The University of Texas at Austin
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32nd Annual Honors Colloquium Opening Plenary

The Science of Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Abstract

The ups and downs of adolescence and young adulthood have long fascinated social and behavioral scientists, especially now that these stages of life are evolving in complex and confusing ways.  Dramatic changes in the American population, economy, educational system, and culture have led changes in how adults view young people; particularly, about when they are seen as independent and responsible adults in their own right rather than as their parents‘ children not yet ready for the “real world”.  Indeed, our conception of adolescence has expanded so much that the early 20s—once the certifiable start of adulthood when young people took on adult roles in society—are now more of an extended adolescence, a period of “adultolescence” if you will. This lecture will highlight some points of research and policy to illuminate how this lengthening of the teenage years has happened and what it means for youth entering college today.

Biography

Dr. Robert (Rob) Crosnoe, the Elsie and Stanley E. (Skinny) Adams, Sr. Centennial Professor in Liberal Arts and a faculty member in the Department of Sociology, Population Research Center, and Department of Psychology (by courtesy). 

Dr. Crosnoe holds a B.A. in Plan II Honors from the University of Texas at Austin, received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before returning to Austin in 2001. He studies the connections among health, human development, and education and how these connections contribute to societal inequality, with an emphasis on schools, families, social class, and immigration. His books include _Fitting In, Standing Out: Navigating the Social Challenges of High School to Get an Education_ (Cambridge 2011), which explores the long-term disruption to the educational trajectories of teenagers who do not fit in socially at school, and _Mexican Roots, American Schools: Helping Mexican Immigrant Children Succeed_ (Stanford 2006), which examines how the children of Mexican immigrants make the transition into U.S. schools.

Professor Crosnoe teaches Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of the Family, and Difficult Dialogues: Race and Social Policy in the U.S. on the undergraduate level. He is also faculty member in the Children and Society Bridging Disciplines Program for undergraduates at UT as well as the Signature Course Advisory Panel.  He was the 2011-12 winner of the Dads’ Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship.