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CPRS Blog Posts

December 30, 1899


Practicing Vigorous Civility

We are facing a crisis of speech in the United States, a turmoil over how to speak to each other across lines of difference. And nowhere is this strain more sharply felt than at colleges and universities, writes Frederick Lawrence.

When College Feels Like the End Rather Than the Beginning

Kelly Davis, director of peer advocacy at Mental Health America, looks at how college students are leading the way to change campus mental health. This post is the latest in our series on College Student Mental Health and Well-Being.

The Paradox of Free Speech in America Today

Sanford J. Ungar, president emeritus of Goucher College, former host of All Things Considered on NPR, and director of the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University describes the difficulty Americans and higher education institutions face today in figuring out what free speech means and how to implement it with reasonable, common-sense standards.

The Hard Work of Innovative Presidents and Teams​

A group of 15 current and former higher education leaders met recently to discuss ACE’s American College President Study. Their conclusion: Innovative leadership is more about responding effectively to challenges than it is about predicting the future or having the newest idea.​

The Mental and Physical Well-Being of Incoming Freshmen: Three Decades of Research​

How have the health concerns of freshman college students have changed in recent decades? Ellen Bara Stolzenberg of the Higher Education Research Institute shares insights from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program's annual Freshman Survey.

MSIs Are a Viable Path up the Economic Ladder​

New data show that minority serving institutions are transforming the lives and income mobility of students of color and students from low-income backgrounds—in many cases, at rates exceeding that of non-MSIs.​

Why We Should Partner with Students to Address Campus Mental Health

Students know students, says Laura Horne, director of programs for Active Minds. Engaging them as equal partners in improving mental health on campus can make all the difference.

Enhancing the Quality of the International Student Experience​

What can colleges and universities do to counteract the message that the United States is no longer a welcoming environment for international students and scholars? Some institutions are finding success in thinking more holistically about the entire international student experience, from initial contact through alumni status.​

Climate, Mentoring, and Persistence Among Underrepresented STEM Doctoral Students

To ensure true equity and success for underrepresented students in STEM, institutional efforts to increase demographic diversity through recruitment must be accompanied by the creation of an inclusive environment where students can thrive.​

Better Together: Higher Education and the Federal Government Explore Evidence for the Value of College Degrees

In 2017, The University of Texas System entered into a 10-year partnership contract with the U.S. Census Bureau, subsequently creating a pathway for all institutions of higher education and state education authorities to access critical data needed to show the value of a college degree. The result was seekUT, a web tool that provides students and families an easy way to see salaries of graduates by program of study compared to student debt.​

Disconnections Between Research and Practice in STEM Education

An overarching goal of STEM education research is to identify how to improve STEM learning environments through the lenses of education and social science. To make this work most effectively, this research needs to be shared with individuals directly involved in teaching or managing STEM courses. Ahlam Lee of Xavier University discusses how to make this happen.​

It Doesn't Always Get Better for Queer-Spectrum and Trans-Spectrum College Students​

Many queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum students continue to navigate stigma, peer aggression, and exclusion well into their college years. Researchers are beginning to capture their experiences, which could help lead the way to change​.

STEM Climate for Students with Disabilities​

More students with disabilities of all types are enrolling in postsecondary education institutions than ever before. Yet fewer of them persist to graduation relative to their peers without disabilities, and still fewer graduate with science, technology, engineering, or mathematics degrees. Rachel Friedensen, postdocotoral research associate at Iowa State University, examines this dilemma.​

HBCUs, Black Women, and STEM Success

While HBCUs do their share of producing black graduates with STEM degrees, there is a greater need for equity throughout the education pipeline and in workforce hiring practices, writes Howard University’s Caroline Harper.​

College on the Autism Spectrum​

Most first-time college students face challenges adjusting to new academic demands and campus life. For students on the autism spectrum, these challenges can be overwhelming—but with the proper support, they don’t have to be.

Why Social Interactions Matter for Our Conversations About Campus Climates and STEM

Students’ social interactions and views of race and inequality are shaped by the climate on campus, which could explain some of the disparities in the STEM fields, writes W. Carson Byrd of the University of Louisville.

Addressing STEM Culture and Climate to Increase Diversity in STEM Disciplines

Despite millions of dollars in science diversity programs designed to shift patterns of representation in the STEM fields, minoritized populations continue to be underrepresented. The University of Maryland’s Kimberly Griffin looks at the need to attend to both STEM culture and institutional climate to cultivate more inclusive learning environments and increase diversity.

Free Speech and Campus Inclusion: A Survey of College Presidents

ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy fielded its second national Pulse Point survey of college and university presidents in February to better understand their viewpoints on and experiences with free speech and campus inclusion.

