Higher Education Researchers Workgroup

The goal of this group is to bring together qualitative and quantitative higher education researchers working on issues at Berkeley, the University of California, the State of California or elsewhere for the mutual exchange of knowledge, ideas and issues through:
  • Acquainting one another with their respective research
  • Discussing our research strategies, data base use and data issues
  • Engaging with the questions raised by all of our work
  • Supporting each others’ work by providing feedback on substance and presentation
  • Creating an ongoing list of projects past and present for eventual posting on the CSHE website


  • Monthly meetings for an hour and a half
  • At every meeting a check in with new and existing members about their project(s)
  • When possible prior to each meeting an abstract, proposal, raw summary, finished or draft piece should be circulated among the group
  • At the meeting the author informally presents a summary of his or her research questions and issues and does not necessarily make a formal presentation—this is research in progress
  • Depending on the consensus of the group pertinent articles by non-members could be circulated and discussed for the issues germane to the participants
Too often higher education data driven researchers on and off campus work alone and they are unfamiliar with the breadth of research even on the Berkeley campus. There also is not necessarily communication among qualitative and quantitative researchers although many researchers use both types of data. Additionally there often is a disciplinary divide. This group is intended to overcome these to the enrichment of all participants. All are welcome including international visiting scholars who may be working on higher education issues in their own country. 

Meeting Details

Higher Education Researchers Workgroup 
First Friday of every month by Zoom
Graduate students and postdocs are particularly encouraged to attend.


This workgroup is organized and chaired by CSHE Senior Researcher Emerita, Anne MacLachlan
For more information regarding this workgroup please contact Anne at maclach@berkeley.edu.

Past Presentations

Higher Education Researchers Workgroup: Academic Freedom

Academic Freedom

George Blumenthal, Director of CSHE and Chancellor of UC Santa Cruz, emeritus and Robert Carlen May, Professor emeritus of philosophy, UC Davis and CSHE affiliate lead a discussion on academic freedom. They are currently writing an article together on this topic, one always of great importance, now much in the news.

Can we ever forgive Joseph Le Conte?—The Challenge of Names on UC Berkeley's Buildings

Can We Ever Forgive Joseph Le Conte?—The Challenge of Names on UC Berkeley's Buildings

In 2015, the Sierra Club requested that the National Park Service remove the name Joseph Le Conte from the 1903 memorial lodge named in his honor in Yosemite Valley. Recently the UC Berkeley physics faculty has asked campus administration to remove the Le Conte name, which recognizes both Joseph Le Conte and his brother John Le Conte, from the building housing the physics department. Both requests cite Joseph Le Conte’s ownership of enslaved people on a Georgia plantation, an inheritance shared with brother John Le Conte; their active support of the Confederacy during the Civil War; and Joseph’s writings advocating white supremacy.

This presentation will consider the background from which the brothers came; the circumstances that brought them to the University of California; the reasons that their contemporaries held them in high regard; and the context for Joseph Le Conte’s writing on white supremacy. Questions at the heart of the naming issue include at the forefront: is there an appropriate balance for weighing the brothers’ considerable achievements against what we now know to be the long-lasting damage to American society arising from institutions that they supported? This presentation proposes a beginning point for the discussion.

Karen Merritt is an Associate of the Center for Studies in Higher Education. Before retirement, she served as Director of Academic Planning and Program Review in the UC Office of the President and Director of Academic Planning for UC Merced. She is co-editor of From Rangeland to Research University: the Birth of the University of California, Merced. Her current research is on the role of UC faculty and alumni in the founding of the Sierra Club and National Park Service.

Next Meeting

November 6, 12pm - 1:30pm PST

Field Notes on the history of faculty-student sexual harassment in U.S. higher education (including UC) and a comparative analysis and history of the standard of evidence in faculty discipline procedures

With Bill Kidder, Special Assistant, ADA and Whistleblower Compliance, UC Santa Cruz and CSHE Affiliate

In a recent article I attempt to document the policy and legal tradeoffs associated with the standard of evidence used in Title IX sexual harassment cases, faculty research misconduct and other administrative contexts. I am also in the early stages of a paper of the history of the UC Faculty Code of Conduct (next spring marks the 50th anniversary of the formal adoption of the Faculty Code of Conduct). This talk bridges these two lines of research by outlining how the standard of evidence in UC contexts has evolved and will continue to evolve amidst value-laden policy choices and constraints of both state and federal law. In this talk I also outline the changes in ethical norms and administrative responses, from the “Mad Men” era of the 1960s to the #MeToo movement of the past couple years, in how UC campuses have and are expected to respond in cases of alleged sexual harassment by faculty.

Contact maclach@berkeley.edu for more information.