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Policy Research that Got Noticed: Lessons Learned for Making Research Useful. Nancy Shulock ASHE Invited Presidential Session November 8, 2007. The Case Study. The issue The story The lessons. Incoming CCC Students 1999-2000. 520,407 Students. No Barriers to Access.

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policy research that got noticed lessons learned for making research useful
Policy Research that Got Noticed: Lessons Learned for Making Research Useful
  • Nancy Shulock
  • ASHE Invited Presidential Session
  • November 8, 2007

California State University, Sacramento

the case study
The Case Study

The issue

The story

The lessons

California State University, Sacramento

slide3

Incoming CCC Students

1999-2000

520,407 Students

No Barriers to Access

Non-Degree-Seekers, 40%

Degree-Seekers, 60%

206,373 Students

Basic Skills, 9%

Personal Enrichment, 42%

314,034 Students

Job Skills, 49%

Barriers to Completion

Complete Certificate, Degree or Transfer within 6 Years, 24%

75,682 Students

238,352 Students

Do Not Complete within 6 Years, 76%

California State University, Sacramento

five policy clusters inhibit completion
Five Policy Clusters Inhibit Completion
  • Enrollment-based funding
  • Regulation of expenditures
  • Restrictions on hiring
  • Guiding students’ course-taking choices
  • Student fees and financial aid

California State University, Sacramento

slide5

Incentives for colleges to:

  • Minimize importance of college preparation
  • Maintain voluntary assessment/placement
  • Focus on enrollment only through week 3
  • Allow students to register late for classes
  • Minimize course pre-requisites

Incentives for students to:

  • Register late for courses
  • Avoid assessment for remedial needs
  • Avoid or delay enrolling in remedial courses
  • Take college-level courses before ready

Enrollment- based Funding

California State University, Sacramento

slide6
Forces colleges to comply by:
  • Hiring a mix of faculty and staff that may not be optimal for student success
  • Spending funds on lower priorities than those that could promote greater student success
  • Spending scarce time and money documenting and justifying inputs instead of outcomes

Regulation of Expenditures

California State University, Sacramento

the story
The Story
  • Act 1 – The system response
  • Act 2 – Support begins to emerge and build
  • Act 3 – Follow up reports
  • Act 4 – Collaboration and roadshow
  • Act 5 – Policy change???

California State University, Sacramento

act 1 community college reaction
Act 1: Community College Reaction
  • “This is another typical ‘university view’ of our community colleges written by people who have no experience in our institutions.”
  • Authors seek to “remake community colleges into another elite university system.”
  • “It is clear that the authors have little or no understanding of our colleges or our students and their work is not helpful….”
  • “The study is insulting to community colleges.”

California State University, Sacramento

act 2 support builds
Act 2: Support Builds
  • “The resistance you're experiencing is an indication of how badly the message of the report needed be delivered.”
  • “I was surprised at the uproar over Rules of the Game…I wonder if it was truly your findings or just that you laid all the information out in plain language that was the real cause of the controversy.”
  • “It seems particularly regrettable that the report has been resisted, or even seen as an attack, by so much CCC leadership.”

California State University, Sacramento

and builds
And Builds
  • “There are a number of us who resent the defensive manner in which the XYZ responded to your report. In my mind, you have put critical issues on the table that we have ducked for a long time because of political timidity.”
  • “Please accept my thanks for your outstanding work in your report…and accept my commendation for your courage in thinking out loud, so to speak, about issues that have for years been repressed and avoided by the systematic work of institutional defensive routines.”

California State University, Sacramento

act 3 follow up reports
Act 3: Follow up Reports
  • Beyond the Open Door
  • Invest in Success

California State University, Sacramento

act 4 collaboration and roadshow
Act 4: Collaboration and Roadshow
  • Numerous invited presentations
  • Advisory panels

California State University, Sacramento

act 5 policy change
Act 5: Policy Change

California State University, Sacramento

lesson 1
Lesson 1
  • Political Environment is Critical (Be prepared or be surprised)

California State University, Sacramento

it s not what you say it s what people hear
It’s Not What you Say – It’s What People Hear
  • We said: Access is not enough
  • They heard: Increase success by curtailing access
  • We said: State policies impede completion
  • They heard: Community colleges are at fault
  • We said: Multiple missions don’t prevent computing completion rates for degree-seeking students (24%)
  • They heard: Community colleges are like four-year institutions but with much lower completion rates

California State University, Sacramento

lesson 2
Lesson 2
  • Characteristics of the research and its written presentation are vital (although not sufficient to guarantee notice)

California State University, Sacramento

checklist of research attributes
Checklist of Research Attributes
  • Salient issue – show why it matters (scare people if necessary)
  • Aha!
  • Careful attention to clarity and design
  • From problems => solutions/actions
  • Be courageous

California State University, Sacramento

lesson 3
Lesson 3
  • Publishing the report is only the beginning!! (If you’re lucky)

California State University, Sacramento

lesson 4
Lesson 4
  • The most important audience may NOT be policymakers – even though policy change is the goal

California State University, Sacramento

lesson 5
Lesson 5
  • Be an academic but don’t be a critic (be a communicator; build on common values)

California State University, Sacramento