Past Projects

Over the years, NERCHE has focused its resources on a variety of projects addressing its commitment to three core areas: (1) reflective inquiry into practice; (2) the scholarship of engagement; and, (3) transitions to and through higher education:

 

Reflective Inquiry into Practice

The New England New Presidents Network (NENPN)
With a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NERCHE developed a program for new college and university presidents in the Northeast.  Among the primary goals of NENPN were to strengthen the leadership capacity of first-time presidents and maintain institutional momentum during leadership transitions.  Most importantly, NENPN sought to provide new presidents with ongoing confidential and objective guidance from seasoned academic leaders. Click herefor more information.

 

National Issues Forum Public Policy Institute
On September 14, 2006, NERCHE sponsored “Democracy’s Challenge: Reclaiming the Public’s Role” at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester MA. This one-day Public Policy Institute was open to educators interesting in learning how to be a National Issues Forum (NIF) facilitator, to join the NIF network, or just get better acquainted with models of public dialogues. In this six-hour institute, participants learned about national efforts to reengage Americans through public discourse, essential facilitation skills, and some tips for organizing forums. (To learn more about the National Issues Forum, go to www.nifi.org)

 

Democracy and Higher Education:  The Future of Engagement
NERCHE and the Kettering Foundation sponsored two forums to encourage discussion about the challenges to and opportunities for promoting community engagement and democratic citizenship as key institutional priorities for American colleges and universities.  The first component of this project was an Invitational Colloquium involving a representative and diverse group of 33 academic and community leaders. The group met at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, on February 26-27, 2008, to identify problems and issues associated with reforming higher education for community engagement and democratic citizenship and to suggest ways for cultivating the next generation of engaged scholars in American higher education.

Recognizing that countless individuals have played leadership roles, both nationally and on their campuses, over the past two decades, NERCHE established a web blog for this wider audience.  This blog comprised the project’s second component, which was an expanded version of a Virtual Forum established in late January 2008. Read more...

 

Leadership Speaker Series
Sponsored by NERCHE on behalf of the doctoral program in higher education administration at UMass Boston, the Leadership Speaker Series is a chance for doctoral program students, alumni, and faculty to meet in an informal, invitation-only environment with state, regional, and national leaders, acknowledged for their vision and ability to make substantive change in higher education.  Read more...

 

Mapping Opportunities for Structural and Cultural Change within Four-Year Public Institutions
Funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, NERCHE's "Mapping Opportunities" project was formed to convene a select group of individuals from New England's four-year public colleges and universities in an effort to identify the cultural and structural changes needed to facilitate the success of low-income students, students of color, and students who are first in their families to attend college. The one-day meeting, held in mid-January 2009, in Providence, Rhode Island, brought together 25 participants who, along with their respective institutions, have demonstrated commitment to ongoing institutional transformation to better match the assets of underserved students.  Individuals attending the meeting represented a cross-section of campus life, including Presidents, senior leaders in academic affairs, student affairs, administration and fiscal management, institutional research and institutional advancement as well as deans, multicultural center directors, and faculty.  Read more...

 

CSU-AAUP Faculty Workload Study
In late 2010, NERCHE concluded an independent, comprehensive study of faculty and professional employee workloads within the Connecticut State University system. The research team was led by Dr. Jay Dee, Associate Professor in the Higher Education Doctoral Program at UMass Boston, and included Dr. Glenn Gabbard, Associate Director, and Sharon Singleton, Senior Program and Research Associate, from NERCHE and Nancy M. Ludwig, Director of Institutional Research at Northeastern University.

Commissioned by the CSU-AAUP, this 16-month workload study examined full-time and part-time CSU faculty workloads; workloads across academic departments and between graduate and undergraduate programs of study; policies and practices associated with teaching-load adjustments; the relationship between faculty workloads (including opportunities for professional development) and practices that support student learning and retention; effects of workload on recruitment, retention, and career satisfaction of faculty; and workload issues for other academic professionals, including librarians, coaches, and counselors. In addition, NERCHE conducted an analysis of the relationship between faculty workload and student outcomes reported in state accountability reports, as well as a longitudinal analysis of trends in faculty workload.

 

Boston Area Social Network Project
UMass Boston partnered with CIRCLE (The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement) and the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University on a project using social media to increase and deepen youth civic engagement.

