ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS) provides thought leadership at the intersection of public policy and institutional strategy. The Center provides senior college leaders and public policymakers with an evidence base to responsibly promote emergent practices in higher education with an emphasis on long-term and systemic solutions for an evolving higher education landscape and changing American demographic.
CPRS produces papers, issue briefs, and convenings that provide stakeholders with acute insight, rigorous analysis, and on-the-ground application. The Center approaches the study of higher education through the use of varying methodologies and data sources. Analytical frameworks include those found in research on educational equity, education policy, organizational and systems management, and disruptive innovation.
CPRS Research Themes
Re-imagining Diversity and Equity in Higher Education in the 21st Century
Over the last 40 years, college and university enrollment has quadrupled. This increased enrollment has many manifestations, not the least of which is an increase in the diversity of learners along any number of dimensions. Today’s higher education students represent many life stages and identities— racial/ethnic minority, single parent, veteran, immigrant, and at-risk young adult, to name only a few. While this diversity has been addressed in the scholarly and policy literature, it has been less explored as a systemic driver of reform and innovation in higher education.
CPRS believes that this perspective—a broader definition of diversity and its role as a driver of innovation—provides a foundation for research that will help higher education leaders and public policymakers frame the future together.
Public Finance and Higher Education Systems
U.S. higher education innovation tends to occur at the intersection of public finance and institutional strategy. For example, while the Morrill Land-Grant Act and the G.I. Bill set the stage for the development of new types of institutions, the evolution of regional land-grant universities and community colleges has taken on different forms across the nation.
Today, amid greater demand for public accountability and increased educational attainment, colleges and universities are experiencing a rapidly shifting higher education landscape, including decreased state support, changing student demographics, and integration of technology.
CPRS approaches public and institutional finance research with analytical tools from the organization management and business model literature to explore ways to promote financially sustainable institutions with robust resources and systems to deliver high-quality, affordable higher education.
Today’s higher education executives are being called on to resolve a set of diverse challenges, including lostinstitutional capacity due to an aging workforce; financial sustainability linked to both revenue constraints and increasing benefits liabilities; and faculty and board engagement in ways that increase educational and research performance.
CPRS is poised to build on ACE’s expertise in benchmarking human capital with a focus on research that empowers higher education executives to lead through evidence-driven approaches to organizational change, stakeholder engagement, and issues of governance.