Understanding the role of state public policy in improving the performance of higher education: Insights from a policy-review project in the United States

April 25, 2012 - 16:00 - 18:00
Nador u. 13
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Event audience: 
Marvin Lazerson
Professor Laura W. Perna
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The presentation discusses lessons learned from a five-state policy review project analyzing the connections between public policy and changes in higher education performance in the United States. The five states in the project are Illinois, Georgia, Maryland, Texas, and Washington. The presentation will focus on addressing the following questions:

1.     What are trends in higher education performance in the selected states?

2.     What policies explain trends in higher education performance in the selected states?

3.     What are the critical policy challenges that the selected states are experiencing in their efforts to improve higher education performance?

4.     How does the nature of the policy challenges experienced in these states vary based on aspects of the state context, including the economic, political, and demographic context as well as characteristics of the states higher education system?

Dr. Laura W. Perna is Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her scholarship draws on multiple theoretical perspectives and a variety of analytical techniques to understand the ways that social structures, institutional practices, and public policies separately and together enable and restrict college access and success, particularly for racial/ethnic minorities and individuals of lower socioeconomic status. She is currently serving as Vice President of the Postsecondary Education Division of the American Education Research Association.  She received the2003 Promising Scholar/Early Career Achievement Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education, 2010 Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania, and 2011 Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.  She holds a BA in psychology and BS in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters of Public Policy and PhD in education from the University of Michigan.