This three-year project was funded by a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service.  It was administered by NERCHE and coordinated by a leadership team of students in Asian American Studies, along with faculty members Peter Kiang (Asian American Studies and Education), Shirley Tang (Asian American Studies and American Studies), and Sam Museus (Higher Education Doctoral Program).

Through the project, Asian American Studies offered courses employing a community-based curriculum and community-mapping software to analyze community issues and networks. Read more...

 

The Scholarship of Engagement

Evaluation of AASCU's Civic Minor in Urban Education
NERCHE served as the evaluator of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' (AASCU's) Civic Minor in Urban Education Initiative. This three-year project supported five public urban universities and colleges in developing Civic Minors that offered pre-service teachers—and their peers who might not have otherwise considered a career in education—an opportunity to (1) learn about service learning as a pedagogy, (2) experience service learning in urban settings, and (3) take other courses in the minor which develop an understanding of the public policy context in which urban schools are situated.

The five campuses participating in the initiative were Buffalo State College, California State University Fresno, the University of North Carolina Charlotte, West Chester University, and Wright State University.  Read more about the Initiative…

 

Campus Community Partnerships
The New England Resource Center for Higher Education and the Worcester UniverCity Partnership are hosting a series of events focusing on the role of colleges and universities in economic development. Through the use of nationally recognized speakers and engaged local practitioners, the programs are intended to stimulate dialogue around the efforts of institutions of higher education and their public and private partners as they seek to revitalize their local communities. Click here to learn more.

 

Reversing the Telescope:  Community Development from Within
Community outreach has become a recognized and entrenched part of the agenda for higher education.  Thus far, the concept of community development has only been applied to reaching out to the community beyond the campus.  Colleges and communities can do a lot of good looking outside their campuses; however, they need look no farther than into their own campuses for members of the external community - many of whom are employed in the lower paid service jobs.  They clean our classrooms, prepare and serve food in our cafeterias, manicure our grounds, and process our paperwork.  With a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, NERCHE will chart the domain of the "civic microcosm" within the university.  Project activities include holding conversations of key stakeholders with the capacity to leverage and redirect resources to support institutions of higher education in addressing the community within their institutions, developing written materials and identifying concrete programmatic examples, and developing strategic partnerships with influential groups and allies who can mobilize institutions to develop innovative programs that are responsive to local needs.

Download: "Reversing the Telescope: Community Development from Within--Taking the First Look," Summer 2003

 

Evaluation of the Institutionalization of Learn and Serve America Programs
The Corporation for National Service (CNS) has contracted with NERCHE, Westat, and the Center for Youth and Communities at Brandeis University, to conduct an evaluation of the impact of Learn and Serve America grants on the institutionalization of service-learning in schools, community-based organizations, and higher education institutions.  The goal of the evaluation is to assess the role of Learn and Serve grants in establishing and expanding service-learning in those institutions and in promoting the long-term sustainability of service-learning opportunities for young people.  The evaluation process was carried out over 2001-Fall 2002.


Project Engage

Project Engage  evolved from NERCHE's Program on Faculty Professional Service and Academic Outreach and sought to enhance all three academic missions - research, teaching  and service - by bolstering faculty/student collaborations.  NERCHE  announced the ten winners of grants of $3000 - $5000 to support action research projects carried out by teams of student, faculty, and community members. Click here to see past winners.

 

Civic Engagement Cluster Project
The Project which concluded in July, 2001 worked with a group of ten institutions nationwide that were undertaking significant transformation to strengthen civic learning.  Click here for more information on the project and the Cluster institutions.

 

Project Colleague: A Program for Faculty
As part of the Program on Faculty Professional Service and Academic Outreach,  Project Colleague, aimed to correct some of the obstacles to effective service and outreach.  Find out more about "Swinging Doors: Making Community-College Partnerships Work" - a workshop for  community based organizations.

 

Democracy and Higher Education:  The Future of Engagement
NERCHE and the Kettering Foundation sponsored two forums to encourage discussion about the challenges to and opportunities for promoting community engagement and democratic citizenship as key institutional priorities for American colleges and universities.  The first component of this project was an Invitational Colloquium involving a representative and diverse group of 33 academic and community leaders. The group met at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, on February 26-27, 2008, to identify problems and issues associated with reforming higher education for community engagement and democratic citizenship and to suggest ways for cultivating the next generation of engaged scholars in American higher education.