For College Students and Presidents Alike, Free Speech Is a Balancing Act

In February of this year, ACE fielded a national survey of college and university presidents to better understand their thoughts and experiences with the pressing issues of free speech and campus inclusion. Comparing our findings with Knight and Gallup’s 2017 survey of college students on the First Amendment, it may be that campus leaders and their students are more aligned on these issues than we believe or the media often depicts.

College Students of Color: Confrontine the Complexities of Diversity, Culture, and Mental Health

Annelle Primm of The Steve Fund discusses the need for the higher education community to institute policies and procedures to support the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color. This post is the first in a series on college student mental health and well-being.

Free Expression on Campus: Presidents Respond to 2018 Knight-Gallup Survey of College Students​

The Knight Foundation has released an updated version of its survey on how college students see the First Amendment—and what they think about the relationship between inclusion and free expression. Seven college presidents and chancellors respond to the results.​

Fulfilling Lifelong Dreams: College Promise Programs for Adult Learners

Louis Soares and Morgan Taylor present a case for expanding Promise Programs—which help students complete their degree—to the adult student population.

Understanding Latinx College Student Diversity and Why It Matters

As Latinx postsecondary enrollments increase, understanding this population of students could cultivate more inclusive campus climates that enhance student success.​

Pan-Asian Student Classifications in Higher Education: What the Data Do and Don't Tell Us

In supporting an inclusive campus environment at colleges and universities, Asian Americans are an often-overlooked part of the equation. Reasons for this vary. But as demographics shift, issues of diversity increase in importance and institutional policies and practices need to address the complexity of populations that fall under pan-ethnic categorizations such as Asian American. To deconstruct the notion of Asian American students as a monolith and advocate for data disaggregation to support their educational experience and success, Jennifer Crandall writes, we must first understand popular misconceptions that feed these stereotypes.​

Big Data on Campus​

As drivers of social mobility, economic growth, and community development, U.S. colleges and universities have long been regarded as among the best in the world. However, some stakeholders have begun to question whether that will remain true in the future. Can the better use of data help?​

Foster Care Youth and Postsecondary Education: The Long Road Ahead

Between 20,000 and 25,000 young adults age out of foster care each year. While they face a wide range of challenges, a college education is as important to them as it is to other young adults. Amy Dworsky of the University of Chicago looks at the challenges they face.

Serving Post-traditional Learners

What do we know about post-traditional learners, and how can we better help them earn the higher education credentials they need to succeed? Jonathan Gagliardi and Louis Soares on the results of a new ACE report, The Post-traditional Learners Manifesto Revisited.

The Evolving Nature of the College Presidency​

While rewarding, being a college president has always been hard work. Today, environmental and industry pressures have converged to make leading an institution more complex than ever before. Jonathan Gagliardi looks at ACE’s recent report, the American College President Study 2017, and the future of the presidency in the 21st century.​

Moving Away from Data Invisibility at Tribal Colleges and Universities​

The invisibility of Native American perspectives—those of Native students, researchers and their communities—continues to plague higher education, despite numerous calls for action from educational advocates across the country. Christine Nelson of the University of Denver considers what can be done to solve this problem.​

AANAPISIs: Ensuring Success for Asian American and Pacific Islander Students

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions play a unique role in ensuring success for a complex, heterogeneous, and quickly growing population of students, according to Dina C. Maramba of Claremont Graduate University.​

How Predominantly Black Institutions Help Low-Income, First-Generation African American Students Succeed

Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) are not well understood in the higher education lexicon, despite serving a large number of students of color: namely, a large number of black or African Amer­ican students. Robert T. Palmer and Jared Avery of Howard University look at the role of PBIs in facilitating access and success for low-income, first-generation students of color.​

Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Fostering Familial Learning Environments for Student Success

By embracing expansive ideas of success, HBCU leaders inspire their students to strive beyond degree completion and understand how collaboration, civic engagement, and entre­preneurship are essential attributes in a new knowledge economy and global citizenry.​

Helping College Students Make Informed Student Loan Decisions​

Recent surveys demonstrate that many college students do not know whether they have borrowed or how much debt they have accrued during college. What can higher education institutions—and the federal government—do to help?​

A Closer Look at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

With the increase in Latinx students enrolling in postsecondary education and the subsequent increase in the number of HSIs, these institutions should remain at the top of all policy priority agendas, write Gina Garcia and Morgan Taylor.​

Diversity Among Higher Education Admission Professionals Is More Important Than Ever

As the high school population in the United States grows increasingly diverse, so too should those professionals who work on college campuses. Diversity is especially critical in college and university admission offices, write David Hawkins and Tara Nicola of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Looking Ahead to Diversifying the College Presidency​

Despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that set a clearer path for women and minorities pursuing top leadership positions in both the public and private sectors, they remain underrepresented—including in higher education. A new data tool linked to ACE’s American College President Study 2017 helps explain what it will take for the presidency to reach gender and racial parity.​

Policy Levers Leading the Way to Reentry for Incarcerated Students​

We know that postsecondary education changes lives and provides a stepping-stone to prosperity. Though we recognize education’s transformative power, those who stand to benefit the most are often cut off from access—especially individuals in the criminal justice system, write Julie Ajinkya and Allison Beer of the Institute for Higher Education Policy and Caroline Cox of George Washington University.​

Minority Serving Institutions Perform Better Than Federal Graduation Rates Suggest

A new report out from ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy aims to provide a more complete picture of the contributions MSIs make to the higher education landscape and the communities in which they reside. CPRS' Morgan Taylor shares the upshot: Ensuring the success of students of color requires further investment in the very institutions that educate them.​

Geography and College Attainment: A Place-Based Approach​

Place is an influential determinant of college opportunity and success. But geography should not be destiny. States and higher education institutions should adopt policies and practices that recognize place-based disadvantage, write Roman Ruiz and Laura W. Perna of the University of Pennsylvania.​

Building Family-Friendly Campuses: Strategies to Promote College Success Among Student Parents

While the share of parents enrolled in college has been steadily growing—according to the most recent data, the proportion of students with dependent children has increased 30 percent from 2004-12—the share of parenting students who complete college remains low. Melanie Kruvelis of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research looks at steps institutions can take to better understand and support students with families.

Food Is a Basic Need: Dealing With Hunger on College Campuses

Wick Sloane writes that more data is needed on the issue of campus hunger before a comprehensive solution can be advanced—and on that score, an upcoming study from Government Accountability Office is a welcome development.


A New Accountability for Broadening Participation in STEM

Developing an appropriate accountability system for broadening participation is crucial to achieving a STEM workforce that reflects the diversity of the American population. Colleges and universities, on the front line of STEM research and education, must lead the way.

How Should We Think About College Affordability?

Before colleges can constructively evaluate and improve their pricing and financial aid policies, they should have a solid understanding of what should go into determining how realistic it is for students and families in different circumstances to pay for the education offered, writes the Urban Institute’s Sandy Baum.


The Whys and Hows of Shared Leadership in Higher Education

Elizabeth Holcombe and Adrianna Kezar of the University of Southern California look at the possibilities of shared leadership for the higher education sector, which they say will ultimately allow campuses to become more nimble in a complex, constantly changing environment.


Reducing Barriers to Transfer for Community College Students

While access to a high-quality and affordable college education is essential, access means little if students are unable to meet their educational goals once they arrive, writes CPRS Senior Policy Research Analyst Jon Turk. A new brief from ACE and Hobsons explores upward transfer—the movement from a community college to a four-year institution—for students who matriculate soon after high school.


LGBTQ Students on Campus: Issues and Opportunities for Higher Education Leaders

Aligning policy, practice, programming and pedagogy to support LGBTQ students remains a challenge and an opportunity for higher education leaders, writes Michigan State University's Kristen Renn.


Crossing Borders: Helping Colleges and Universities Jumpstart the Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion

A major challenge confronting U.S. colleges and universities today is the need to disentangle the complexities of diversity, social justice and free speech. Graduate Research Associates from CPRS - Vincent Carales, Wei-Lin Chen, Jermain Griffin, and Sue-Yeon Song - talked to Crossing Borders Education founder Arnd Wächter about his organization and its work promoting dialogue as a way to build diversity and inclusion.


College Promise Programs: Designing Programs to Achieve the Promise​

Promise programs have the potential to increase higher education attainment and close persisting gaps, write Laura Perna & Elaine Leigh. But success depends on how the programs are structured, implemented and sustained.​


Aligning Demographic Shifts and College Participation: Increasing Latino Degree Attainment

Delma Ramos and Morgan Taylor from ACE's Center for Policy Research and Strategy look at the importance of increasing attainment for Latino students, the largest minority group and the second largest racial/ethnic group in the country.​  


Higher Education Can Lead the Way Toward a More Tolerant Society

As Americans, we are privileged to have the world’s premier system of higher education, writes ACE’s Lorelle Espinosa. And as a laboratory for ideas and exchange, higher education can further lead the way to a more tolerant society through the actions of its leaders and the engagement of its whole community of learners.


The American College President: Reflections and New Developments for ACE's Signature Study​

Liz Howard and Walter Parrish from ACE's Center for Policy Research and Strategy discuss the eighth edition of the American College President Study.


