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Performance Funding in Higher Education: Connecting 40 Years of Policy, Research, & Practice

AHEAD @ Penn
Thursday, October 22, 2020 to Friday, October 23, 2020
University of Pennsylvania

UPDATE: Due to COVID-19 and social-distancing guidelines, the conference organizers are awaiting direction from the University of Pennsylvania regarding campus operations for the Fall 2020 semester and are working with the American Educational Research Association to ensure we are still able to offer a rich, in-person experience. This may include postponing the conference until Spring 2021. If the conference is postponed, an additional submission and review period will occur, and authors who have already submitted a proposal will have the opportunity to amend their submission. More details will be posted as they are available. Please direct any questions to the grant PI and conference organizer, Manuel S. González Canché, Ph.D. ( We are grateful for your interest in joining us at the University of Pennsylvania for Performance Funding in Higher Education: Connecting 40 Years of Policy, Research, & Practice

 In 1979, Tennessee became the first state to experiment with performance funding in higher education by tying a portion of state appropriations to outcomes rather than enrollment. In the 40 years that followed, 35 states adopted a form of performance funding, and research on the antecedents, design, and implications of these policies proliferated. Today, reports suggest another 10 states are considering or developing these policies. Despite legislative action, rigorous research, and strong nonprofit advocacy, gaps exist in the conceptualization and understanding of performance funding across states, and recent studies call for greater scholarship and consideration in the areas of access, equity, and transparency.

This research conference, to be held October 22-23, 2020 on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus will serve as a national convening of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners on performance funding and explicitly seeks to bridge these gaps in policy, research, and practice as a theoretically-grounded forum for dialogue and exploration. The conference will convene diverse professional, academic, methodological, and political participants to foster connections and future research collaborations; review, present, and discuss existing research; and identify future directions for studies and policy on performance funding.

Read more about the conference in the Call for Proposals or submit your proposal online.

Conference Organizer: Manuel S. González Canché (University of Pennsylvania)

Conference Planning Committee: Joni F. Finney (University of Pennsylvania), Steven P. Gentile (Tennessee Higher Education Commission), Laura W. Perna (University of Pennsylvania), Kate M. Shaw (Research for Action), David A. Tandberg (State Higher Education Executive Officers Association)

Research Associates: Taylor K. Odle (University of Pennsylvania), Ji Yeon Bae (University of Pennsylvania), Adam Edgerton (University of Pennsylvania)

This research conference is supported by a grant from the Education Research Conferences Program of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).