Recognizing that countless individuals have played leadership roles, both nationally and on their campuses, over the past two decades, NERCHE established a web blog for this wider audience.  This blog comprised the project’s second component, which was an expanded version of a Virtual Forum established in late January 2008. Read more...

 

CSU-AAUP Faculty Workload Study
In late 2010, NERCHE concluded an independent, comprehensive study of faculty and professional employee workloads within the Connecticut State University system. The research team was led by Dr. Jay Dee, Associate Professor in the Higher Education Doctoral Program at UMass Boston, and included Dr. Glenn Gabbard, Associate Director, and Sharon Singleton, Senior Program and Research Associate, from NERCHE and Nancy M. Ludwig, Director of Institutional Research at Northeastern University.

Commissioned by the CSU-AAUP, this 16-month workload study examined full-time and part-time CSU faculty workloads; workloads across academic departments and between graduate and undergraduate programs of study; policies and practices associated with teaching-load adjustments; the relationship between faculty workloads (including opportunities for professional development) and practices that support student learning and retention; effects of workload on recruitment, retention, and career satisfaction of faculty; and workload issues for other academic professionals, including librarians, coaches, and counselors. In addition, NERCHE conducted an analysis of the relationship between faculty workload and student outcomes reported in state accountability reports, as well as a longitudinal analysis of trends in faculty workload.

 

Civic Seminar
The Civic Seminar was one of a series of 27 seminars held throughout the nation and supported by the project on Bringing Theory to Practice and the Charles Engelhard Foundation. This particular seminar was hosted by the Next Generation Engagement Project, a collaboration between the American Association of State College and Universities (AASCU), Imagining America and NERCHE. The seminar was be hosted by the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, on April 13, 2011.  In preparation for the seminar, participants read John Saltmarsh, Susan Sturm, and Timothy Eatman's "Full Participation: Systemic Integration of Civic Engagement, Diversity, and the Postsecondary Success of Underserved Students" Civic Seminar Catalyst Paper and Nancy Canton's, "Why Diversity Still Needs a Champion". Further details available here.

 

Transitions To and Through Higher Education

Project Compass
In April 2007, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation launched Project Compass, a multi-year regional initiative to help more underserved students succeed in and graduate from public four-year institutions of higher education in New England. This initiative supported innovative institutional programs and strategies that strive to eliminate achievement gaps and significantly increase academic success, retention, and graduation rates for undergraduate students of color, low-income students, and students who are first in their family to go to college. As the intermediary of the Foundation, NERCHE designed and managed project activities, convened regular grantee meetings, and provided technical assistance to each of the four grantee institutions: Bridgewater State University (Bridgewater, MA); Eastern Connecticut State University (Willimantic, CT); Lyndon State College (Lyndonville, VT); and the University of Maine at Presque Isle (Presque Isle, ME). In late 2012, the four participating campuses (Bridgewater State University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Lyndon State College, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle) completed their fourth and final year of implementation activities related to Project Compass.

In February 2013, NERCHE received funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to analyze the six years of data generated by Project Compass, which includes campus proposals, project reports and supporting evidence, technical assistance data reports, meeting agendas as well as a book chapter and topic briefs prepared by NERCHE.  This data will be used to provide a set of institutional guides on underserved student success related to faculty development, specialized programs and structures (including advising and addressing student financial challenges), creating a culture of evidence and inquiry, curriculum, development of communities of practice, and reflection on processes that support campus-wide change.  The data analysis will culminate in the production and dissemination of 6 stand-alone reports intended to document the specific programs, policies, and programs for supporting underserved students while changing the institutional culture.

 

Economic, Informational, and Cultural Barriers to Community College Student Transfer Enrollment at Selective Institutions
NERCHE recently completed work on a national study aimed at examining the opportunities and barriers surrounding transfer to the most elite colleges and universities in the United States for low-income community college students. Funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (JKCF), Lumina Foundation for Education, and Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the Study of Economic, Informational, and Cultural Barriers to Transfer Access at Selective Institutions will inform JKCF’s Community College Transfer Initiative. This five-year initiative seeks to increase opportunities for high-achieving, academically prepared, low- to moderate-income students to transfer to selective colleges and universities andincludesfunded research, grants, and anational conference.

The results of the study are detailed in the final report, Transfer Access to Elite Colleges and Universities in the United States: Threading the Needle of the American Dream.

