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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Center for Studies in Higher Education is a research and policy center on higher education oriented to California, the nation, and comparative international issues. It promotes discussion among university leaders, government officials, academics and all those interested in higher education policy. It assists policy making by providing a neutral forum for airing contentious issues and by keeping the higher education world informed of new initiatives and proposals. Likewise, the research conducted at the Center aims to inform current debate about higher education policy and practice. Founded in 1956 it was the first higher education center of this kind in the United States. Currently it has an especially strong interest in public policy aimed at improving higher education in California and developing a strategic perspective on the future of the University of California.

Center for Studies in Higher Education

There are 503 publications in this collection, published between 1980 and 2024.
Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication (2)

Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines

Since 2005, the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has been conducting research to understand the needs and practices of faculty for in-progress scholarly communication (i.e., forms of communication employed as research is being executed) as well as archival publication. This report brings together the responses of 160 interviewees across 45, mostly elite, research institutions in seven selected academic fields: archaeology, astrophysics, biology, economics, history, music, and political science. The overview document summarizes the main practices we explored across all seven disciplines: tenure and promotion, dissemination, sharing, collaboration, resource creation and consumption, and public engagement. We published the report online in such a way that readers can search various topics within and across case studies. Our premise has always been that disciplinary conventions matter and that social realities (and individual personality) will dictate how new practices, including those under the rubric of Web 2.0 or cyberinfrastructure, are adopted by scholars. That is, the academic values embodied in disciplinary cultures, as well as the interests of individual players, have to be considered when envisioning new schemata forthe communication of scholarship at its various stages. We identified five key topics, addressed in detail in the case studies, that require real attention:(1) The development of more nuanced tenure and promotion practices that do not relyexclusively on the imprimatur of the publication or easily gamed citation metrics,(2) A reexamination of the locus, mechanisms, timing, and meaning of peer review,(3) Competitive, high-quality, and affordable journals and monograph publishing platforms(with strong editorial boards, peer review, and sustainable business models),(4) New models of publication that can accommodate arguments of varied length, richmedia, and embedded links to data; plus institutional assistance to manage permissionsof copyrighted material, and(5) Support for managing and preserving new research methods and products, includingcomponents of natural language processing, visualization, complex distributed databases, and GIS, among many others.Although robust infrastructures are needed locally and beyond, the sheer diversity of scholars’ needs across the disciplines and the rapid evolution of the technologies themselves means that one-size-fits-all solutions will almost always fall short. As faculty continue to innovate and pursue new avenues in their research, both the technical and human infrastructure will have to evolve with the ever-shifting needs of scholars. This infrastructure will, by necessity, be built within the context of disciplinary conventions, reward systems, and the practice of peer review, all of which undergird the growth and evolution of superlative academic endeavors.

  • 10 supplemental PDFs
Research and Occasional Papers Series (328)

WHAT MADE BERKELEY GREAT? The Sources of Berkeley's Sustained Academic Excellence

UC Berkeley’s chief academic officer explores the historical sources of Berkeley’s academic excellence. He identifies five key factors: (1) wealth from many sources; (2) supportive and skilled governors; (3) leadership from key UC presidents; (4) the pioneering ethos within the State of California; and (5) a process of continuous devolution of authority within the State and the University. He then addresses the extent to which these factors continue as causal drivers today. He concludes by identifying optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, based on contrasting assumptions about the strength of those causal drivers, and ends with a call for the State and the UC system not to inhibit efforts by UCB’s leaders to do what is needed to sustain Berkeley’s academic excellence.

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Journal Articles (25)
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Center for Studies in Higher Education: Special Reports and Online Books (4)

A Longitudinal Study of Minority Ph.D.s from 1980-1990: Progress and Outcomes in Science and Engineering at the University of California during Graduate School and Professional Life (2006).

The study is framed by two questions:1. What contributed to the successful completion of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Ph.D. by minority graduate students at the University of California between 1980 and 1990?2. Did their subsequent careers after the Ph.D. correspond to their training and aspirations? Answering these entailed learning about participants’ entire lives from birth to the present, and studying individuals of all ethnic groups to look for similarities and differences in background, experiences, educational path, and careers. 158 Ph.D.s were interviewed: 33 African Americans, 35 Asian Americans, 24 Chicanos, 13 Hispanics, 5 Native Americans, 52 European Americans. The latter were matched to minority students from the same lab, with the same advisor, and similar degree year. Interviews averaged between two and three hours and used a standard questionnaire.Funding: Spencer Foundation Major Grant Program, Grant No. 200000265 P.I. Anne MacLachlan [Initially with Arnie Leiman, Professor and CSHE Director]. May 1, 2000–May, 2004. UC President’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Initiative Grant, June 1, 1998–May 30, 1999.

