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Institute for Higher Education
Leadership & Policy (IHELP)

IHELP conducts research and applies knowledge and evidence to produce actionable recommendations to improve policy, practice, and leadership for postsecondary readiness and success. Our research, evaluation, technical assistance, policy development, and other services inform policy makers, practitioners, and educators. We focus on educational institutions that serve diverse populations whose education is vital for individual success, a healthy society, and a globally competitive economy. IHELP is a non-profit organization funded privately through grants and contracts.

Recent Publications

NEW!! State Policy Leadership in Higher Education - Six Case Studies
July 2014
This study examined the role of state policy leadership in higher education reform. It looked at a significant policy reform that was enacted in each of six states and explored the contributions of governors, legislators, and others in accomplishing the reforms. A principal finding of the study was that the reforms were enabled to a very significant degree by state-sanctioned entities such as departments or commissions of higher education with missions to serve the public good through coordination or oversight of postsecondary education. These entities have the expertise and the capacity to support elected officials by staying informed of national trends, collecting and analyzing data, engaging broadly with stakeholders, identifying policy levers, drafting legislation, and monitoring implementation. The case studies provide a stark contrast to the absence of such an entity in California. The report is the third part of a set of reports aimed to increase college and career readiness and success in California.

Maximizing Resources for Student Success by Reducing Time- and Credits-to-Degree
July 2014
This report addresses the problem of excessive time-to-degree for many students at public regional universities and examines strategies and practices leaders can use to support timely degree completion, especially for low-income students. The study identifies strategies that institutions have used to help reduce costs for students by fostering timely completion. Strategies include those, such as intrusive advising, that help students make better-informed choices, and those, such as better course scheduling and well-structured degree pathways, that improve student access to the courses they need. The report provides many examples of institutions that have used these strategies, along with available evidence of their effectiveness. It also addresses potential challenges to implementation and offers recommendations to university leaders interested in using these practices to improve timely graduation. Co-authored by California State University, Northridge President Emerita Jolene Koester, this report is part of HCM Strategists’ Maximizing Resources for Student Success project that is aimed at making college more affordable.

Next Generation Learning Challenges
July 2014
This publication series, written by IHELP Research Assistant Jodi Lewis and funded and published by EDUCAUSE, looks at the strategies and tools used by Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant recipients to support their new "breakthrough model" schools. NGLC is an initiative to improve postsecondary readiness and completion by identifying and scaling technology-enabled approaches to secondary and postsecondary education, especially for low-income students.

Next Gen Tools: Blended Learning Classroom Design
This brief features the school facility at Merit Prep Newark, Touchstone Education’s first blended learning school. The facility features large classrooms that enable groups of 100-plus students to progress at their own individualized pace through online resources and assessments, with a team of two to three teachers to facilitate deeper concept inquiry, project-based learning, and collaboration among students. The design also teams master and apprentice teachers in one classroom, thus enabling educator learning opportunities.

Next Gen Tools: Competency Report
This brief describes the development of a competency report for Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) Personalized Learning program. NAU’s competency reports describe the skills and abilities that students have achieved in their progression towards a degree. These reports demonstrate accomplishments that are potentially more relevant to future employers than the listings of courses, grades, and credits on a traditional transcript.  


In the Education Policy Community

A New Vision for California Higher Education?
June 13, 2014, University of California Speaker Series

A New Vision for California Higher Education
May 20-21, 2014, College Access Foundation

A New Vision for California Higher Education Implications for Redefining University Missions and Interactions with Stakeholders
May 1, 2014, Travers Conference on Accountability in Higher Education, UC Berkeley

From Community College to University Expectations for California’s New Transfer Degrees
March 21, 2014, Public Policy Institute of California Briefing


IHELP Newsletters

June/July 2014