IHE Report



    THE 2015-16 ACADEMIC YEAR was a good one for Jason Lee, an IHE graduate student and research assistant. Last November, he was named the 2016 recipient of the Miller Fellowship, awarded annually to an IHE doctoral student of high promise. The fellowship was established in 2005 to honor former Georgia Governor Zell Miller and his wife, Shirley, and Lee is the tenth recipient of the award.

    Lee spent much of the past year at the College Board in Washington, D.C. on an extended internship, working on projects related to the board’s social justice, advocacy, and research missions. The projects included examining SAT test score gaps by race among middle-income students, looking more closely at AP course and exam-taking patterns, and evaluating the impact the College Level Examination Program has on degree attainment and time-to-degree.

    Lee also was featured on the Graduate School’s website as a 2016 “Spotlight” student. The accompanying article focused on his research with IHE colleagues examining the impact of increases in annual loan limits within the Stafford loan program, one of four primary sources of loans available to postsecondary students.

    “While student loans are a common topic of conversation in a number of media outlets, we actually know surprisingly little about what causes students to borrow, how the availability of loans affects access and success in college, or what increased debt loads mean for students and families after graduating or dropping out,” Lee says.

    His dissertation research will consider the effects of student debt on post-graduation outcomes.

    “For example, are students who have higher debt loads less likely to enroll in graduate or professional school, pursue a lower-paying public service job, purchase a home, or even start a family,” he says. “Anecdotally, people are making these claims, so I think investigating them not only has merit for policy makers but may also contribute to the national conversation.”

    As part of a research team led by Manuel González Canché, Lee also studies the impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which removed subsidized loans from the graduate student loan portfolio.

    The research team received a grant sponsored by the Association for Institutional Research and the Access Group to investigate whether or not borrowing changed after these subsidized loans were no longer available to graduate and professional students.

    “I feel really lucky to be a part of the research team,” Lee says. “I don’t know of any other higher education program in the country where students are involved in these kinds of efforts with faculty. By the time I graduate, I’ll have been a part of the grant process from conception through completion, which is an invaluable experience.”

    Lee expects to graduate next May. Before coming to the IHE in 2013, he worked as a resident director at the University of Pittsburgh and as a higher school English teaching in both Pennsylvania and Nevada.


    The IHE faculty would like to express their appreciation to every unit who helps sponsor an IHE doctoral student through an assistantship. Your support is invaluable to our recruitment efforts and offers an enriched experience for our students.

    UGA Career Center
    UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government
    UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Oppotrunities
    UGA College of Education
    UGA Graduate School
    UGA Honors Program
    UGA Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute
    UGA Office of Academic Planning
    UGA Office of Institutional Research
    UGA Office of Service Learning
    UGA Office of Student Affairs
    UGA Office of the President
    UGA Small Business Development Center
    Georgia Gwinnett College
    University System of Georgia, Board of Regents


    President: Melissa Whatley (2nd year, Ph.D.)
    Secretary: Rachel Burns (3rd year, Ph.D.)
    Treasurer: Josh Patterson (2nd year, Ph.D.)

    IHE Students Report on Papers, Presentations, and Other Activities

    KARLEY RIFFE works on an NSF-funded project with Sheila Slaughter, Barrett J. Taylor, and Sondra N. Barringer to evaluate how university trustees connect AAU institutions to the larger economy. Additionally, Riffe serves as a research assistant on a TIAA-sponsored project with Jim Hearn, which addresses the influence of the growing use of contingent faculty members on institutional outcomes. Riffe’s own research explores the nature of faculty work and the changing academic profession within different institutional contexts across colleges and universities in the U.S.

    During the 2015-2016 academic year, Riffe presented research papers at both ASHE and AERA conferences and was selected to be a graduate student representative for Division J (Postsecondary Education) of AERA. Riffe also served as president of the Institute’s Higher Education Student Society (HESS) this past year. Finally, Riffe has a forthcoming book chapter from research she conducted with Meghan Pifer as a master’s student at Widener University. The chapter is titled “Working-class Academics at Work: Perceptions of and Experiences within the Academy” and is based upon work funded by a Clinton Global Initiative grant.

    KELLY SLATON was selected as a fellow for the 2016 NCES Summer Data Institute. Slaton is the most recent in a long line of IHE members who have attended the institute. Held June 20-22, 2016, in Washington, D.C., the institute is an intensive short-term study with NCES datasets and research methodologies using large-scale national data sources. Slaton will also present a paper at ASHE

    Kelly Slaton with Karen Webber this November. The paper investigates issues of work-life balance and career satisfaction for female faculty using Harvard’s restricted Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) dataset.

