2021 Hinckley Lectures
Toby L. Parcel
Professor Emerita of Sociology
North Carolina State University
Each year the Marorie Pay Hinckley Chair sponsors a prominent social sciences scholar to visit BYU and share their research on a topic of interest. In 2021, Dr. Toby Parcel, emerita professor of sociology at North Carolina State University and recent program officer at the National Science Foundation, made a virtual visit and delivered a variety of online lectures. You can view the recorded presentations below.
Unpacking the Home-School Relationship: Effects on Children and Adolescents
While many factors affect student adjustment, achievement, and attainment, Dr. Parcel’s lecture focuses on what families and schools do that is most consequential and how these two institutions can work together for the greatest benefit of a child.
A key factor for success is social capital, or the healthy ties individuals have at home and school. By using a panel study that traces the effects of early experiences on later ones, Dr. Parcel’s research illuminates not only how parents’ backgrounds and choices influence children, but also how schools influence the mix.
Dr. Parcel illustrates her findings with a case study from Wake County schools in Raleigh, North Carolina, including examples of what happens when families and schools are in sync and what happens when those interactions break down.
“When schools and families are on the same page, that’s very powerful,” said Dr. Parcel during an interview. “However, family influence is stronger and longer lasting. Creating a nurturing home environment is really important — one that signals the value of education early on, is cognitively stimulating, is clean and safe, and is warm in terms of tone.”
Can You Have It All? Navigating Work and Family in the 21st Century
Many BYU students think deeply about how they will navigate educational and professional opportunities while also prioritizing commitments to family relationships and caregiving. Dr. Parcel shares lessons she’s learned as well as what her research concludes about how your career impacts your family.
Dr. Parcel has been married 40 years and with her husband they raised two children while also rising in their careers. Now, with five grandchildren, she believes that families must work together to support both adults and children in succeeding in the 21st century.
“There are many valued pathways to manage all the things you want to do — one size does not fit all,” said Dr. Parcel in an interview. “Have a long-term view and don’t feel like you have to do it all at once.”
Navigating Work and Family in the 21st Century: Lessons from Research and Life
As an academic who has studied families and as a woman who has experienced a full career and family, Dr. Parcel draws insights from her own research and experience to discuss how academics can navigate their own paths to success. She also identifies important skills to develop for those who wish to pursue administrative opportunities.
When Dr. Parcel moved to The Ohio State University, she was promoted to full professor and began her tenure in academic administration as both a department chair and associate dean. She served as a college dean at Purdue and later at North Carolina State University.
About Dr. Parcel
Toby L. Parcel is professor emerita of Sociology at North Carolina State University. She is best known for her work on families — how parents’ jobs affect children’s lives, how children build and use social capital, and the effects of social capital at home and school on child and young adult academic and social outcomes. Most recently she has studied inequality in school and neighborhood settings, which is the topic of her 2015 book with Andrew Taylor, The End of Consensus: Diversity, Neighborhoods and the Politics of Public School Assignments. Her work has also been published in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Science Research, and Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.
Dr. Parcel has also excelled as an academic administrator. Her first job in academia and where she received tenure was at the University of Iowa. She then moved to The Ohio State University, where she was promoted to full professor and served as both department chair and associate dean in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She then became the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University and then dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at North Carolina State University. She also recently completed a three-year rotation as Program Director for the Sociology Program at the National Science Foundation.
She and her husband, John Gerber, have been married for over 40 years. They have two children and five grandchildren.