The History of Higher Education in California: Big Data Approach

Lecture | April 6 | 10-11:30 a.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Zach Bleemer


In his talk, Zach Bleemer will discuss how he has used data science - thousands of computer-processed versions of annual registers, directories, and catalogs - to reconstruct a near-complete database of all students, faculty, and courses at four-year universities in California in the first half of the 20th century, including the UC system. Visualizations of this database display the expansion of higher education into rural California communities, the rise and fall of various academic departments and disciplines, and the slow (and still-incomplete) transition towards egalitarian major selection. Zach will also discuss his recent CSHE Working Paper, in which he uses additional digitized records to analyze the social impact of the early 20th century's expansion of female high school science teachers and female doctors across rural California communities. He finds that newly-arrived female STEM professionals serve as important role models for young women in these rural communities, causing substantial increases in female college-going. However, these young women are no more likely to study STEM fields or become doctors themselves. He is currently extending these results to estimate ethnicity-based role model effects., 510-643-8766