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

Writing the History of the University from the Perspective of Graduate Women, 1870-1919

The history of 150 years of women at the University of California, Berkeley is a campus wide project (150w) in which substantial historical material has been created and collected for the last two years. See: https://150w.berkeley.edu/home(link is external) This material is being processed into a durable archive hosted by CSHE and the California Digital Archive overseen by Anne MacLachlan. This presentation has three components; 1. An overview of the growth and characteristics of the University of California from the date of the admission of women (October 3, 1870) on equal terms as men to the end of WW I-- particularly as they affected the participation of graduate women. 2. A discussion of the doctorate earning women in these early years, their background, connections and careers. 3. A discussion of sources and of the general dirth of historical work on the University of California.

Next Meeting

Friday October 14, 2022

"To Enjoy Equal Privilege Therein": The effort to restore minority admissions at the University of California after the repeal of affirmative action, with Saul Geiser. 12 - 1:30pm PT

After Californians voted to repeal affirmative action in 1996, admissions of Latino, Black, and American Indian students plunged by half at the University of California ‘s most selective campuses.  This talk will present a participant-observer’s view of what happened next.  University officials were forced to reexamine virtually every aspect of admissions policy in an effort to ameliorate racial disparities by race-neutral means.  The result was one of the most remarkable and sustained periods of policy innovation in the university’s history.  Among other initiatives introduced at this time were UC’s Top 4% Plan, which extended eligibility for admission to top students in every California high school; a greatly expanded program of university outreach to some of the lowest performing schools in the state; adoption of comprehensive review in admissions, a practice that until then had been mostly confined to small, private institutions; and a challenge to the most widely used test in American college admissions, the SAT, a challenge that would have national repercussions.  The talk will examine how these various policy initiatives were developed and, with the hindsight of two decades, how successful (or unsuccessful) they proved to be.  Special attention will be paid to the role of data in policy development and the importance of an effective policy narrative in winning support for admissions reforms.

Saul Geiser is a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from UC Berkeley and taught there before joining UC’s Office of the President in 1981. Geiser served as director of admissions research for the UC system after Californians voted to end affirmative action in 1996, and he helped redesign UC admissions policy.  His work has focused on issues of equity and validity in college admissions, with the aim of identifying admissions criteria that have less adverse impact on low-income and minority applicants while remaining valid indicators of student preparedness for college. Geiser’s work has contributed to the development of a number of new admissions policies, including UC's policy on Eligibility in the Local Context, which guaranteed admission to the top four percent (and now top nine percent) of students in each California high school. His research was influential in the UC Regents’ decision in 2020 to phase out the SAT and ACT in university admissions.

To register for this or other events in this group, contact Anne MacLachlan at: maclach@berkeley.edu

The Role of Universities in Promoting Democracy

The Role of Universities in Promoting Democracy

Immigrant Age-at-Arrival, Social Capital, and College Enrollment

Immigrant Age-at-Arrival, Social Capital, and College Enrollment

Get Ready: Introducing the Millions of Adults Planning to Enroll in College

Get Ready: Introducing the Millions of Adults Planning to Enroll in College

The History and Evolution of UC's Faculty Code of Conduct, with William Kidder

Asymmetric Expectations: Faculty Research Roles Under California’s Master Plan for Higher Education

Asymmetric Expectations: Faculty Research Roles Under California’s Master Plan for Higher Education

COVID-19 Impacts on Early Career Trajectories and Mobility of Doctoral Graduates in Aotearoa, NZ

COVID-19 Impacts on Early Career Trajectories and Mobility of Doctoral Graduates in Aotearoa, NZ

Student Learning and Wellbeing during the Pandemic: Evidence from the SERU COVID-19 Survey

Student Learning and Wellbeing during the Pandemic: Evidence from the SERU COVID-19 Survey

Academic Freedom

Higher Education Researchers Workgroup: Academic Freedom

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