AHEAD produces knowledge and advances effective policies and practices by conducting high-quality research and publishing the results of these studies in scholarly publications and books, presenting research findings at meetings of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers, and disseminating the results of the research in the popular media. Drawing on multiple theoretical frameworks and utilizing multiple research methodologies, AHEAD’s research projects produce critical insights into the forces that promote and limit the public purposes of higher education and have important implications for institutional practice and public policy. The knowledge produced by these projects informs our capacity-building work and professional-development programs. These projects focus on improving understanding of:

  • The role of public policies and institutional practices in reducing and perpetuating stratification in the opportunity to participate and benefit from higher education;
  • The societal forces that promote and limit the public purposes of higher education institutions;
  • The internal and external forces that limit and promote full engagement in the shared governance of a higher education institution; and
  • Ways to empower students to become future civic leaders and agents of change in a democratic society.

New Research Project

College Promise Programs

Project Description: Over the last decade, but especially in the past few years, programs with a “promise” label have been advanced at the local, state, and federal levels. An emerging body of research begins to shed light on various aspects of these programs, but too little is known about the full range of program outcomes or the ideal structure or design of programs serving different groups of students. This project is designed to improve research-based knowledge that can inform understanding of how to design and structure a promise program to achieve particular goals and outcomes.

Funder: The research is supported in part by Civic Nation (September 2015 – June 2016).

Principal Investigator: Laura Perna.