Dougherty, Kevin J. (kd109)

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Dougherty, Kevin
Professor of Higher Education and Education Policy
Education Policy and Social Analysis

211A Zankel

Office Hours:
Tuesdays: 3:00-4:30pm, Thursdays: 3:00-4:30 and by appointment.  

Educational Background

  • B.A., Washington University, Political Science.
  • M.A., Ph.D. Harvard University, Sociology.

Scholarly Interests

Higher education policy and reform.  K-12 educational policy and reform. The community college. College students. Sociology of education.

Prof. Dougherty's current research is focused on class and race inequalties in information about higher education and the role of those inequalities in the production of class and race gaps in college access and success.  Professor Dougherty has a co-authored a 2016 book from Johns Hopkins University Press on the implementation and impacts of performance funding for higher education.  In the past, Professor Dougherty has done extensive research and writing on state policies affecting access to, and success in, community colleges by minority and low-income students; policies affecting immigrant student access to higher education; the historical origins and impact on students of community colleges; the role of higher education in economic and workforce development; and reform movements in elementary and secondary education (especially school choice, charter schools, and school standards).

Selected Publications

Analyzing Neoliberalism in Theory and Practice: The Case of Performance-Based Funding for Higher Education (with Rebecca S. Natow).  Working Paper #43.  London, UK: UCL Institute of Education, Centre for Global Higher Education, March 2019.  Available from:

U.S. Industrial Policies, Left and Right: Convergence, Divergence, and Political Implications (with Tara Habibi). New York, NY: Teachers College, April 2021. Available from:

"Student Choice in Higher Education—Reducing or Reproducing Social Inequalities?" (with Claire Callender). Social Sciences (Basel), 7 (10) (2018), 1-28. Available from:

Higher Education Choice-Making in the United States: Freedom, Inequality, Legitimation.  Working Paper #35.  London, UK: Centre for Global Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education, May 2018.  Available from:

Reforming the American Community College: Promising Prospects and their Challenges (with Hana Lahr and Vanessa S. Morest).  New York, NY: Teachers College, Community College Research Center, November 2017.

Performance Funding for Higher Education (with Sosanya Jones, Hana Lahr, Rebecca S. Natow, Lara Pheatt, & Vikash Reddy), Johns Hopkins University Press, October 2016.

The Politics of Performance Funding for Higher Education: Origins, Discontinuations, and Transformations (with Rebecca S. Natow), Johns Hopkins University Press, May 2015.

“Looking Inside the Black Box of Performance Funding for Higher Education:  Policy Instruments, Outcomes, Obstacles, and Unintended Impacts” (with Sosanya Jones, Hana Lahr, Rebecca S. Natow, Lara Pheatt, & Vikash Reddy). Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 2(1) (2016).

Performance Funding for Higher Education: What Are the Mechanisms? What Are the Impacts? (with Vikash Reddy).  ASHE Higher Education Report: Vol. 39, Number 2 (June 2013), pp. 1-133.

“Undocumented Immigrants and State Higher Education Policy: The Contrasting Politics of In-State Tuition Eligibility in Texas and Arizona” (with H. Kenny Nienhusser and Blanca E. Vega). Review of Higher Education 34 (1) (Fall 2010), pp. 123-173. 

“It’s Not Enough to Get Through the Open Door: Inequalities by Social Background in Transfer from Community Colleges to Four-Year Colleges” (with Greg Kienzl). Teachers College Record 108 (March 2006): 452-487.

“Community Colleges and Contract Training: Content, Origins, and Impacts” (with Marianne Bakia). Teachers College Record 102 (1) (Feb. 2000): 197-243.

"Opportunity to Learn Standards: A Sociological Critique." Sociology of Education 68 (May 1996): 40-65.

The Contradictory College: The Conflicting Origins, Impacts, and Futures of the Community College. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1994.  Winner of the Willard Waller Award for the Outstanding Book in the Sociology of Education in the years 1994-1996.

Willard Waller Award for the Outstanding Book in Sociology of Education, 1994-1996, Section on Sociology of Education, American Sociological Association, August 1997, for The Contradictory College (SUNY Press, 1994)

Critics' Choice Award, American Educational Studies Association, 1995, for The Contradictory College (SUNY Press, 1994)


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TC's Kevin Dougherty: Performance Funding Has Yet to Show Significant Impacts on Student Outcomes

Legislators and governors are scrutinizing colleges and universities to make sure scarce tax dollars aren't being wasted, even though there's little evidence that it makes schools better, Dougherty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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