Research and Creative Activity


My research involves four substantive areas:  (1) higher education patenting and licensing activities; (2) higher education finance as it pertains to student retention and access; (3) student development and mentor-protégé relationships; and, (4) school policy research. What unites these research domains is a theoretical agenda concerning access to educational opportunity.  Whether these issues involve relational, financial, political, systemic or sociological characteristics, my research examines the overarching issue of educational access from the interaction of structure, systems, relations and background.  Most recently, my research--funded by the National Science Foundation under project number 0925915*--has focused on important trends in international scientific collaborations involving higher education that indicate an expanding interconnectedness between scientific researchers.  These trends have important ramifications for who is participating in the creation, ownership, control and diffusion of knowledge.  For the purposes of this statement, I have organized a description of my research endeavors in the topical areas of intellectual property, mentoring and student development, higher education finance and school policy research.  Finally, I describe my future goals with regard to my research.

*Note: Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation

Research Foci

Intellectual Property

Global Networks of University Innovators. Currently, I have begun a global research project, funded by the National Science Foundation under grant number 0925915, which will analyze processes of knowledge diffusion through university patenting activities. This is a multi-year research endeavor involving multiple data sets. The goals of this longitudinal study are to demonstrate important relationships between academic inventors and inter-organizational networks around the globe; to study the complexity of preferential attachment is it pertains to knowledge diffusion; and to examine innovation through changing network features.

Patents and the University.  In a chapter I recently co-authored for a series on globalization, my research examined the cultural aspects of international research collaborations between developing countries and the United States .  This study investigated the expanding research alliances formed between universities that are motivated by the pressures and benefits of a global economy.  Because research collaborations between the developing world and advanced economies are frequently constructed between unequal partners in both intellectual and material resources, it is important to evaluate the extent to which these research partnerships reinforce or transform the social and economic construction of marginality.  The university, especially, is a pivotal agent of scientific, intellectual and technological resources.  Patenting activities between U.S. universities and those in the developing world must be conscientiously monitored and controlled to prevent economically exploitative practices and cultural domination.  What unites the dilemma between university patenting in developing economies and U.S. universities’ patenting activities is the shared struggle over the delicate balance between values of academic freedom, basic science research, privatization of indigenous knowledge and privatization of publicly funded research.

Dissertation Research.  My dissertation research studied the phenomenon that higher education systems around the globe increasingly emulate the U.S. system of innovation situated at research universities.  It is important to understand how international research collaboration is expanded and motivated. My research in this area analyzes the university as a locus and an engine of globalization.  By conducting a “real world” network analysis of international university research exchange activities, I have investigated how the changing public/private sphere in university research activities is impacting the organizational structure of the university and the notion of academic freedom. Because total expenditures on academic research and development are concentrated at 50 institutions of higher education in the U.S. , this research examines whether or not the Bayh-Dole Act has exacerbated institutional elitism by allowing universities and faculty to privately profit from publicly funded research through patenting and licensing activities. This dissertation represents the foundational study in a line of research I will pursue on an international basis.  I intend to establish an academic research center that examines the cultural, academic and economic issues related to university patenting activities.  By locating this center at a research university, it will be an avenue for me to participate in teaching and mentoring graduate students.

Higher Education Finance

Student Loans and Grants. My higher education policy analysis has focused on the effects of prices, loans and grants in impacting choice and persistence at state, national and international levels.  Initially, utilizing models developed by Edward P. St. John and Patricia Somers, I examined within-year persistence in four different academic years, by conducting a series of analyses to assess the effects of student aid on persistence.  Later, I focused on the student loan industry from both domestic and international perspectives.  I have presented at professional conferences on this subject and have prepared reports to the Indiana Commission on Higher Education on this subject.  An element of my future research on intellectual property will include an analysis of the changing relationship between research funding, tuition discounting and institution based student grants.

Mentoring and Student Development

Mentoring and the Doctorate.  As part of the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate, this study examined doctoral programs in education at two research intensive institutions from the perspectives of doctoral students, faculty and administrators.   Indiana University’s self-study in education doctoral mentoring practices is directed by Dr. Luise McCarty.  A primary objective of this ongoing study is to lend transparency to the opaque process of obtaining a doctorate.  Specifically, through analyzed survey data, taped and transcribed in-depth interviews with students, faculty and administrators, and reviews of documents and notes from public meetings related to mentoring doctoral students, I triangulated data to analyze multiple points of view on the intricacies of mentor- protégé relationships.  The preliminary results of this study suggest practices and experiences that both hinder and promote degree completion at the doctoral level at these research universities.  Furthermore, the analysis has revealed gender, cultural and programmatic differences in access to, and satisfaction with, mentoring relationships between doctoral students and faculty. 

