2014 HEC Events

April 29

Higher Education Collaborative Brown Bag

"Ethnic Heterogeneity, Group Antagonism, and State Financial Support for Higher Education"

John Foster

      Assistant Professor

      Public Administration and Policy Analysis

      Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Location: Education, Room 333

Time: 12 - 1pm

Description: A growing literature suggests that increased ethnic diversity may lead to lower public expenditures. This inverse relationship may be attributable to the diversity in policy preferences which tends to coincide with ethnic diversity. When policy preferences vary widely among constituents, the subjective benefits of collective action--and therefore public spending--are reduced. Further, the subjective benefits of public spending may also be lower when the beneficiaries are viewed as ethnic outsiders. For these reasons, ethnic diversity may steer the political process toward a lower level of overall public spending. However, this negative effect may be offset by positive social contact between ethnic groups, which may serve to alleviate distrust, reduce prejudice, and foster empathy that spans ethnic boundaries.

Accordingly, the authors investigate the effects of ethnic diversity on state higher education spending with a model that allows the effect of ethnic diversity to be mediated by the degree of positive social contact between groups, which we measure with the intermarriage rate. We find that increased ethnic diversity yields a statistically significant and negative impact on state appropriations to universities, but only in states with low intermarriage rates. The magnitude of the negative effect diminishes with the rate of intermarriage. We discuss these results within the context of continued state efforts to enhance access to higher education for traditionally disadvantaged minority groups.

Research was conducted with co-author Jacob Fowles at the University of Kansas.

April 21

Higher Education Collaborative Brown Bag

"Faculty of Color Teaching Online"

Denice Hood

     Assistant Professor

     Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership

     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location: Education, Room 333

Time: 12 - 1pm

Description: This talk is about the experiences of faculty of color who teach online. Interviews were conducted with 22 instructors across institution types and professional titles. Several themes have emerged from the preliminary analysis. These include:Saliency of race/ethnicity online, Student characteristics/Course climate, Faculty agency, Course evaluations, Mentoring/Support/Professional Development, Isolation/Marginalization (courses and individuals), Community of Practice, Promotion & Tenure.

The early findings illustrate the diversity of experiences among these individuals and confirm that “faculty of color” is not a homogenous group. Several individuals shared challenges and rewards that arose in teaching courses that dealt specifically with content related to race, ethnicity, class and social justice. Other instructors commented that they believed that race was not a factor at all in their online courses regardless of the subject matter. Still others expressed concerns about student evaluations and the impact of negative student ratings could have on their retention, promotion and tenure. 

March 18

Higher Education Collaborative Brown Bag

Lorenzo Baber

     Assistant Professor, Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership

     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

     Location: Education, Room 333

     Time: 12 - 1p

"Considering New Directions for Research on African American Males in Higher Education"

Description: The status of African American males in higher education has gained increasing attention from administrators, researchers and policymakers. Published scholarship has identified the layered complexities surrounding disparate outcomes for African American men.  This presentation will highlight recent research in this area and consider whether the scholarly emphasis on individual dispositions to combat deficit perspectives of African American males has minimized examination of constitutive structural forces underlying postsecondary access, retention, and completion outcomes.


March 5

Jennifer A. Delaney

      Assistant Professor, Education Policy Organization and Leadership

      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      Location: Educaiton, Room 333

      Time: 12 - 1pm

“A Difference-in-Difference Analysis of Guaranteed Tuition Policies and Higher Education”

Description:This study considers the impact of state-level guaranteed tuition laws on postsecondary tuition levels. The analytic framework argues that state-level laws requiring flat tuition rates for four years contain inflationary risk, which encourages institutions to set tuition higher than they otherwise would with annual adjustments. This study uses a national panel dataset and a quasi-experimental difference-in-difference methodological approach, with Illinois' Truth-in-Truth law serving as the treatment condition. Our findings show that institutions subject to this law increased tuition in excess of the amount predicted by the trend for institutions not subject to the law. This finding is robust to alternative specifications and indicates that state-level guaranteed tuition laws encourage institutional tuition increases. Additional results will be presented about the impact of these laws on state general appropriations. 

February 28

Higher Education Collaborative Talk

     Dr. OiYan Poon

     Assistant Professor, Higher Education and International Higher Education

     Loyal University Chicago

     Location: Education, Room 22

     Time: 12:00 - 1:30pm

“The Racial Mascot Speaks: A Critical Race Discourse Study of Asian Americans and Fisher vs. University of Texas”

Description:Empirical voting and polling evidence demonstrates that an overwhelming majority of Asian Americans are supportive of affirmative action. Yet, affirmative action opponents have successfully positioned Asian Americans as a silenced racial mascot to support their claims of "meritocracy." What is the truth? What are the interests of Asian Americans in the affirmative action debate?