The research team, led by Dr. Alicia Dowd and Dr. Glenn Gabbard from University of Massachusetts Boston’s (UMB) New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE), comprise a pool of talent with extensive expertise in higher education research generally, and community colleges and selective institutions specifically. The research team also has broad experience in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. The other members of the research team are Dr. Dwight Giles, senior associate at NERCHE, Dr. Estela Bensimon, director of USC’s Center for Urban Education, Dr. Elsa Macias, a senior research associate in USC’s Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, Dr. Tatiana Melguizo, an assistant professor in USC’s Rossier School of Education, Dr. Dwight Giles, faculty member in UMB’s Higher Education Leadership program, Dr. Jay Dee, co-director of UMB’s New England Center for Inclusive Teaching, Dr. John Saltmarsh, NERCHE director, and Dr. John Cheslock, an assistant professor the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. Contact: Dr. John Saltmarsh: 617-287-7740.

 

Concept Paper on Student Debt
NERCHE received a planning grant from The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) to prepare a “Concept Paper on Research and Policy Implications Concerning College Student Debt.” This project was completed by Alicia C. Dowd from UMass Boston with the support of NERCHE staff. Additionally, Alicia presented at the November 16, 2005 TICAS/American Enterprise Institute symposium in Washington, D.C. TICAS's Project on Student Debt brings together experts from across the political spectrum to focus on the implications of rising student debt. By promoting examination of the changing role of student loans, the Project on Student Debt aims to identify potential improvements to the systems and policies that help families pay for college (http://projectonstudentdebt.org).

 

The Community College Student Success Project
With funding from the Lumina Foundation for Education, Dr. Alicia Dowd, Assistant Professor of Higher Education at UMASS, Boston, has begun the Community College Student Success Project. The project is designed to support community colleges in conducting effective evaluations of the factors that affect student retention, graduation, and academic progress. Part of this yearlong national project, aimed at exploring issues of accountability, institutional effectiveness, and student outcomes assessment is a series of topic-focused Think Tanks, sponsored and facilitated by NERCHE. The Think Tanks include administrators and institutional researchers, all whom were selected from across New England for their interest and expertise in the relationship between institutional assessment and student success. The group will be balanced among individuals with responsibilities for academic affairs, student affairs, and institutional research- those sometimes disparate functions that have shared responsibility for understanding the factors hat influence student achievement.

 

Getting Back To Basics? Remedial Education and College Opportunity
Efforts to reevaluate and reform remedial education have increased significantly in recent years, in states ranging from Florida, to New York, to California, to Massachusetts, to Texas.  The Institute for Higher Education Policy and NERCHE—with support from the Ford Foundation—examined how changing remediation policies have affected the organization and delivery of remedial education, admissions practices, and the allocation of financial aid on campuses, particularly for low-income and minority students in the New England region.  This project, which ran from September 2001 through August 2002, combined quantitative analysis, case studies, and small discussion groups to: 1) assess changes at the institutional level that occurred in light of the shifting policy environment, 2) identify best practices and innovations, and 3) improve the public discourse on the issues associated with remedial education.

 

Evaluation of the Community College Transfer Initiative
NERCHE is partnering with Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, on a five-year project funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to evaluate the Community College Transfer Initiative: Improving Access for Community College Transfers to Selective Four-Year Schools (CCTI). The Foundation is providing funding to eight campuses—Amherst College, Bucknell University, Cornell University, Mount Holyoke College, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Southern California—that have formed partnerships with community colleges to facilitate the transfer of low- to moderate-income community college transfer students to their campuses. NERCHE’s Senior Program and Research Associate Sharon Singleton is working with the Heller School’s Senior Research Associate Cathy Burack, Senior Research Associate Susan Lanspery, and Research Associate Ginger Fitzhugh from Brandeis on the evaluation.

 

Mapping Opportunities for Structural and Cultural Change within Four-Year Public Institutions
Funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, NERCHE's "Mapping Opportunities" project was formed to convene a select group of individuals from New England's four-year public colleges and universities in an effort to identify the cultural and structural changes needed to facilitate the success of low-income students, students of color, and students who are first in their families to attend college. The one-day meeting, held in mid-January 2009, in Providence, Rhode Island, brought together 25 participants who, along with their respective institutions, have demonstrated commitment to ongoing institutional transformation to better match the assets of underserved students.  Individuals attending the meeting represented a cross-section of campus life, including Presidents, senior leaders in academic affairs, student affairs, administration and fiscal management, institutional research and institutional advancement as well as deans, multicultural center directors, and faculty.  Read more...