How does your education path impact your future? Patrick Denice – Department of Sociology

My name is Patrick Denise. I’m an
Assistant Pprofessor in Sociology here at Western University. I study the
increasingly diverse ways that individuals make their way to and
through post-secondary education. When we typically think of a student on a
college or university campus, that actually describes a minority of
individuals who are pursuing advanced training or education. Individuals might
delay the transition from high school to college, attend multiple institutions, or
switch between their majors, attend University on a part-time basis. Older
adults, those in their 20s 30s and 40s, are also jumping back into formal
schooling as they seek to complete degrees they may have started but not
finished earlier in life or start new credentials in the hopes of bettering
their job prospects. These questions are important for at least three reasons:
first, individuals who’ve been underrepresented in post-secondary
education are more likely than their more advantaged peers to follow these
non-traditional and discontinuous pathways; second, these pathways lead
to lower likelihoods of actually completing a degree and lower labor
market outcomes; and, finally, post-secondary institutions, federal, state, and
provincial governments, and even employers, need to re-evaluate how well
they support the lifelong process of learning.

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