State Postsecondary Education Research
New Methods to Inform Policy and Practice

Paper: 978 1 57922 211 6 / $37.50
Published: April 2007  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 62036 042 2 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: December 2011  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
160 pp., 6" x 9"
Series: Stylus Higher Education Policy Series
This is an opportune time for researchers in higher education to examine policy via cross-state comparative analyses. Momentous court, legislative and policy developments that impact state-level higher education policy are emerging at a rapid rate. The states have emerged as postsecondary policy innovators in the areas of student financing, institutional accountability, and student access.

Following political scientists’ "rediscovery" of states as units of analysis--because they constitute unique "natural laboratories" for testing theory and hypotheses about political behavior and policy adoption dynamics--this book introduces this perspective as an increasingly important tool for researchers in higher education.

State Postsecondary Education Research provides an in-depth examination of the challenges and opportunities inherent in conducting cross-state higher education policy research. The authors of each chapter use their individual research projects to demonstrate the array of methodological, theoretical, analytical, and political challenges inherent in conducting comparative state-level policy research.

Among the innovative methods described is the use of pooled cross-sectional time-series analytic techniques and event history analysis--now widespread within the disciplines of economics and political science--to shift the unit of analysis from the state to the state-year, thus expanding greatly both the statistical power of the models being tested and the data-demands of those models.

The goal is to introduce comparative state-level postsecondary policy research to a broader audience, and to contribute to discussions of both the challenges and the importance of this approach to higher education policy research.

The book is intended as a resource for researchers in higher education policy and as a text for higher education policy courses. It may also appeal to scholars of educational policy as well as higher education policymakers.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Challenges of Comparative State-Level Higher Education Policy Research--Donald E. Heller, The Pennsylvania State University; The Challenges of Conducting Comparative Analyses of State-Level Policy Change Toward Community Colleges: Testing a Theory of Change Across Six Diverse States--Kathleen M. Shaw, Temple University and Thomas Bailey, Teachers College, Columbia University; Incorporating Political-System Data into Comparative-State Research on Postsecondary Policy: The Opportunities and Challenges of Space and Time--Michael K. McLendon & James C. Hearn, Vanderbilt University; The Role of Higher Education in State Budgets--Jennifer Delaney, Stanford University and Will Doyle, Vanderbilt University; Tracking How New Ideas Become Higher Education Policy and Practice: The Challenges of Gathering Comparative Policy Implementation Data--Sara Y. Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Kathleen M. Shaw, Temple University; Higher Education Resources and Performance: Challenges in Collecting Comparative Financial And Outcome Data--Will Doyle, Vanderbilt University; Setting Agendas and Developing Policies: Understanding the Politics of State Higher Education Policymaking--Christopher Mazzeo.

Reviews & Endorsements:
"The book is rich in historical and contemporary statistics on participation of students of color in advanced-degree programs. and even richer in qualitative data that gives life and voice to everyday challenges, successes, microaggressions, resilience, and coping strategies. Throughout this book, the themes of invisibility and isolation reverberate in numbers and words. Standing On the Outside Looking In should convince even the most skeptical reader that higher education is not doing enough to promote what Tuitt in his summary chapter calls 'inclusive excellence'.
Authors in this volume provide ample recommendations for educators interested in increasing the number and improving the experiences of underrepresented students in advanced-degree programs.
Standing On the Outside Looking In delivers on its promise to address access, retention, and success for underrepresented students in advanced-degree programs. The incorporation of theoretical perspectives, empirical data, and fresh voices moves the field forward. I recommend it for faculty who teach in any advanced-degree program, deans of graduate schools, and underrepresented students themselves"
- Journal of College Student Development
"Mary F. Howard-Hamilton, Carla Morelon-Quainoo, Susan Johnson, Rachelle Winkle-Wagner, and Lilia Santiague have arrayed a rich collection of articles that address critical issues affecting students of color in graduate and professional degree programs including choice, access, financial aid, retention, STEM degrees, mentoring, curricula, and spirituality. By including the voices and perspectives of students of color from varying racial and ethnic backgrounds, they illustrate the similarities and uniquenesses among and between these perspectices--a strength of this compilation of research... We believe that our field needs an ongoing discussion of policies that will improve the experience of graduate students of color... this book is a good first step in that direction."
- The Review of Higher Education