Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)

The Center for Studies in Higher Education publishes online research papers and essays 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.

The CSHE Research and Occasional Paper Series (ROPS) includes working papers, original research studies, reflective essays by authors affiliated with CSHE, and major reports generated by CSHE related research projects. 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. Questions regarding the content of individual ROPS contributions and CSHE research reports should be directed to the authors. 

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John A. Douglass

ROPS Editor and Series Director

Amal Kumar

Associate Editor

ROPS Publications

Recently Published ROPS

Implementing Strategic Budgeting Models for Colleges and Universities, by James A. Hyatt, CSHE 14.20 (December 2020)

James A. Hyatt

This article is a follow-up to a recent ROPS article on strategic budgeting at colleges and universities. In recent years, several colleges and universities have explored alternative strategies for developing operating budgets. In part, this exploration was driven by the desire for transparency among various constituent groups and the need to tie budgeting to campus strategic planning. While developing a new budgeting process can be a very intense and involved process, the ability to implement a new budget process requires the same level of commitment and involvement. A successful...

How the University of California Board of Regents Rescinded its Ban on Affirmative Action in 2001: A Personal Account, by Bruce B. Darling, CSHE 13.20 (October 2020)

Bruce B. Darling

This case study is a personal account of decision-making and governance at the University of California. It describes how the University’s educational policy aspirations and the political salience of the issues involved led the Regents of the University of California on May 16, 2001 to unanimously rescind their 1995 prohibition on the use of race, ethnicity, or gender in undergraduate admissions, employment, and contracting.

The Social Circuitry of High Finance: Universities and Intimate Ties Among Economic Elites, by Charlie Eaton and Albina Gibadullina, CSHE 11.20 (September 2020)

Charlie Eaton
Albina Gibadullina

Financiers have regained preeminence among economic elites, accruing growing shares of income and wealth. Yet network analyses have shown a decline in the bank-based interlocks between corporate boards that were once thought to foster financier power and elite cohesion. We ask if social organizations parallel to the economy provide a circuitry that connects financiers to other elites, despite growing complexity and fragmentation in finance. We develop and test hypotheses that apply the theory to elite university social ties using original data on degree holding among the Forbes 400...

The Rise and Fall of Sino-American Post-Secondary Partnerships, by Mel Gurtov, Daniel J. Julius and Mitch Leventhal, CSHE 12.20 (September 2020)

Mel Gurtov
Daniel J. Julius
Mitch Leventhal

This article examines the rise and fall of a golden age of engagement between American and Chinese institutions of higher education. We assess the political context, examine institutional and demographic variables associated with successful initial joint efforts, and explore why current relationships are unraveling. The authors do not assume alignment in the interests promoting initial cooperation between the United States and China but a convergence of mutual interests. The paper discusses operational realities underpinning support for engagement (a need for coordination in organizational...

Affirmative Action, Mismatch, and Economic Mobility After California’s Proposition 209, by Zachary Bleemer, CSHE 10.20 (August 2020)

Zachary Bleemer

Proposition 209 banned race-based affirmative action at California public universities in 1998. This study analyzes Prop 209's impact on student outcomes using a difference-in-difference research design and a newly-constructed longitudinal database linking all 1994-2002 University of California applicants to their college enrollment, course performance, major choice, degree attainment, and wages into their mid-30s. Ending affirmative action caused UC's 10,000 annual underrepresented minority (URM) freshman applicants to cascade into lower-quality public and private universities. URM...

A Defining Time: The California State Geological Survey and its Temperamental Leader, Josiah Dwight Whitney, by Karen Merritt, CSHE 9.20 (August 2020)

Karen Merritt

Josiah Dwight Whitney’s accomplishments as California’s State Geologist and director of the California State Geological Survey from 1860 to 1874 have been well-recognized. Whitney and his associates brought to the Survey the best science of their era that shaped their exploration, mapping, and collection of plant, fossil and mineral specimens. For the first time, they created a comprehensive physical definition of a state only haphazardly explored and described up to that time. Whitney’s self-certainly in his expertise and personal views often led to tumultuous, even self-defeating,...

The University of California Versus the SAT: A Brief History and Contemporary Critique, by John Aubrey Douglass, CSHE 8.20 (June 2020)

John Aubrey Douglass

On May 21, 2020, the University of California (UC) Board of Regents unanimously approved the suspension of the standardized test requirement (ACT/SAT) for all California freshman applicants until fall 2024. UC plans to create a new test that better aligns with the content the University expects students to have mastered for college readiness. However, if a new test does not meet specified criteria in time for fall 2025 admission, UC will eliminate the standardized testing requirement for California students. The Board’s decision is the seeming culmination of a 19 year debate over the role...

