ROPS 2019

DIVERSITY IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS: Affirmative Action, Percent Plans, and Holistic Review by Zachary Bleemer CSHE 6.19 (July 2019)

Zachary Bleemer

There is considerable interest in the impact of policy alternatives to race-based affirmative action (AA) on under-represented minority (URM) university enrollment. Widely-implemented alternatives include percent plans, which guarantee admission to top high school students, and holistic review, in which applications are evaluated on a comprehensive set of merits. This study estimates each policy's URM enrollment effect at the University of California (UC). Difference-in-difference estimates show that AA increased annual UC URM enrollment by more than 800 students (20%), and by more than 60...


Daniel Fallon

Driven by a shift in the political economy towards knowledge and information, and by the emergence of mass higher education, the historic central value of the liberal arts to the contemporary university is endangered. This essay presents an analysis of the current status of the university and asserts the value of the liberal arts to the covenant that sustains it. A history of the origin of the contemporary university, along with its dependence upon the liberal arts, is outlined. Finally, a definition of the liberal arts for the contemporary university is proposed, along with suggestions...

SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION AND PEER REVIEW Moving towards Utopia by C. Judson King CSHE 4.19 (July 2019)

C. Judson King

Movement to fully open-access electronic scholarly publication has been hampered by the conflicting interests of universities, private publishers, researchers themselves, and those who fund research. The situation interacts strongly with traditions regarding peer review and the ways in which researchers establish stature within their fields. Progress to date has led to seemingly awkward and probably transient systems of dual publication or dual publication status, including green, gold, and hybrid open access. There are also efforts to establish pay-to-publish as the standard model to...

BERKELEY VERSUS THE SAT: A Regent, a Chancellor and a Debate on the Value of Standardized Testing in Admissions by John Aubrey Douglass CSHE 3.19 (January 2019)

John Aubrey Douglass

The following essay details a debate between UC Berkeley and a Regent who made charges of discrimination against Asian-American students that are similar to the current legal challenges facing Harvard University. The crux of such charges: on average, that one racial or ethnic group is more “qualified” than other groups, often underrepresented minorities, yet they have lower admissions rates. In 2004, Regent John Moores, convinced of discriminatory practices toward Asian-American students in the admissions process at Berkeley, did his own analysis of UC admissions data focused on SAT scores...

SCALING UNDERGRADUATE WRITING AT PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES: Problems and Prospects by Douglas Hesse CSHE 2.19 (January 2019)

Douglas Hesse

Although writing is well established as a high-impact educational practice, scaling that practice is challenging. Writing is a mode of engaged learning, and teaching it requires providing careful attention informed by expertise. These conditions are labor-intensive and expensive, even as public universities are hardly awash in funds. Writing skills develop over time as a function of encountering challenges and being coached on addressing them. What counts as “good” writing varies according to context, target readership, and purpose. Students need to build a repertory of strategies and...

UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION IN A RESEARCH UNIVERSITY: Scaling High Impact Practices at USC by Michael L. Jackson CSHE 1.19 (January 2019)

Michael L. Jackson

The University of Southern California (USC) transformed its undergraduate education program by making it a top priority in its strategic plans for the last two decades. The undergraduate experience was thoroughly studied and findings were used to determine what needed to be changed to improve the educational experience for students in and outside of the classroom. The institution has spent over $1.5B to hire new faculty to teach undergraduates, construct new residential colleges and renovate older ones (all led by tenured faculty), and build a new health center, campus center, and spaces...