What are higher education’s purposes and obligations in a democratic society?

In my research agenda, I investigate this broad question. To do so, I study Regional Public Universities, Rural-Serving Institutions, and public policy and campus administration. My research has been published by The Review of Higher Education, The Journal of Higher Education, Higher Education, the Journal of Education Policy, Third Way, and the Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges. I have received funding from the Ascendium Education Group, the Spencer Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation to support my research.

Regional Public Universities

Regional Public Universities (RPUs) were founded to expand postsecondary access and opportunity for students excluded from highly rejective colleges and universities. Despite the vital role they play in educating African American and Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Indigenous students, low-income students, first-generation students, adults, immigrants, and veterans, RPUs face policy, funding, and legitimacy challenges. In my research, I explore how visionary leaders, professors, staff, and students advance the critical RPU mission despite these challenges.

Rural-Serving Institutions

Rural-Serving Institutions (RSIs) are colleges and universities with missions to serve rural communities. RSIs have academic programs that are uniquely designed to address the opportunities and challenges facing rural communities. I have led and participated in qualitative and quantitative research on how RSIs serve their students and communities.

Public Policy and Campus Administration

Colleges and universities navigate Big “P” Policy – the public policies and laws of their states and the country while advancing their missions, while enacting little “p” policies that shape campus life and student experiences. I research the intersection of Big P Policy and little p policy to understand how these forces shape how RSIs and RPUs advance their equity and regional service missions. I also research how the ways we talk about policy problems facing higher education informs the solutions we identify.