Joseph Soares, Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University, is a driving force behind the national movement to rethink college admissions and adopt test-optional admissions policies. His research has shown that high school rank is actually the best predictor of college success, while performance on the standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT are closely linked to race, family income and parental educational level.
Dr. Soares’ most recent book, SAT WARS, (see: http://store.tcpress.com/0807752622.shtml) demonstrates the far-reaching and mostly negative impact of the tests on American life and calls for nothing less than a national policy change (see: http://rethinkingadmissions.blogs.wfu.edu/2011/11/09/going-against-the-sat/). His 2007 book, The Power of Privilege (Stanford: 2007) was instrumental to Wake Forest’s decision to become the first top-30 national university to go test-optional in admissions, broadening the definition of academic merit and encouraging applications from high-achieving students from a wide expanse of background and viewpoints.
He organized a national conference called “Rethinking Admissions” at Wake Forest in April 2009, which featured presidents, admissions deans and researchers from universities such as Berkeley, Duke, Georgia, Harvard, Howard, Ohio, Princeton, Spelman, Texas, Virginia, Wake Forest, and Yale (see: http://www.wfu.edu/provost/rethinkingadmissions/). He has presented at regional and national conferences of the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools, the College Board, the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
An earlier book on universities in the UK, The Decline of Privilege: the Modernization of Oxford University (Stanford 1999), won a national “outstanding book of 2000” award from the American Sociological Association.
In graduate school at Harvard University, Soares was a Krupp Fellow of the Center for European Studies; a US Congress Jacob Javits Fellow; and a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University. Before moving to Wake Forest, Dr. Soares taught as a Lecturer at Harvard and was an assistant and associate professor of Sociology at Yale University. For most of 2008, he was a member of the national education policy group for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
SOC 155: Public Culture in America
SOC 270: Sociological Theory
SOC 334: Sociology of Education
SOC 367: Sociology of Culture