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Patricia McDonough


Patricia M. McDonough (Ph.D., Stanford University, 1992) is a Professor in the Higher Education and Organizational Change Division, Vice Chair (and former Chair) of the Education Department, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.

Her research is in the areas of college access, organizational culture, and equity. Dr. McDonough has conducted research on students’ college choice decisionmaking, high school counseling, the impact of college rankings of students’ college choices, access for African-American and Latino students, rural college access, the impact of financial aid knowledge on college choice, access to historically black colleges, private college counselors, affirmative action, and college admissions officers. Dr. McDonough did the first analyses of high school’s college cultures and pioneered research on how to develop college cultures in elementary, middle and high schools.

Dr. McDonough’s book, Choosing Colleges: How Social Class and Schools Structure Opportunity (The State University of New York Press), analyzed how students chose colleges and the influence of parents, schools and colleges on that decision-making process. Dr. McDonough has also published in the Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of College Admissions, and Journal for a Just and Caring Education, and the New York Times. Dr. McDonough has published policy reports for the American Council on Education (The School–to-College Transition: Challenges and Prospects), the National Association of College Admission Counselors (Counseling and College Counseling In America’s High Schools), and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education ( State Grant Aid and Its Effects on Students’ College Choices ) .

Dr. McDonough is a member and past officer of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and the American Sociological Association. She has served on the editorial board for Sociology of Education and Review of Higher Education. Dr. McDonough is or has been a member of advisory groups for the American College Testing, Educational Testing Service, the California Postsecondary Education Commission, Pathways to College, the California Business Education Roundtable, and the California Academic Partnership Program, and is currently on the Board of Directors for the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Dr. McDonough also has been a member of several local school collaboratives to improve college access.

Pat McDonough won the 2006 UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, the “Publication of the Year” from the Postsecondary Education Division of AERA and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCLA Department of Education.

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