Our Projects and Research

The Center for Postsecondary Success (CPS) is a research center dedicated to identifying and evaluating institutional, state, and federal policies and programs that may serve to improve student success. In keeping with this mission, researchers in the Center are engaged in a number large scale projects which have the potential of informing and improving postsecondary policy at all levels. Our current projects include:

Current Projects

College Readiness

College readiness remains a significant issue in the United States, as nearly half of all undergraduates require at least one developmental education course, at an annual estimated cost of $7 billion. College readiness has been shown to be a primary factor in predicting success in college. We seek to understand the factors impacting college readiness and how developmental education might be delivered in the most effective ways to help students succeed.

Project page for Developmental Education Reform

Projects page for Pathways to College Degrees

Higher Education Finance and Policy

Within the United States, state governments retain the primary responsibility for policy and finance of public higher education. Each state approaches these responsibilities in their own way, allowing for significant innovation and diversity in regard to higher education finance and policy. Through our various projects, we seek to understand the antecedents of states’ policy and finance decisions and the impacts of those decisions on student and institutional outcomes.

Project page for State Financial Aid Programs

Project page for Private Scholarship Programs

Project page for Performance Funding

Project page for The Community College Baccalaureate (CCB)

Project page for Postsecondary Finance Innovations and Support of Higher Education 

Institutional Effectiveness

Identifying effective institutional interventions remains a critical area of higher education research. College and university policy and practices directly impact students, and college and university leaders still search for specific, campus-wide, and resource-efficient ways to improve student engagement and retention. We seek to identify policies and practices that show the greatest potential to positively impact student success in college.

Project page for Institutional Policies Affecting Student Success

Project page for Faculty Behaviors Affecting Student Success

Student Engagement and Outcomes

Student engagement in educationally purposeful activities is one of the best-established predictors of student success in postsecondary education. This project is intended to examine the types of student engagement that are related to student persistence as well as educational and labor market outcomes. It also examines how student engagement works for students of different backgrounds. Findings from this project can help shed light on institutional programming and practices.

Project page for Student Engagement and College Outcomes

Project page for Student Engagement and Labor Market Outcomes

Technology in Higher Education

Technological advancement and the changing postsecondary landscape have made the application of information technology in higher education a new reality. Learning anywhere, anytime, for anyone created new demands to examine how novel educational modes affect student experiences and outcomes. It also calls for better understanding of software or web-design features that are conducive to student outcomes in postsecondary education.

Project page for Mixed-Reality-Integrated Immersive Learning

Project page for Inclusive Design of E-Learning

Postsecondary STEM Education

Despite projected growth in STEM jobs, corresponding degree attainment among underrepresented minorities and women has remained strikingly and persistently low, especially in certain scientific fields. Much is still unknown regarding how to more effectively support underrepresented women’s persistence in CEPT science fields. Research on postsecondary STEM education often focuses broadly. Our team focuses on longitudinal pathways into scientific careers, field-specific dimensions to this underrepresentation, and students’ intersectional identities that influence their sense of belonging in various contexts.

Projects page for Gender Disparities in STEM Education and Careers

Projects page for Cross-National, Institutional, and Racial-Ethnic Variation in STEM Higher Education

College Opportunity and Success for Diverse Student Populations

While much attention has been given to college access for diverse student populations, far less research exists on persistence, graduation, and labor market outcomes. At a time when policy has begun to shift to focus on college completion and diversity has been increasing in the United States, we seek to explore mechanisms to increase access, graduation rates, and labor market outcomes for students of different backgrounds.

Project page for Minority Serving Institutions

Projects page for Black Women in Higher Education

Projects page for College Students with Autism

Community Colleges

Community colleges serve as the primary postsecondary access point for millions of Americans. As we, a nation, attempt to improve our educational attainment rates, community colleges will be an ever more important area for innovation and research. As a Center we conduct policy relevant research on critical issues facing community colleges and the students they serve.

Project page for Developmental Education Reform

Project page for The Community College Baccalaureate (CCB)