Professor Owens’ research examines how organizations negotiate diversity and difference. Using methods ranging from social experiments to analysis of large scale data from surveys and administrative records, her work advances our understanding of how evaluation practices can reproduce racial/ethnic and gender stratification. Her work also involves helping organizations to reduce racial/ethnic and gender disparities by addressing implicated psychological, organizational, and institutional processes. Professor Owens’ research has appeared in outlets including American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Sociology of Education, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Social Science & Medicine. It has been featured in NPR, BBC News, US News & World Report, Forbes, The Telegraph (UK), and Business Insider. Her work has won multiple awards, including best paper awards from the Organizations, Occupations, and Work and Sociology of Education sections of the American Sociological Association, the William T. Grant Scholars Award, and the Foundation for Child Development Young Scholars Award.
Much of Professor Owens’ work focuses on schools as organizations. To understand the factors driving social inequality in schools, she studies cases ranging from the medicalization of student behaviors through diagnoses of ADHD to the mechanisms and organizational contexts associated with racial/ethnic disparities in school discipline. In a complementary line of work, she examines processes of evaluation that shape gender and racial/ethnic disparities in hiring and promotion in organizations ranging from professional services firms to schools.
At Yale SOM, Owens is a Faculty Affiliate of The Broad Center for Transformative Leadership in Public Education. Prior to coming to Yale, Professor Owens was on faculty at Brown University.