This paper explores and identifies how Asian Americans represented and positioned themselves within the affirmative action debate, through a critical race discourse analysis of selected legal documents and six amicus briefs submitted by five Asian American public interest organizations to the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher vs. University of Texas. Asian American concerns and perspectives have been largely silenced or co-opted in the past for others’ purposes.  Drawing from theories of racial formation and racial triangulation, this paper demonstrates the fluid nature of racial discourse and the complexities of Asian American interests in the affirmative action debate.

February 25

Higher Education Collaborative Brown Bag

     Dr. Robin LaSota

     Post Doctoral Research Assistant

     Office of Community College Research and Leadership

     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


“Mixed Methods Dissertation Design Challenges and Opportunities: A Sequential, Explanatory Approach to Studying Students' 2/4 Transfer”

Location: Education, Room 22

Time: 12 – 1pm

Description:This brown bag presentation will offer methodological perspectives on strategies and dilemmas in conducting mixed-methods dissertation research on the issue of two-year students’ transfer to four-year institutions (i.e. 2/4 transfer). Methods will be discussed for integrating case study findings from three states (FL, GA, WA) and six community colleges with multi-level logistic regression analyses of Beginning Postsecondary Study data on the 2/4 transfer outcome. The quantitative strand presents findings regarding the impact of factors such as students’ academic integration, community college faculty characteristics and expenditures, and state transfer policy components on six-year transfer probability. The qualitative strand investigated how selected community colleges and state policy leaders work to improve students’ 2/4 transfer, and how they use data to inform decision-making on this issue.


February 12 - HEC Seminar with Doctoral Students

Dr. William Trent and Dr. Terrell Strayhorn


     Location: Education, Room 22

     Time: 9 - 10 am

Description: This event is intended to provide a space for a conversation among UIUC and Ohio State University graduate students. It will focus primarily on research that is being conducted by doctoral students on underrepresented students’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields as conducted by Project STEP-UP at UIUC and the Research Group for Higher Education Research and Policy at Ohio State University.  All students are welcome to attend.


Dr. Terrell Lamont Strayhorn is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at The Ohio State University in the School of Educational Policy & Leadership within the College of Education and Human Ecology, where he also serves as Faculty Research Associate in the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, Senior Research Associate in the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center for African American Males, and faculty affiliate in the Department of African and African American Studies. Dr. Strayhorn is the Director of Investigating the Critical Junctures: Strategies for Broadening Minority Male Participation in STEM.

Dr. William Trent is a Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research has focused on: 1) Educational Inequality: school desegregation effects (K-12, postsecondary), benefits and consequences, social organization of school, status attainment research, co- and extracurricular activities, comparative education; 2) Race and Ethnicity: social stratification and mobility, equality of opportunity; and 3) Complex Organization/Social Change/Policy. He is director of the STEM Trends in Enrollment & Persistence for Underrepresented Populations (STEP-UP) project at UIUC. 

February 12 – HEC Talk

  Dr. Terrell Strayhorn

      Associate Professor, Higher Education

      The Ohio State University

      Location: Education, Room 22

      Time: 11:30 – 1pm

*A light lunch will be served in Room 28 starting at 11am

"The Effects of Stereotype Threat and College Readiness on Ethnic Minorities' Success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Majors"

Description: Increasing the enrollment and persistence of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities in STEM fields is a national policy priority that shapes the strategic decisions of states and educational institutions. To this end, the federal government and even local districts have invested considerable resources to strategies designed to broaden participation of minorities in STEM—efforts like early outreach programs, supplemental instruction, and infusion of technology in undergraduate STEM courses. Still, even in these contexts, ethnic minorities may face barriers that limit or reduce their odds for success such as stereotype threat and (un)readiness for college-level work. In this talk, Professor Strayhorn will present findings from a recent large-scale, mixed methods national study, funded by the National Science Foundation, that examines these issues, identify promising practices for broadening minority participation in STEM, and highlight a few directions for future policy and practice.

Terrell L. Strayhorn, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Higher Education in the College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE) at The Ohio State University (OSU), where he also serves as Director of the Center for Inclusion, Diversity, and Academic Success (IDEAS), EHE Chief Diversity Officer, Faculty Research Associate in the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, and Senior Research Associate in the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center for African American Males. He also holds faculty appointments in OSU’s Departments of African and Africana Studies, Engineering Education, and Sexuality Studies (by courtesy). Dr. Strayhorn’s research focuses on major policy issues in education: student access and achievement, equity and diversity, impact of college on students, and student learning and development.

February 4 - HEC Brown Bag

     Casey George-Jackson, PhD

     IES Postdoctoral Research Fellow

     College of Education

     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


“Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Inequalities in Planning, Preparing, and Saving for College”

Description: With college tuition and student loan debt rising, high school students and their families are growing concerned about “how to” pay for college. To address this, federal/state policymakers encourage individuals to financially prepare for college early in their child’s life. This study uses the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09), a nationally representative sample of 9th grade students who began high school in 2009, to update and extend the literature on how families financially prepare for college. We use logistic and multinomial regression to estimate four different outcomes: 1) whether the family plans to help the student pay for college; 2) whether the family has financially prepared for college; 3) whether the family has opened a college savings account; and 4) when families financially prepare for college (kindergarten, elementary, or secondary school). Our results support the social reproduction theory that socioeconomically privileged families have greater likelihoods of financially preparing their children for college, and to do so very early in their child’s life. Current policy efforts to encourage college financial preparation disproportionately benefit already-privileged families and likely exacerbate educational inequalities.


2013 HEC Events

December 3 - HEC Brown Bag 

 David Rosch, PhD

     Assistant Professor

     Agricultural Leadership

     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

“The Development of Student Leadership Capacity: Leadership Readiness and Intervention Effects”

Description: The talk will introduce the concept of developmental readiness for leadership, and in the context of higher education, discuss its relevance in examining the effects of leadership education interventions in building leadership capacity in students.  Specifically, it will focus on three aspects of student leadership development: leadership self-efficacy (“ready”), motivation to lead (“willing”), and leadership skill (“able”).  Recent research suggests that students at various levels of readiness display disparate gains in each of these three areas within the same interventions.


November 20 - HEC Brown Bag

Walter McMahon, PhD

     Professor of Economics Emeritus, Dept. of Economics

     Professor of Education Emeritus, Dept. of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership

     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Higher Education Financing for Growth or Development? Criteria and Returns in the US”

Description: The outcomes of higher education are not just jobs and earnings. There are private benefits beyond earnings as well as specific social benefits that are largely ignored by financing policies. Symptoms of the latter such as vocationalization of curricula, underfunding of the humanities and education, cuts in state support, and the privatization of research are widely discussed. A major source of these is that the final outcomes beyond earnings have not previously been systematically documented, valued, or related to individual life chances and to the optimal rate of development of nations.

This discussion and paper will address these issues. Current earnings-based estimates of the returns to 2 and 4 year degrees relevant only to jobs and earnings growth are considered first. Then estimates of the values of outcomes beyond earnings (based on what it would cost to produce each outcome by other means) are added to obtain true social rates of return relevant to optimal development. Results indicate that if broader development is chosen as the goal, rather than only economic growth, then unit costs are the same but the return to higher education is over twice as large as previously realized.   


November 5 - MOOCs in Higher Education

Description: What are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)? What do MOOCs mean for the future of higher education and faculty within postsecondary institutions? What is the latest research on MOOCs? How are MOOCs being implemented at the University of Illinois? To learn about the answers to these and other MOOC-related questions, please join us for this panel discussion on MOOCs in Higher Education.

To watch the panel: click here


Nicholas C. Burbules, PhD         Bill Buttlar, PhD                       Adam D. Fein, PhD

Cary Nelson, PhD                    Rob Rutenbar, PhD                  Ray Schroeder, PhD

October 22 - HEC Brown Bag

Natasha Jankowski, PhD

     Assistant Director at National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

     University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

“How Institutions Use Evidence of Assessment: Does it Really Improve Student Learning?”

Description: Institutions of higher education are increasingly asked to show the impact they have on students and the larger community. In response to these and other demands, institutions engage in assessment of student learning to provide evidence of their value – yet most of the evidence gathered goes unused. This presentation, informed by institutional examples and the work of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), examines how institutions are engaging with evidence of student learning to improve their curriculum and to meet demands of accountability. The presentation will focus on a variety of conceptualizations of the use of evidence and unpack what it means to “close the assessment loop.”


For more information: click here

September 18 - Co-Sponsored Event with HEC

“A New Deal for the Humanities: Liberal Arts and the Future of Public Higher Education Conference”