Neo-Nationalism and Universities in Europe, by Marijk Van der Wende, CSHE 7.20 (June 2020)

Marijk Van der Wende

The European Union is likely the most far-developed cross-border public space for higher education. The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area (ERA) both span an even larger number of countries including associate and partner countries of the EU. Based on shared European values, such as academic freedom, cross-border cooperation, and mobility, these policy frameworks have been developed in Europe over the last decades and with much success. HE systems in this area are thus well-positioned to benefit from cross-border mobility and collaboration but may at the...

Artificial Intelligence & Higher Education: Towards Customized Teaching and Learning, and Skills for an AI World of Work, by Grace Ufuk Taneri, CSHE 6.20 (June 2020)

Grace Ufuk Taneri

We are living in an era of artificial intelligence (AI). There is wide discussion about and experimentation with the impact of AI on education/higher education. In this paper, we give a discussion of how AI is evolving, explore the ways AI is changing education/higher education, give a concise account of the skills universities need to teach their students to prepare them for an AI world of work, and talk succinctly about the changing nature of jobs and the workforce.

Strategic Budgeting at Colleges and Universities by James A. Hyatt CSHE 3.20 (May 2020)

James A. Hyatt

In recent years a number of colleges and universities have explored alternative strategies for developing operating budgets. In part this exploration was driven by the desire for transparency among various constituent groups and the need to tie budgeting to campus strategic planning. With the advent of declining federal and state support, along with changing student demand, the need for a more strategic approach to budgeting has gained momentum. This paper highlights the various budgetary approaches currently in use and provides examples of their application in a variety of university...

South Korea's Higher Education System Through California Eyes by John Aubrey Douglass CSHE 4.20 (May 2020)

John Aubrey Douglass

Like California, South Korea’s system of higher education is a work in progress. Each must evolve and reshape themselves at various points in their histories in their quest for relevancy and, increasingly, to external pressures and demands of governments and, more generally, society. Utilizing California’s pioneering higher education system as a comparative lens, I provide an outsider’s view of South Korea’s higher education system from two perspectives. First, a national system viewpoint: How is the higher education eco-system organized and managed, and what funding and other incentives...

ASYMMETRY BY DESIGN? Identity Obfuscation, Reputational Pressure, and Consumer Predation in U.S. For-Profit Higher Education, by Adam Goldstein and Charlie Eaton CSHE 5.20 (May 2020)

Adam Goldstein
Charlie Eaton

This article develops and tests an identity-based account of malfeasance in consumer markets. It is hypothesized that multi-brand organizational structures help predatory firms short-circuit reputational discipline by rendering their underlying identities opaque to consumer audiences. The analysis utilizes comprehensive administrative data on all for-profit U.S. colleges, an industry characterized by widespread fraud and poor (though variable) educational outcomes. Consistent with the hypothesis that brand differentiation facilitates malfeasance by reducing ex ante reputational risks,...

SAT/ACT Scores, High-School GPA, and the problem of Omitted Variable Bias: Why the UC Taskforce’s Findings are Spurious, by Saul Geiser, 1.20 (March 2020)

Saul Geiser

One of the major claims of the report of University of California’s Task Force on Standardized Testing is that SAT and ACT scores are superior to high-school grades in predicting how students will perform at UC. This finding has been widely reported in the news media and cited in several editorials favoring UC’s continued use of SAT/ACT scores in university admissions. But the claim is spurious, the statistical artifact of a classic methodological error: omitted variable bias. Compared to high-school grades, SAT/ACT scores are much more strongly correlated with student demographics like...

Winners and Losers? The Effect of Gaining and Losing Access to Selective Colleges on Education and Labor Market Outcomes, by Sandra Black, Jeffrey Denning, and Jesse Rothstein CSHE 2.20 (May 2020)

Sandra E. Black
Jeffrey T. Denning
Jesse Rothstein

Selective college admissions are fundamentally a question of tradeoffs: Given capacity, admitting one student means rejecting another. Research to date has generally estimated average effects of college selectivity and has been unable to distinguish between the effects on students gaining access and on those losing access under alternative admissions policies. We use the introduction of the Top Ten Percent rule and administrative data from the State of Texas to estimate the effect of access to a selective college on student graduation and earnings outcomes. We estimate separate effects on...