Monday, December 19, 2016
How the ASA Used Social Science to Influence Policy
A staff supervisor at the St. Francis Animal Rescue of Venice, Florida, Patricia Lynn Hough received her PhD in sociology from Freie Universitaet Berlin, where she graduated magna cum laude. Patricia Lynn Hough is also a member of the American Sociological Association (ASA), where she serves on the committee on women's issues.
Established in 1905, the ASA is the premier organization for sociologists in the United States. With more than 13,000 members, the association is committed to advancing sociology not only as a profession in the service of public welfare but also as a scientific discipline.
The ASA is an active entity that uses social science to effect change. One recent example is the organization's key role in influencing the US Supreme Court’s June 2016 ruling in the affirmative action case of Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin. The case challenged the school's admission process, which used race as a factor in deciding acceptance.
For its part, the ASA supported the university in this admission model, citing scientific research that listed the educational benefits of a diverse student body, including better classroom environments and a decline in prejudice. The Supreme Court eventually sided with the university, allowing it to continue its current admission system.