On February 2nd, faculty and staff members from Dartmouth and beyond gathered at the Rockefeller Center to discuss the current research of Janice M. McCabe, an Assistant Professor of Sociology whose area of expertise includes gender, education, and youth studies. With a focus in research that investigates youth culture and social networks, Janice McCabe recently completed a manuscript tentatively titled, "Friends with Academic Benefits: Networks Matter During and After College." Andrew Samwick, Professor of Economics and Director of the Rockefeller Center, facilitated the three-hour discussion, which intended to offer constructive criticism of the manuscript at the pre-publication stage.
The formal manuscript review process brought together not only Dartmouth faculty members, but also leading scholars in the field from the Ohio State University and the University of Pennsylvania. McCabe said, "Generous funding from Rocky allowed me to invite two of the top scholars in the field to come to Hanover for the seminar, and I also got to invite whomever I wanted from campus as well." McCabe invited faculty members from six different disciplines across campus, including the Sociology, Economics, and Math departments as well as the Tuck School of Business.
Christianne Wohlforth, an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Government Department, lauds the formal manuscript review seminar as "an exceptionally supportive mechanism for the promotion of faculty research and publication." She said, "Professor McCabe's review gathered a truly interdisciplinary gathering of sociologies, economists, political scientists and education specialists, whose comments will help her frame her book so that it can be of use to all these disciplines." In the same vein, McCabe also acknowledged the immense benefit of having gone through the process. She commented, "It will be a much better book having gone through peer review in an interdisciplinary discussion forum where people can bounce ideas off of each other. I'm very thankful for this opportunity from the Rockefeller Center."
Although the formal manuscript review process is relatively new to the Rockefeller Center, it is not novel to Dartmouth College. Both the Dickey Center for International Understanding and the Leslie Center for the Humanities have hosted formal manuscript reviews in the past. According to Andrew Samwick, the Rockefeller Center intends to make manuscript reviews a regular part of its offerings to faculty across the Social Sciences as a result of the success of McCabe's recent review. He commented, "Such a wide range of thoughtful comments will contribute to a final manuscript that is more convincing and better articulated."
The product of research that began 12 years ago, McCabe's manuscript explores different types of relationships and networks formed in college. Drawing on extensive interviews with students conducted at a large, public midwestern university, she performed network analysis and drew sociograms (social network maps) to critically examine the academic and social consequences of having these different networks.
"One reason I chose to do this is because friendships are really important to college students," she says, "and yet academically we know very little about these relationships." McCabe's book will also examine the outcome and the consequences of these friendships after graduation, both socially (in terms of their friend networks) and professionally, offering insight to sociologists and to university administrators on the factors of student success in college. She is scheduled to publish in the fall of 2016 with the University of Chicago Press.
Although currently on maternity leave, McCabe will be teaching a research methods course in the Sociology department as well as a course entitled, "Education and Inequality" when she returns in the fall. The receipt of this preliminary feedback on her manuscript will go a long way in aiding her final revisions prior to submission for publication. She remarked, "I know that this will be a better book now that I've received so many thoughtful comments as a result of the formal manuscript review, thanks to the Rockefeller Center."
Written by Courtney Wong '15, Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant