Prudence L. Carter is the E.H. and Mary E. Pardee Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley. As a sociologist, her primary research and teaching agenda focuses on causes of and solutions to enduring social and cultural inequalities in schools and education.
Dean Carter’s expertise ranges from issues of youth identity and race, class, and gender, urban poverty, social and cultural inequality, the sociology of education and mixed research methods. Specifically, she examines academic and mobility differences shaped by the effects of race, ethnicity, class, and gender in the United States and global society.
Before being appointed Dean at Berkeley, she was the Jacks Family Professor of Education and Professor of Sociology (by courtesy) at Stanford University. She was also the Faculty Director of John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, and the Director of the Research Institute for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty in 2007, she was Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University.
A product of public schools in the Mississippi Delta, Dean Carter received a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics and economics from Brown University; earned a Master of Art in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a Master of Philosophy and Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University.
Dean Carter’s award-winning book, Keepin’ It Real: School Success beyond Black and White (Oxford University Press, 2005), debates various cultural explanations used to explain school achievement and racial identity for low-income Black and Latino youth in the United States. Keepin’ It Real was recognized as the 2006 co-winner of the Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award given by the American Sociological Association (ASA) for its contribution to the eradication of racism; and a 2005 finalist for the C. Wright Mills Book Award, given by the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
Her other books include Stubborn Roots: Race, Culture, and Inequality in U.S. & South African Schools (2012), and Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance (2013), co-edited with Dr. Kevin Welner — both published by Oxford University Press. Dean Carter has also authored myriad publications for various top journals and book volumes, as well as op-eds for major newspapers. Her research and commentary have also been featured in various documentaries, including the Peabody Award-winning documentary “Mind the Gap: Why Are Good Schools Failing Black Students” by journalist Nancy Solomon, and in dozens of National Public Radio (NPR) programs across the United States.
Dean Carter is an elected a member of the Sociological Research Association; and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the William T. Grant Foundation in New York; and SOAR for Youth (Support, Opportunities, and Rapport).