Reading Blues: Children’s Accounts of Summer Literacy Practices”. In P. Albanese, L. Tepperman and E. Alexander (editors). Reading Sociology, Third Edition. Oxford University Press.
  • Aurini, J., M. Heath and S. Howells. 2016. The How To of Qualitative Research. Sage Publication, Inc.
  • Milne, E. and J. Aurini. 2015. "Schools, Cultural Mobility, and Social Reproduction: The Case of Progressive Discipline". Canadian Journal of Sociology. Vol 40(1): 51-74.
  • Davies, J. and J. Aurini. 2013.“Summer Learning Inequality in Ontario.” Canadian Public Policy. Vol 30(2): 287-307.
  • Aurini, J., S. Davies, J. Dierkes (editors) 2013 Out of the Shadows? An Introduction to World-Wide Supplementary Education. Emerald Press.
  • Aurini, J. 2012 “Patterns of Loose and Tight Coupling in a Competitive Private Education Marketplace: The Case of Learning Center Franchises.” Sociology of Education. Vol 85(4): 376-390.
  • Aurini, J. 2011 “How Upper-Middle Class Canadian Parents Understand the Transmission of Advantages.” Education and Pedagogy. Vol 23(60).
  • Aurini, J. and L. Quirke 2011 “Does Competition Encourage Strategic Action in the Private Education Sector?” Canadian Journal of Sociology. Vol 36(2): 173-197.

Example of policy reports

  • Aurini, J. and S. Davies. 2011. “Do I Have to Go Home Already? A Report on the 2011 Summer Learning Literacy Program in Ontario Schools”. Ontario Ministry of Education, Council of Directors of Education.

Editorial Board

Canadian Review of Sociology (2015-2018)

Sociology of Education (2016-2018)

 

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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