Master Teachers and World Class Talent.   I have collaborated with Dr. Robert Arnove in a long-term, on-going study that examines internationally renowned master teachers and coaches in several fields of endeavor such as the performing arts, athletics, chess and mathematics.  In concert with this research on the development of world-class talent, we have focused on a sample of public school teachers who have been distinguished for their excellence in teaching.  This study identifies characteristics shared by master teachers (located principally in universities and music conservatories) and extraordinary public school teachers.  By focusing on the methods and approaches both groups of teachers employ to promote higher levels of learning and performance in their students, this study addresses how public school teachers achieve the personalized and intensive instruction that characterizes the development of world-class talent within the more bureaucratic structures of public school systems.  A major premise of this study is that world-class performance and achievement in the arts, athletics and other fields is most commonly the outcome of extended, deliberate development directed by master teachers and coaches toward protégés during critical periods of development.

School Policy Research

Early Literacy Development.  I was a founding research team member of this study that examined the Indiana Early Literacy Intervention Grant Program--a program that funded a total of 133 projects and served 9,685 students in its first year. The study incorporated an analysis of existing databases, a systematic review of the research literature on reading interventions, and the analysis of a survey of funded projects (Reading Recovery®, Early Literacy Learning Initiative, full-day kindergarten, and other early literacy interventions). Four research questions were addressed: What is the early literacy challenge in Indiana? Did the funded school corporations implement interventions with a high probability of success? What is the most appropriate way to evaluate the impact of the program? and, How can the administration of the Early Literacy Intervention Grant Program be enhanced to further improve program impact? Key findings indicated that: (1) the program reached school corporations that were in need of supplemental services; (2) the funded projects used intervention methods that have inherently high probability of increasing the number of Hoosier children who read on grade level by the end of third grade; and (3) the costs of these interventions were reasonable, relative to their anticipated effects.  This research resulted in several government reports. 

Working on this funded project has made me a better teacher educator and research practitioner.  Likewise, this research helped me formulate a strong sense of the importance of a seamless K-22 educational experience.  Additionally, it improved my comprehension of concrete forms of early exclusion from educational opportunity.  Through my work with exceptional public school teachers, I utilized the insights I gained from this research to connect an Armstrong Teacher (a program I coordinated with Dr. Frank Lester for three years which integrated exceptional teacher practitioners into the school of education’s teacher education program) with a team of university experts on writing composition instruction.  By working together, this high school teacher informed state curricular standards on writing at the same time the university team revised their curriculum through understanding the challenges public school teachers face in the classroom.  Together, they published a textbook and a four-volume guide that helps high school students prepare for college composition and literature classes.

Public Opinions and Political Contexts of Education.  This research examined the interrelationship between public opinion and policy contexts for educational improvement and reform.  First, it reviewed trends in public opinions about education policy issues and compared them to educators’ opinions about similar issues.  Next, it examined how the context for education policy decisions has changed over the past two decades.  Then, it went on to consider different ways of viewing the interrelationship between public opinion and policy decisions within school districts and school buildings.  Finally, it concluded with implications for public relations in schools with regard to current political conditions.  This work is published in a textbook on public relations for school administrators.  My research in this area has helped me in my teaching of future teachers.

Future Research

My research draws on my broad base in both quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques.  As a graduate student, my coursework included graduate level courses in bivariate, multivariate and logistic regression analyses, qualitative inquiry methods, and advanced program evaluation.  This preparation gave me opportunities to work on a number of funded projects where I researched and analyzed education policy issues at all levels of education (pre-kindergarten through post-graduate studies).  Having worked on funded research teams, I recognize the importance of funding to my own research goals as well as the opportunities such funding provides for graduate students to participate in research.  One of the key roles I want to play as a faculty member is that I want to mentor students.  My methodological preparation, my prior professional experience, and my research goals enable me to recognize that I will need to begin organizing student research teams early in my faculty career in order to pursue the scope and level of research I intend to accomplish.

During recent discussions with members of the European Union parliament, the National Science Foundation and various economic development initiatives around the country, I have a growing appreciation for the importance of my research in the service of knowledge diffusion process and international technology transfer.  I have been encouraged to establish a center where my research could be furthered and disseminated.  I am in the process of laying the groundwork for the establishment and location of such a center.  Through this center, I will begin to achieve one of my most important professional goals:  providing a good climate for graduate student development utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis; dissemination of research findings to policy makers, university administrators and education practitioners; and informing both domestic and international education policy deliberations.