Higher Education Institutions

Remote but Influential: Peer Effects and Reflection in Online Higher Education Classrooms

Peer effects influence productivity in many settings. We examine the case of online learning where all peer effects occur virtually and asynchronously. Using data from one of the largest online universities in the United States, we estimate how the nature of peer interactions affects students’ performance in specific courses and their subsequent outcomes at the university. In the courses we examine, students are quasi-randomly assigned to peers conditional on when they enroll in the course. Thus our analysis can overcome the standard selection biases that arise in peer grouping.

Who Loses Out? Registration Order, Course Availability, and Student Behaviors in Community College

In California, the combination of budget cuts and high unemployment from the Great Recession has resulted in "overcrowded" conditions, with more students attempting to enroll in fewer available classes. State-level policy recommendations have focused on altering registration priorities to mitigate the impact of overcrowding, but it is unclear whether these changes will impact enrollment as little is known about student behavior within these systems.

Agent-based Simulation Models of the College Sorting Process

We explore how dynamic processes related to socioeconomic inequality operate to sort students into, and create stratification among, colleges. We use an agent-based model to simulate a stylized version of this sorting processes in order to explore how factors related to family resources might influence college application choices and college enrollment. We include two types of “agents”—students and colleges—to simulate a two-way matching process that iterates through three stages: application, admission, and enrollment.

Organization Theory and Higher Education

I have been a long-term student of organizations, but only an episodic student of educational organizations. I am the author or co-author of two texts that attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the state of organizations, an early text written with Peter Blau (Blau and Scott 1962/2003), and a later text that first appeared in 1981 but has been updated periodically up to the present (Scott 1981; Scott and Davis 2007).

Research Directions for Understanding Human Resources in Broad-Access Higher Education Institutions

Broad-access higher education institutions play a large and growing role in American human capital development, yet research describing how these institutions function and identifying the key elements of institutional effectiveness is sparse. Research focused on elementary and secondary education consistently demonstrates the significance of human resources – particularly teachers and school leaders - in educational production.

The Role of Intergovernmental Relations in K-12 to Higher Education Transitions

The majority of American students who successfully complete high school today reach graduation without satisfying even the minimal qualifications for admission to a four-year college or university (Green and Forster, 2003). For some students, this is neither surprising nor troubling, as they understand the paths ahead of them and have little interest in pursuing postsecondary education. For others who have done everything asked of them to receive a diploma, high school graduation brings with it a harsh lesson about the chasm between America’s K-12 and postsecondary education systems.

Broad-Access Higher Education: A Research Framework for a New Era

A report on the conference, “Reform and Innovation in the Changing Ecology of U.S. Higher Education: Inaugural Strategy Session”. Stanford University, 2-3 December 2010

Authors: Michael W. Kirst, Mitchell L. Stevens, and Kristopher Proctor

Colleges and universities with essentially open admissions enroll the vast majority of US students, yet until very recently they received only a small proportion of the social-science attention given to higher education. Academic researchers, policymakers, journalists, and the general public often are attracted to the glamour of academically selective schools - the handful of "elite" institutions to which admission is a coveted prize. This attention bias in favor of elites poses important intellectual, political, and policy problems as we consider the state of higher education in the US. It makes a small number of statistically atypical schools the implicit standard by which many others appear as lesser imitations. It fogs policy discussions with outdated conceptions of "traditional" college students on "traditional" campuses. It distracts many researchers, philanthropists, and elected officials from understanding and responding to sweeping changes in the organization of US higher education. In light of the Obama administration's ambitious new goals for college attainment, the need for researchers to assess higher education without distortion is especially important.