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James E. Rosenbaum

James E. Rosenbaum

  • Professor, Human Development and Social Policy
  • Professor, Sociology
  • Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research

2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208
Curriculum Vitae

Affiliated Center(s)

Institute for Policy Research

Research Interests

High schools, community colleges, youth transitions to work and adulthood; School and college reform and restructuring; Sociology of education.


Education researcher James Rosenbaum is an expert on the college-for-all movement, college attendance and coaches, high-school-to-work transitions, and linkages among students, schools, and employers.

A specialist in research on work, education, and housing opportunities, Rosenbaum has published six books, including Bridging the Gaps: College Pathways to Career Success and After Admission: From College Access to College Success. His research has contributed to the design of award-winning community college reforms, federal and state policies, and programs to improve college access for low-income students.

For two decades, he conducted an extensive research project on the effects of relocating poor inner-city black families in public housing to subsidized housing in the white middle-class suburbs of Chicago. This quasi-natural experiment, known as the Gautreaux Program, has enabled him to study the effects of these moves on children’s educational outcomes and job opportunities, as well as the social and economic effects on the mothers.

These studies encouraged the federal government to create its Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program, implemented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Rosenbaum has testified before Congressional committees on several occasions. He is a member of the Technical Review Panel for the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) in the U.S. Department of Education.


  • PhD, Sociology, Harvard University, 1973
  • MA, Sociology, Harvard University, 1968
  • BA, Culture and Behavior, Yale University, 1966

Awards and Honors

  • 2019 – Elizabeth G. Cohen Distinguished Career in Applied Sociology of Education Award
  • 2008 – The Senior Urban Education Fellowship
  • 2006 – Invited and Attended the Board of Trustees meeting

Selected Publications

Rosenbaum, James, Ahearn, C. Rosenbaum, Janet. (September, 2017). Bridging the Gaps College Pathways to Career Success. The Russell Sage Foundation.

Rosenbaum, J. [James], C. Ahearn, J. Rosenbaum [Janet], and K. Becker. (2016). Beyond earnings and social reproduction. The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences: 2(1): 90-110.

Ahearn, C. J. Rosenbaum [James], and J. Rosenbaum [Janet]. (2016). The new college-for-all policy: What educators need to know about community college credentials. PhiDelta Kappan: 97(5): 49-53..

Rosenbaum, J. [James], C. Ahearn, and J. Rosenbaum [Janet] (2016). The community college option. Education Leadership: 73(6): 48-53.

Rosenbaum, J., K. Becker, K. Cepa, and C. Zapata-Gietl. (2015). Turning the question around: Do colleges fail to meet students’ expectations. Research in Higher Education: 57: 519-43.

Zapata, C., J. Rosenbaum, C. Ahearn, and K. Becker. (2015). Connections between educational systems and labor markets. Handbook of the Life Course.

Rosenbaum. J. [James], J. Rosenbaum [Janet], J. Stephan, A. Foran, and P. Schuetz. (2015). Beyond BA blinders: Cultural impediments to college success. My 4-year degree was the longest 8 years of my life. The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth.

Rosenbaum, J.,Deil-Amen, R., Person A. (March, 2009). After Admission From College Access to College Success. The Russell Sage Foundation.

Rosenbaum, J.E. (December, 2008). Passing the Torch: Does Higher Education for the Disadvantaged Pay Off Across the Generations? A review. Teachers College Record.

Rosenbaum and Lisbeth Goble (2008). Questioning our assumptions about college requirements in Morton Schapiro and Michael McPherson, eds, College Success: What it Means and How to Make it Happen (pp. 107-118). Macmillan.