    RACHEL BURNS recently started a graduate research assistantship with Karen Webber to study the determinants and consequences of graduate student borrowing. This past spring, she also joined a grant-funded research project on the changing faculty role and the use of contingent faculty (PI: Jim Hearn). In November of 2015, she presented a paper at the ASHE conference that analyzed the association between student attainment (graduation success) and participation in study abroad programs. This past spring, she presented a paper at the AERA conference that analyzed the effects of studying abroad on second language acquisition. She also presented as a co-author with Webber at the AIR conference on the determinants of graduate student borrowing. This fall, she will present as a second author at ASHE with fellow IHE student Karley Riffe on the implications of hiring contingent faculty for institutional finances. She will also attend the Access Group conference this fall with Webber as a part of her graduate assistantship research.

    “Outstanding students are the hallmark of the Institute, and we are proud of our role in the education of these future scholars and leaders.” IHE Director Libby Morris

    JAMES BYARS has been a data scientist on a multi-year grant with UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government in collaboration with the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. This spring, Byars presented a paper with Mathew Hauer on the application of machine learning models to predict the type and timing of student departure outcomes with high-dimensional data at the 2016 annual James Byars meeting of the Population Association of America in Washington, DC. His research has continued to focus on the use of advanced quantitative methods, which uncover new relationships and predictive capacity regarding student access and success and postsecondary decision support.

    ERIN CIARIMBOLI collaborated with IHE colleagues Jim Hearn and Jarrett Warshaw on a recent publication for the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), “Strategic Change and Innovation in Independent Colleges.” She also partnered with Hearn and Warshaw on a published manuscript on privatization and accountability trends in U.S. public higher education. Ciarimboli participated in the 2015 ASHE Graduate Student Policy Seminar and ASHE-CIC Collaboration and presented a paper on common application adoption and effects at the 2016 AERA annual conference. In June 2016, Ciarimboli and Warshaw were awarded a grant by the Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education to support new research on academic innovation and change on the small college sector. Her dissertation focuses on the impact of family and institutional assets in shaping stratification in college access, enrollment, and choice.

    ANDREW CRAIN is completing a study on student outcomes related to unpaid internship participation, with grant support from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The study uses new and existing data on UGA students to assess when and why students participate in unpaid internship opportunities and whether unpaid experiences have any effects on student developmental or economic outcomes. The project is intended to better inform campus and labor market policies surrounding college student internships and gauge whether certain populations on campus are placed at a disadvantage by unpaid internship opportunities.

    JEREMY DANIEL is a master’s student who participated in the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education Student Showcase (How Service Learning Affects Students’ Cognitive Development). Additionally, he will participate in a round table presentation/discussion at the Annual Education Law Association Conference in November.

    Daniel was awarded the 2016 Fowler Drive Elementary School Mentor of the Year. The Clarke County Mentor Program pairs students who want or need mentors with local volunteers who visit with them at school on a weekly basis and take them to community events and educational field trips. He continues mentoring college students via the UGA Office of Student Conduct/ Health Promotion Department Mentor Program.

    LORI PRINCE HAGOOD accepted a position in April as a research associate for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in the Office of Research and Policy Analysis. In her new role, Hagood conducts policy-related research regarding student success initiatives as well as higher education finance and affordability. She also assists in data collection, analysis, and reporting for the system’s 29 colleges and universities.

    Over the past academic year, Hagood presented three papers at ASHE related to higher education state policy and the completion agenda and a project at the annual AIR Forum investigating time to employment for college graduates. She will present two papers at ASHE in November. The first is part of her dissertation research—a study of performance funding policy designs and their impact on institutional resources. The second paper, written with IHE colleague Kristen Linthicum, explores the utility of Principal-agent Theory regarding institutional influence in state policymaking.

    KRISTEN LINTHICUM serves as a graduate assistant in the Office of the President at the University of Georgia. She also participates in a grant-funded research project on the role of intermediary organizations and research utilization in state-level college completion policy (PI: Erik Ness, Co-PI: Jim Hearn). She is a co-author with Jim Hearn and Michael McLendon on a forthcoming chapter in Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. She will present a paper at the upcoming 2016 ASHE conference with Lori Prince Hagood that examines the role of a single institution in state higher education policymaking. At the ASHE 2015 conference, Linthicum presented two papers focused on state-level postsecondary policy and the college completion agenda and one historical paper with IHE colleague Caleb Keith on student affairs professionals’ responses to the University of Georgia’s desegregation efforts.

    PAUL RUBIN is the lead graduate researcher of a five-state W.T. Grant-funded project investigating the role of intermediary organizations on research utilization in the college completion policy process (PI: Erik Ness, Co-PI: Jim Hearn), currently in its third and final year. This past April, Paul presented twice at AERA: a paper on the impact of test-optional admissions on a public research university’s student enrollment and a poster investigating the role of higher education agencies on research utilization in the state policy process. He also participated in the Division J Emerging Scholars Workshop and the William L. Boyd National Education Politics Workshop through Division L. At the 2016 ASHE meeting in November, he will present a paper with Hearn examining how organizational and other characteristics have influenced the policy response by three states to the national college completion movement. Rubin’s dissertation research focuses on state higher education governing boards and how means of appointment influence trustee perceptions on their role in the policy process.