From the Director
We are pleased to share a PDF copy of Beyond
Dead Reckoning: Research Priorities for Redirecting Higher Education.
This essay aims to provide a persuasive rationale for developing
state-of-the-art knowledge to improve postsecondary
In order to fulfill the promise of access, the fundamental question
facing American higher education today is Access to what?
Research is needed along several lines: What are the programs, teachers,
and teaching to which students are gaining access? Which educational
venues and practices offer greatest promise for the academic success
of students from diverse backgrounds? What are the obstacles to
educational quality, and how can they be overcome? How can higher
education help solve the issues confronting primary and secondary
schools? Posing such questions underscores the fact that the challenges
confronting higher education today are no less important than at
any previous time. For this reason alone, it is alarming that higher
education has become less of a priority for public investment.
American colleges and universities, along with the public agencies
that support and monitor their efforts, find themselves navigating
waters that are both changed and uncharted, relying on a kind of
dead reckoning to plot their future course. Too many of the maps
and navigation instruments that were once effective guides are now
obsolete. This essay identifies a set of research priorities to
enable those most responsible for higher education to shape the
enterprise in more purposeful ways, thereby strengthening higher
educations role in improving the lives of students and society
as a whole.
The essay is the culmination of an agenda-setting initiative commissioned
by the U.S. Department of Educations Office of Educational
Research and Improvement. We consulted broadly with federal and
state policymakers, higher education leaders and researchers, representatives
of foundations, business executives, and members of the public.
On behalf of NCPIs Executive Committee, I offer thanks to
OERI for its support and to the many individuals who participated
in this process.
Patricia J. Gumport
Copyright © 2001 National Center for Postsecondary