Graduate Education: The Experience of Women and Minority Ph.D.s at U.C. Berkeley, 1980-1989. (1999)

This study arose from the previous study because doctoral recipients when found and asked about their employment raised many other issues. It is based on 338 interviews using a structured questionnaire asking former students to rank their experience with dissertation advisors and their departments. Women and minorities were oversampled out of the total UCB doctorate receiving population of 6,377 in this period and almost all members of smaller ethnic groups were interviewed. While the responses were broadly positive about advisors, 82% ranked their overall experience with the 2 highest scores, they were less positive about departments. Around half of interviewees made unsolicited comments about racism, sexism, classism, and other negative aspects of their experience, even if they provided generally positive rankings. After this study was concluded questions remained about what made those who finished so successful in earning their degree when they had expressed many areas of dissatisfaction? This led to the following study to learn the basis of their success.Funding: Berkeley Graduate Division, UCOP Academic Affairs, UCB Career Planning and Placement Center.

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SERU Consortium Reports (18)

First-Generation Students’ Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has negative impacts on first-generation students enrolled at large public research universities, according to the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium survey of 28,198 undergraduate students conducted May through July 2020 at nine universities. In the survey, 26% of respondents (n = 7,233) identified as first-generation students (those whose parents have not earned a bachelor’s degree). First-generation students were more likely than continuing-generation students to experience financial hardships during the pandemic, including lost wages from family members, lost wages from on- or off-campus employment, and increased living and technology expenses. Compared to continuing-generation students, first-generation students are nearly twice as likely to be concerned about paying for their education in fall 2020. Furthermore, first-generation students were also less likely to live in safe environments free from abuse (physical, emotional, drug, or alcohol) and more likely to experience food and housing insecurity. First-generation students also experienced higher rates of mental health disorders compared to their peers. The results of our study suggest that first-generation students experienced more challenges adapting to online instruction compared to continuing-generation students, including encountering obstacles related to lack of adequate study spaces and lack of technology necessary to complete online learning. Compared to continuing-generation students, first-generation students were also less likely to be able to meet during scheduled virtual class times. As institutional leaders look forward to the fall 2020 semester, we encourage them to consider the impact different instructional modalities may have in perpetuating existing disparities for first-generation students.

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History and Development of the University of California (4)

Earning My Degree: Memoirs of an American University President

David Pierpont Gardner was president of one of the world's most distinguished centers of higher learning—the nine-campus University of California—from 1983 to 1992. In this remarkably candid and lively memoir he provides an insider's account of what it was like for a very private, reflective man to live an extremely public life as leader of one of the most complex and controversial institutions in the country. Earning My Degree is a portrait of uncommon leadership and courage and a chronicle of how these traits shaped a treasured, and sometimes mystifying, American institution. Before his tenure as president, Gardner spent seven years at the University of California, Santa Barbara, during a tumultuous era of culture wars, ethnic division, and anti–Vietnam War protests, leaving his post as vice chancellor to serve as vice president of the University of California from 1971 to 1973. In 1973 he was named president of the University of Utah, and while there he chaired the National Commission on Excellence in High Education, which authored A Nation at Risk, regarded today as the twentieth century's most telling report on the condition of American public schools. As president of the University of California, he contended with intense controversies over affirmative action, animal rights, AIDS research, weapons labs, divestment in South Africa, and much more. This memoir recounts his experiences with these and other issues and describes his dealings with the diverse cast of characters who influence the university: U.S. presidents, governors, legislators, regents, chancellors, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors. The epilogue of Earning My Degree is a thoughtful and engaging account of the ten years since Gardner's retirement that includes his personal views about what has truly mattered in his life.

Approaching a Tipping Point? A History and Prospectus of Funding for the University of California 

This year marks the University of California’s (UC) 150th anniversary. In part to reflect on that history, and to provide a basis to peer into the future, the following report provides a history of the University of California’s revenue sources and expenditures. The purpose is to provide the University’s academic community, state policymakers, and Californians with a greater understanding of the University’s financial history, focusing in particular on the essential role of public funding.

In its first four decades, UC depended largely on income generated by federal land grants and private philanthropy, and marginally on funding from the state. The year 1911 marked a major turning point: henceforth, state funding was linked to student enrollment workload. As a result, the University grew with California’s population in enrollment, academic programs, and new campuses. This historic commitment to systematically fund UC, the state’s sole land-grant university, helped create what is now considered the world’s premier public university system.

However, beginning with cutbacks in the early 1990s UC’s state funding per student steadily declined. The pattern of state disinvestment increased markedly with the onset of the Great Recession. As chronicled in this report, the University diversified its sources of income and attempted to cut costs in response to this precipitous decline, while continuing to enroll more and more Californians. Even with the remarkable improvement in California’s economy, state funding per student remains significantly below what it was only a decade ago.

