CALL FOR ROPS PAPERS: Opportunities and Challenges for California Higher Education

The Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) seeks submissions for a Special Issue on Opportunities and Challenges for California Higher Education to be published in the Center’s Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS).

Across the nation, public higher education faces new challenges, with the increasing politicization of governing boards (Rall et al., 2022; Taylor et al., 2020), declining domestic and international enrollments (National Student Clearinghouse, 2022; Song & Li, 2022), continued erosion of tenure and academic freedom (Brint, 2021; Christopher et al., 2022), and labor organizing from students, staff, and faculty spilling over into work stoppages (Julius, 2021; Picciano, 2021).

Yet, there are bright spots: after decades of declining public investment, states have started to increase public support of higher education (State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, 2021). These trends are felt most acutely in California, where a recent work stoppage by graduate student workers and postdoctoral scholars at the University of California highlighted the increasingly shaky foundation of the academic enterprise even as Governor Newsom’s funding compact with the public segments included annual increases of 5% through 2026-27.

As we approach the quarter-point mark of the 21st century, ROPS invites contributions that reflect on the changing landscape of higher education in California. This special issue aims to understand current trends in California higher education from the perspective of faculty, staff, administrative leaders, and policymakers, and reflect on the opportunities and challenges that lie in the decades ahead. We welcome papers across a breadth of substantive areas and academic disciplines, as long as they speak to the critical issues facing California higher education today. Thus, topics could include academic freedom; higher education governance; student enrollment, retention, and transfer; research and public engagement; faculty affairs; and issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, among others.


ROPS normally publishes original research papers and essays by CSHE-affiliated researchers that reflect multidisciplinary fields, contribute to influencing and expanding the body of research on higher education, and enhance dialogue among educators, policy makers, and the public. ROPS contributions include working papers, original research studies, reflective essays, expanded and adapted versions of earlier publications (with permission from publishers). 

For this special issue, we are intentionally broadening our reach to stimulate a new conversation on the evolving opportunities, challenges, and obligations of higher education in California. We welcome submissions from faculty, graduate students, academic administrators, and current and former policymakers. All papers will be blind reviewed prior to publication; acceptance of the extended abstract does not guarantee publication.


Extended Abstract (no longer than 1,500 words, exclusive of references): April 23, 2023

Editors’ decision/acceptance: May 10, 2023 

Full draft paper (no longer than 7,000 words, exclusive of references): August 31, 2023

Reviews & revision: Sept-November, 2023 

Final drafts due: November 15, 2023

Target publication date: December 2023 – January 2024


ROPS centers the voices and editorial choices of the authors. Final papers should be in the range of 7,000 words exclusive of references, endnotes, tables, and appendices. ROPS contributions are published on the University of California’s eScholarship Open Access Repository, and are indexed by the US Department of Education’s Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) website.

Authors should submit their extended abstract to Amal Kumar, Associate Editor, at with the subject line: ROPS Special Issue Submission. Submissions should use citation styles that conform to their discipline, and should include the following information on the first page:

  • Author name(s), affiliation(s), and contact information
  • Submission title
  • Summary abstract (no longer than 100 words)
  • 3-5 keywords


ROPS has proven a highly successful vehicle for distributing high-impact scholarly research, with a wide international distribution. Contributors have included practitioners such as university presidents, world renowned researchers and CSHE visiting scholars, and graduate students. Authors are responsible for the content and the views and interpretations expressed are not necessarily those of CSHE's research staff and other affiliated researchers. One of the founding principles of the ROPS series is that authors retain copyright and that they use the citation formats of their discipline. To learn more, please contact John Aubrey Douglass, CSHE Senior Research Fellow and ROPS Editor, at, or Amal Kumar, ROPS Associate Editor, at


Brint, S. (2021). Intimidation, Silencing, Fear, and Academic Freedom. CSHE Research & Occasional Paper Series, 4.2021.

Christopher, T., Kumar, A., & Benson, R. T. (2022). Fine wine at discount prices? A review of the research on the part-time faculty workforce. CSHE Research & Occasional Paper Series, 7.22, 1–14.

Julius, D. J. (2021). Collective Bargaining and Social Justice in the Post-Covid Digital Era. CSHE Research & Occasional Paper Series, 13.2021.

National Student Clearinghouse. (2022). Current Term Enrollment Estimates—Fall 2022. National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Picciano, A. (2021). Online Learning, COVID-19, and the Future of the Academy: Implications for Faculty Governance and Collective Bargaining. Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy, 12(1).

Rall, R. M., Morgan, D. L., & Commodore, F. (2022). Bounded Boards: A Commentary on the Limitations of Knowledge and Scope of Research on Boards of Higher Education. Innovative Higher Education, 47(3), 389–412.

Song, M., & Li, Q. (2022). Political shock and international students: Estimating the “Trump effect.” Research & Politics, 9(4), 205316802211415.

State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. (2021). State Higher Education Finance: FY 2020. SHEEO.

Taylor, B. J., Cantwell, B., Watts, K., & Wood, O. (2020). Partisanship, White Racial Resentment, and State Support for Higher Education. The Journal of Higher Education, 91(6), 858–887.