"Am I overreacting?" Understanding and Combating Microaggressions

Gina A. Garcia and Jennifer R. Crandall discuss racial microaggressions on U.S. college and university campuses.


Affirming Racial Diversity: Student Affairs as a Change Agent

Amelia Parnell of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education looks at the role student affairs professionals can plan in advocating for diversity on their campus.


Lead with Data. Inspire with Leadership.

Bob Shea of the National Association of College and University Business Officers on the critical importance of strong leadership for economic or business model transformation at colleges and universities.


The Past Can't Be Prologue

Dennis P. Jones, president emeritus of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, introduces new configurations for institutions challenged by sustainable cost containment and improved educational outcomes. 


The Price We Pay for Bad Data on College Costs

Matthew Soldner of the American Institutes for Research argues that institutional leaders need better data on institutional spending and how that spending can be leveraged to support students and communities.  


Addressing Islamophobia on College Campuses

Mary Ann Bodine Al-Sharif and Penny A. Pasque discuss the climate at U.S. colleges and universities for Muslim students, faculty and staff. 


Dynamic Diversity: How Campus Leaders Can Respond to Student Protests 

Liliana Garces and Uma Jayakumar on a new model for understanding critical mass, promoting inclusive environments and facilitating the benefits of educational diversity on campus.


Racial Climate on Campus: A Survey of College Presidents

Lorelle Espinosa, Hollie Chessman and Lindsay Wayt of ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy on how presidents have responded to recent student protests and demands for campus diversity and inclusion, the latest post in a series.


Embracing Student Activis

Cassie Barnhardt of the University of Iowa and Kimberly Reyes of the University of Michigan on the need for campus leaders to engage student activism so higher education can continue to be an agent of social change.​


Reconsidering the Pipeline Problem: Increasing Faculty Diversity​

Kimberly A. Griffin writes that a pathway is a better metaphor than a pipeline when considering how to diversify college and university faculty. This is the third in a series sparked by recent student protests and the national dialogue on diversity and inclusion. 


Breaking the Cycle

Anne-Marie Nuñez suggests looking to Hispanic-Serving Institutions as a model for how to build an inclusive campus racial climate. This is the second in a CPRS blog series sparked by recent student protests and the national dialogue on diversity and inclusion.​


What are Students Demanding?

ACE’s Hollie Chessman and Lindsay Wayt analyze the demands from student organizers across 76 higher education institutions and coalitions. This post is the first in a series sparked by recent student protests and the national dialogue on diversity and inclusion.​


Talking about Race, Class, and College Access​

ACE’s Lorelle Espinosa and Matthew Gaertner of Pearson’s Center for College & Career Success discuss the takeaways from a recent convening on college access and success for minority and low-income students.  


Food for Thought: The Link Between MSIs and Agriculture​

Summer 2015 Graduate Research Associate, Brittini Brown, explains why it is imperative that Land-Grant Universities engage in partnerships to produce the graduates of color needed for the STEM workforce to feed the growing U.S. and global population.


Fighting Food Insecurity on Campus

Christopher Nellum, Senior Policy Research Analyst for ACE’s Center for Policy and Research Strategy, looks at what we can do about the problem, which has grown significantly in the years since the Great Recession.​​ 


Mapping New Pathways for Native Youth

As the White House gears up to host the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering this July, former Graduate Research Associate for ACE's Center for Policy Research and Strategy, Christine Nelson, looks at efforts to expand higher education opportunities for American Indian and Alaskan Native students.  


Where Are the Women in STEM?

Lorelle Espinosa, Assistant Vice President of ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS) looks at recent data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center and considers why we are still asking this question.


From Access to Graduation: Supporting Post-9/11 Undergraduate Student Veterans

ACE’s Tanya Ang and former CPRS Research Associate Dani Molina look at what it takes for today’s student veterans to succeed in college.


Who’s Missing From This Picture? Single Parent Students

Christopher J. Nellum, Senior Policy Research Analyst for CPRS and Mekaelia Davis from Ascend at the Aspen Institute on the importance of considering the needs of single parent students.


It’s Not Just in the Numbers: Making Campus Diversity Work Post-Schuette

Lorelle Espinosa of CPRS looks at the day-to-day work of creating a healthy environment for diversity on campus.


The Times Takes on STEM. What Can Higher Ed Do?

Lorelle Espinosa of CPRS looks at The New York Times‘ recent series on diversity in STEM education.


Now What? Some Insights From OECD’s Adult Skills Survey

ACE's Louis Soares, Vice President of Policy Research and Strategy, and Jennifer R. Crandall, Graduate Research Associate examine findings from the latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on adult skills and discusses implications for educational policy and adult learners.


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