Peering into the future, this study also provides a historically informed prospectus on the budget options available to UC. Individual campuses, such as Berkeley and UCLA, may be able to generate other income sources to maintain their quality and reputation. But there is no clear funding model or pathway for the system to grow with the needs of the people of California. UC may be approaching a tipping point in which it will need to decide whether to continue to grow in enrollment without adequate funding, or limit enrollment and program growth to focus on quality and productivity.

Funding support was provided by the Center for Studies in Higher Education of the Goldman School of Public Policy, Speaker Emeritus John A. Pérez, and UC Berkeley Deans Henry E. Brady and Bob Jacobsen. The views expressed are those of the authors.

Entrepreneurial President: Richard Atkinson and the University of California, 1995-2003

Richard C. Atkinson was named president of the University of California in August 1995, just four weeks after the UC Board of Regents voted to end affirmative action in the admission of students.  The Regents’ decision reversed thirty years of history and made Richard Atkinson the first UC president in decades to face the conflict between the California Master Plan’s goal of broad educational access and UC’s high academic standards without the tool of affirmative action. 

UC’s often stormy transition to the post-affirmative action age was to be his first major task as president.  Entrepreneurial President analyzes this and other defining issues of Atkinson’s eight-year presidency:  UC’s expansion into new forms of  scientific research with industry; Atkinson’s much-publicized challenge to the nation’s dominant college-entrance examination, the SAT; and the 1999 arrest of Los Alamos nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee on charges of espionage, which ignited a prolonged controversy over the University’s management of the national nuclear weapons research laboratories at Los Alamos and Livermore. 

The Atkinson years were a seminal period in UC history, reflected in some important underlying currents of his tenure—his role in the evolving relationship between presidents and chancellors in the ten-campus system and administrative changes he introduced that altered the architecture of UC governance.  

One of the paradoxes of an administration that began with a governance crisis is that in a number of ways the Atkinson era seemed to exemplify what Clark Kerr meant in describing the twentieth century as unusually hospitable to academic enterprises.  Despite the challenges, it was a time of growth, expansion, and optimism for UC.  The University opened its tenth campus, UC Merced, and UC’s place as a leader among research universities was underscored by independent national studies demonstrating the high quality of academic programs throughout the system.  

The political and demographic stresses that set the stage for the Atkinson administration still remain today, intensified by the plunge in state funding for California public higher education generally.  Entrepreneurial President concludes with some reflections on the evolution of the UC system and its future.

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Books (4)

The Art of Diversity: A Chronicle of Advancing the University of California Faculty through Efforts in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, 2010–2022

In The Art of Diversity: A Chronicle of Advancing the University of California Faculty through Efforts in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, 2010–2022, Susan Carlson details the University of California’s systemwide efforts to increase the diversity of its faculty during her tenure as Vice Provost, UC Office of the President. It tells the story of a remarkable alignment of California stakeholders—from the UC Regents and University leaders to the Academic Senate and the California legislature, from small faculty teams to multicampus coalitions—and how they worked to create a 21st-century faculty that reflects the diversity of California. This chronicle’s central focus is on a community of practice dedicated to excellence and equity. Efforts began with a program focused on finding new ways to collect data on faculty recruitment and create multicampus discussions on key topics like mentoring, intersectional racial and gender identities, workplace climate, and statements on diversity, equity, and inclusion. These efforts continued with a novel interactive theater program for department chairs and deans. The capstone effort, Advancing Faculty Diversity, provides opportunities to pilot new ways to recruit and sustain inclusive and equitable academic communities.

Carlson addresses this central academic issue: how to build a faculty that is different from the past not only in its gender and racial makeup, but also in its research methodologies, transdisciplinary partnerships, and multimodal pedagogies.

Envisioning the Asian New Flagship University: It Past and Vital Future

This book explores the history of leading national universities in Asia and contemplates their capacity for innovation by focusing on the New Flagship University model. This model, presented more fully in The Flagship University Model – Changing the Paradigm from Global Ranking to National Relevancy (2016), envisions the university as an institution that not only meets the standards of excellence focused on research productivity and rankings, but one that is creatively responsive to the larger social needs of their specific national or regional environment and people. Chapters discuss the mission, policies and practices of the holistic and aspirational New Flagship University model and explore the contemporary academic cultures and innovations of leading national universities in China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India and elsewhere. Each is pursing aspects of the Flagship model on their own terms. Academic leaders and ministries in Asia are beginning to understand that the bell-curve approach of rankings and the myopic notion of a “World Class University” no longer provide an adequate strategy to guide policy, funding, and practice. This book furthers discussions within universities about their larger purpose and the internal academic culture that will bolster their drive to become among the best and most influential universities in the world.

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