PEAR fellows pursue research interests relevant to postsecondary education, including career/technical and adult education. They will learn how to investigate policies and interventions designed to help students prepare for, enroll in, progress through, and complete a postsecondary degree or certificate and join the labor market. Fellows will gain experience estimating causal effects and examining if and how interventions work and for whom. Upon completion of the fellowship, students will be awarded an Education Sciences Certificate.

Program Content

  • Quantitative methods training, including a required causal methods course, to expose students to advanced research methods and their theoretical and statistical underpinnings
  • Research methods training, with the option to specialize in either experimental design or qualitative methods and program implementation
  • Postsecondary education curriculum to familiarize students with the policy context of postsecondary education and recent scholarship
  • Benefit-cost analysis training in the fourth or fifth year of the fellowship
  • A three-credit proseminar for second-year fellows on the skills necessary for a successful research career, including establishing agreements and partnering with education agencies, writing grants and maintaining relationships with funders, and communicating research findings to nontechnical audiences
  • A postsecondary education speaker series highlighting the latest research findings and methods and providing fellows with networking opportunities
  • Research apprenticeships for first- and second-year fellows with core or affiliated faculty members. Fellows will spend 20 hours per week on postsecondary research projects, working either as part of a multidisciplinary team at the Community College Research Center (CCRC) or with a PEAR faculty member outside of CCRC. Fellows may work on multiple aspects of a project, including relationship management, data collection, data analysis, writing, and dissemination.
  • Practice/policy apprenticeships, beginning in the spring of the second academic year and continuing into the fall of the third year, at a state agency, urban system office, or nonprofit research organization. Fellows will negotiate an apprenticeship site, design a research project, negotiate access to data, complete an analysis, and communicate results to key stakeholders in a written product and an oral briefing. Fellows will share the results of their analysis at a one-day conference at Teachers College.

Apprenticeship Sites

  • The California Community Colleges is the largest higher education system in the world, enrolling 2.4 million students at 115 campuses. California has recently undertaken major reforms in developmental education, financial aid, and policies regarding transfer between community colleges and state universities. The apprenticeship will be based in the Chancellor’s Office.
  • The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) serves more than 80,000 students annually across seven colleges. CCC is partnering with CCRC on an IES-funded study of English learners. The apprenticeship will be hosted by the provost and chief academic officer.
  • The City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest urban university system in the United States, with 25 individual colleges and more than 240,000 students. CUNY is collaborating with CCRC on research related to economic mobility and an evaluation of the Federal Work-Study program. The apprenticeship will be housed in the Office of Policy Research.
  • The Florida Department of Education is responsible for the education of 2.8 million students and is the repository of K-12 and postsecondary education data for the state’s 4,200 schools and 28 colleges. The department has collaborated with CCRC on many projects, including a study of dual enrollment that is currently in progress. The apprenticeship will be based in the Florida College System Chancellor’s Office.
  • MDRC is a nonprofit research organization known for rigorous evaluations of education and social policy initiatives. It has partnered with CCRC on many projects, including the IES-funded Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR). The apprenticeship will be located in MDRC’s New York City office.
  • The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHS) promotes statewide postsecondary degree attainment and economic growth through its two- and four-year college system. ODHS is partnering with CCRC on studies of dual enrollment and of “guided pathways” reforms. The apprenticeship will be based in its Office of Data Management and Analysis.
  • The State University of New York (SUNY) is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, with 64 two- and four-year institutions. SUNY is currently working with CAPR on a randomized controlled trial of multiple measures assessment. The apprenticeship will be sponsored by the senior vice chancellor for community colleges and the education pipeline.
  • The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) sponsors research to inform decisions related to college access, quality, affordability, and success. The apprenticeship will be with THECB’s chief academic officer for academic planning and policy.
  • Virginia’s Community Colleges advances the access, completion, and affordability of postsecondary credentials for all Virginians. The apprenticeship will be based with the senior vice chancellor for academic and workforce programs.
  • The Washington State Achievement Council leads statewide strategic planning and advocacy efforts to advance educational opportunities and is working with CCRC on studies of dual enrollment and guided pathways. The apprenticeship will be with the research director.
  • WestEd is a nonprofit research, development, and service agency that has been working to improve schools and communities for five decades. WestEd hosts the IES-funded Regional Education Laboratory for Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah and provides data analysis and support to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The apprenticeship will be located with the project director for educational data and policy in San Francisco.
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