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Sociology Appoints Five Junior Profs

Women to Comprise Half of Dept.

By Rebecca L. Walkowitz

Even as the nationwide competition for talented young professors becomes increasingly tight, Harvard's Sociology Department has hired five new junior scholars to add to its ranks, professors said yesterday.

Although one of the five new appointees will not join the department until fall, 1991, the addition of these junior professors--three women and two men--will bring Sociology's full-time faculty ranks to 18.

"At a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit junior faculty, we are very happy to get such top people from top universities," acting-Chair Orlando Patterson said in an interview recently.

With the addition of the five young scholars, Patterson said women faculty members will constitute 50 percent of the department's professors, the highest ratio of any department in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

"I think that may be a first for Harvard--certainly among its midsize and large departments," Patterson said.

Still, Professor of Sociology Peter V. Marsden, who chaired the department's search committee, said the choice of women appointees does not reflect any special effort on his part.

"It reflects the qualifications of the people in the pool," Marsden said. "There's a lot of very skilled women being trained in sociology."

As of last year, Romance Languages and Sociology were the only two FAS departments with more than 40 percent women professors among their ranks.

Overall, 9 percent of FAS's tenured faculty members and 30 percent of its junior professors are women.

The new assistant professors for next fall are Victoria D. Alexander, who studies the sociology of culture; Kinuthia Macharia, a native of Kenya who studies Third World development; Francie Ostrower, who is interested in the structure of elite groups; Tony Tam, born in Hong Kong and a scholar of social movements and organizations. Yasemin Soysal, a native of Turkey, writes about labor importing countries and will not arrive at Harvard until 1991.

Alexander and Soysal are completing their dissertations at Stanford University, while Ostrower and Tam will receive their Ph.Ds from Yale University and the University of Chicago, respectively. Macharia received his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley in 1989.

Sociology has also appointed Steven L. Gortmaker, who now teaches in the School of Public Health, to direct a newly-established Harvard Institute of Social Research designed to encourage and promote research among faculty in the department.

Gortmaker, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1977, has published several studies on child health care and currently chairs the Department of Behavioral Sciences.

The department is still waiting for a response to a tenure offer extended to Marta Tienda, a University of Chicago expert on Hispanic studies. If Tienda accepts Harvard's position, she will be the first Hispanic woman to receive a lifetime post in FAS.

The new junior professors were chosen from an applicant pool of about 150 young sociologists, Marsden said, adding that although it is somewhat unusual to hire five scho- lars in one year, the committee had been unableto make any appointments during the previousacademic year.

"It's been a bit sparse this year," Marsdensaid, adding, "that won't happen here next year."

Patterson said the new professors are sorelyneeded to help teach a steadily increasing groupof undergraduate concentrators, which the actingchair said was attributed to shifting studentinterest.

"Many of [the nation's] large departments havean increased enrollment in sociology," Pattersonsaid. "Once again people are very concerned aboutAmerica's position in the world."

"There are serious issues out there to beaddressed and sociologists are out thereaddressing them," he added.

Sociology's new professors will teach severalundergraduate courses next year on topics rangingfrom organizational theory to development inAfrica, said James A. Davis, professor ofsociology and head tutor of the department.

"Concentrators have been increasing, and we'vebeen a little short of faculty," Davis said.

In addition to the increased undergraduateinterest in the department, Patterson said thisyear has seen a 50 percent jump in graduateapplicants.

Other departments at Harvard and across thenation reported large increases in the number ofgraduate student applicants this year, presumablybecause of a reported faculty shortage in the nearfuture

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