Josipa Roksa

Professor of Sociology and Education

University of Virginia Sociology Department
Randall 206
P.O. Box 400766
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Office Hours:
Research Interests:

Social Inequality, Sociology of Education, Stratification

To what extent does education amplify, preserve, or reduce social inequality? This has been the central question guiding Professor Roksa’s scholarly inquiry.

Professor Roksa’s current research focuses on understanding the experiences and outcomes of first-generation and low-income students, and more broadly the role of socioeconomic status in shaping students’ trajectories through both undergraduate and graduate education.  In addition, she is examining how students’ experiences vary by race/ethnicity, particularly in STEM fields.  Current projects are charting coursework trajectories, considering the role of family support, and exploring students’ interactions with faculty and peers, all with the goal of understanding the mechanisms that generate social inequality.

In her earlier work, Professor Roksa has explored inequalities in learning (and specifically development of critical thinking skills in college) and K-12 education.

Professor Roksa currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Provost and Director of Strategic Academic Programs in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.


Selected Publications


Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa
Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses
Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2011.

Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa
Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates
Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2014.

Richard Arum, Josipa Roksa, and Amanda Cook
Improving Quality in American Higher Education: Learning Outcomes and Assessments for the 21st Century
Jossey-Bass, 2016.


Recent Articles

Roksa, Josipa, Blake Silver, Denise Deutschlander, Sarah Whitley. 2020 “Navigating the First Year of College: Siblings, Parents, and First-Generation Students’ Experiences.” Sociological Forum.

Miller, Candace, and Josipa Roksa. 2020. “Balancing Research and Service in Academia: Gender, Race, and Laboratory Tasks.” Gender & Society 34: 131-152.

Roksa, Josipa, Denise Deutschlander, and Sarah E. Whitley. 2020. “Parental Validation, College Experiences, and Institutional Commitment of First-Generation and Low-Income Students.” Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.

Roksa, Josipa. 2019. “Intergenerational Exchange of Support: Resource Dilution and Increased Contribution in Low-Income Families.” Journal of Marriage and Family 81: 601-615.

Roksa, Josipa and Blake Silver. 2019. “Do-It-Yourself” University: Institutional and Family Support in the Transition Out of College.” Review of Higher Education 42: 1051-1071.

Roksa, Josipa, and Peter Kinsley. 2018. “The Role of Family Support in Facilitating Academic Success of Low-Income Students.” Research in Higher Education. (published online June 2018)

Hamilton, Laura, Josipa Roksa, and Kelly Nielsen. 2018. “Providing a "Leg Up": Parental Involvement and Opportunity Hoarding in College.Sociology of Education 91: 111-131.

Roksa, Josipa, David Feldon, and Michelle Maher. 2018. “First-Generation Students in Pursuit of the Ph.D.: Comparing Socialization Experiences and Outcomes to Continuing-Generation Peers.” Journal of Higher Education 89: 728-752.

Tyson, Will, and Josipa Roksa. 2017. “Importance of Grades and Placement in Math Attainment.” Educational Researcher 46: 140-142.

Blake, Silver, and Josipa Roksa. 2017. “Navigating Uncertainty and Responsibility: Understanding Inequality in the Senior-Year Transition.” Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice 54: 248-260.

Roksa, Josipa, and Karen Robinson. 2017. “Cultural Capital and Habitus in Context: The Importance of High School College-Going Culture.” British Journal of Sociology of Education 38: 1230-1244.

Roksa, Josipa, Cindy A. Kilgo, Teniell L. Trolian, Ernest T. Pascarella, Charles Blaich and Kathleen S. Wise. 2017. “Engaging with Diversity: How Positive and Negative Diversity Interactions Shape Students’ Cognitive Outcomes.” The Journal of Higher Education 88: 297-322.

Roksa, Josipa, Teniell L. Trolian, Charles Blaich and Kathleen S. Wise. 2017. “Facilitating Academic Performance in College: Understanding the Role of Clear and Organized Instruction.” Higher Education 74:283-300.

Roksa, Josipa, Teniell L. Trolian, Ernest T. Pascarella, Cindy A. Kilgo, Charles Blaich and Kathleen S. Wise. 2017. “Racial Inequality in Critical Thinking Skills: The Role of Academic and Diversity Experiences.” Research in Higher Education 58: 119-140.

Roksa, Josipa, and Sarah Whitley. 2017. “Fostering Academic Success of First-Year Students: Exploring the Role of Motivation, Race, and Faculty.” Journal of College Student Development 58: 333-348.

ORCID: 0000-0003-2757-5982