Higher education has experienced profound transformation since the early 1980s. The signposts of this transformation include decreased state funding, heightened external scrutiny and accountability demands, increased reliance upon private sources of money, and elevated expectations that colleges and universities contribute to economic competitiveness. My research pursues a deeper understanding of the origins, manifestations, and consequences of this transformation. More specifically, I tend to be interested in questions of money, markets, and policy-making. Methodologically, my studies employ qualitiative, quantitative, and mixed-methods strategies--thanks in large measure to collaborating with outstanding colleagues. Conceptually, my work is often informed by critical education scholarship and draws insight from new institutionalism, academic capitalism, social capital, and policy networks.
[NEW!] FUNDRAISING CHALLENGES AND STRATEGIES AT PUBLIC REGIONAL UNIVERSITIES
Building upon prior research involving interviews with presidents at public regional universities, I built a team of doctoral studies to more deeply examine a trend in our dataset, which focused on fundraising challenges at these institutions. We added to our existing data by interviewing an additional 11 chief fundraising officers, exploring not only unique challenges these institutions experience with philanthropic giving, but also their strategies for navigating these challenges. This study aims to shed light on what can reasonable expect from private giving and make the case for better supporting public regional universities.
[NEW] PRIVATIZATION AND COST EFFICIENCY AT PUBLIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES
In collaboration with Marvin Titus and Adriana Vamosiu, I'll helping to examine how increasing reliance on revenue sources like tuition, auxiliary services, and private gifts influences cost efficiency at public research universities. Some observers have explicitly argued that public universities acting more like private universities may make them more efficient. This argument has not been empirically tested, and so we aim to better understand how declining state support and attendant increases in other revenue sources affects spending and cost efficiency at these institutions.
THE ROLE OF REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE INSTITUTIONS IN COLLEGE ACESS AND AFFORDABILITY
With support from UNCW's Cahill grant program, I'll be continuing my research on regional comprehensive institutions. The goal of this study is to focus on the (a) unique histories, (b) defining characteristics, (c) effective practices, and (d) strategic priorities of regional comprehensive institutions, with particular emphasis on their contributions to access and affordability. The study seeks to reveal what these institutions do well and why they matter. In the process, the study will make the case that regional comprehensive institutions should be elevated in national discussions about the future of American higher education and receive funding commensurate with their value to both society and economy.