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Tina Wildhagen

Associate Professor of Sociology & Department Chair of Sociology


Wright Hall 215


Tina Wildhagen's research and teaching interests focus on social inequality in the American education system. She teaches courses on privilege and power in American education, inequality in higher education and quantitative research methods.

Much of her research and teaching investigates how the social construction of academic merit tends to favor privileged social groups. For instance, changes in the definition of academic merit over time have tended to track very closely with changes in middle class parenting practices, such that middle class students tend to adapt more quickly and effectively to changes in the definition of merit than do their less-advantaged peers.

Wildhagen’s work appears in various scholarly journals, including The Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Perspectives, The Teachers College Record, The Journal of Negro Education and Sociology Compass. She is currently working on a project examining the rise of the first-generation college student category since the late 1990s.

Office Hours

Spring 2022

Monday, 3–4 p.m.;

Thursday, 9–10 a.m.;

or by appointment using

office hours calendar


Ph.D., M.A., University of Iowa
B.A., Grinnell College