Research News

TIPSHEET: Vanderbilt higher education experts available for back-to-school stories

Vanderbilt University higher education experts are available for back-to-school interviews on admissions, tuition, financial aid, rankings, higher education policy and reform, immigration and higher education, and more.

Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.

Admissions, tuition, financial aid, higher education policy
Doug Christiansen, associate provost for enrollment, dean of admissions and assistant professor of public policy and higher education, is available to talk about admissions, tuition, financial aid and higher education policy. Christiansen has spent the last 20 years in admissions leadership roles in top tier public and private universities. Christiansen thinks there are a lot of misconceptions about the admissions process and who is actually deciding if a student gets in or not, and that the process is far more personal for universities than parents and students believe. Christiansen consults with universities throughout the United States on enrollment management and revenue generation and has conducted more than 60 consulting engagements working directly with presidents, trustees, enrollment professionals and faculty on enrollment-related issues.

Choosing a college, payment options, admissions, economics of rankings
Malcolm Getz, associate professor of economics and director of undergraduate studies in economics, has extensively researched investing and choosing a college. His research includes information on how students and parents can pick the right school, what questions they should ask to find the ideal school, payment options, financial aid and which advanced degrees give the best return on their investment. Getz published his research in a newly released book called Investing in College: A Guide for the Perplexed.

Getting college students to graduation – keys to success
John Braxton, professor of education, can discuss why students leave college without a degree and the eight key actions professors and college administrators need to take to boost college student success. In 2006, he was commissioned by the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative to write a report on student success and what must be done to promote it. He has published over 60 refereed journal articles and book chapters on the college student experience, the sociology of the academic profession, and how college courses are taught. Braxton and Vanderbilt faculty Will Doyle and Michael McClendon were awarded a $261,000 two-year grant from the Lumina Foundation in 2006 to study state-level characteristics and policies impacting graduation rates.

Immigration, race and higher education
Stella Flores, assistant professor of public policy and education, can discuss the impact admissions and financial aid policies have on immigrant students, demographic changes in higher education, Latino students and community colleges, and how current immigrant migration patterns are affecting the education system. She is the author of numerous papers on Latino educational opportunity and racial shifts in higher education. Her work was cited in the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court Gratz v. Bollinger decision on affirmative action in higher education admissions.

Smart fundraising for colleges
Tim Caboni, assistant dean for external relations for Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development, can discuss wise fundraising practices in higher education, the increased reliance of colleges and universities on their donors, and the importance of institutions’ relationships with their alumni and other donors. Caboni is the director of the Peabody Institutional Advancement program, the nation’s only academic program devoted solely to the preparation of advancement professionals for colleges and universities.

Merit aid, tuition pre-pay
Will Doyle, assistant professor of public policy and education, can discuss development and implementation of merit aid and pre-paid tuition programs at colleges and universities across the United States and the impact these policies have had on college enrollment and demographics. He can also discuss state and federal higher education policymaking. Doyle is a frequent contributor to Change magazine on states’ higher education policy, community colleges and related issues.

Giving back – how service learning helps students and the community
Vanderbilt Peabody faculty Janet Eyler, Carolyn Hughes and Sharon Shields lead groups of Vanderbilt students to incorporate community service projects into their academic experience. The three faculty members work with students to design and implement service learning projects in local high schools, at community colleges, with foster youth and in communities and can discuss the benefits such projects have not only for the community but for the students’ academic achievement, awareness and career choice.

Higher education finance and reform
Michael McLendon, associate professor of public policy and higher education, can discuss college tuition patterns, the shift toward more accountability mandates at the state and federal level for higher education institutions and the role of political institutions and postsecondary governance structures in shaping policy at the state level and on campus. He can also discuss the transition from high school to college and what school administrators should do to prepare students for this step. McLendon directs the Peabody College Program in Higher Education Leadership and Policy.

Higher education policy
Richard Rhoda, associate professor of leadership, policy and organizations, has served as the executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission since 1997. Rhoda has a wealth of experience in higher education administration and can discuss how state and federal policies impact colleges and issues surrounding higher education governance.

Media Contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS