Cecilia M. Orphan

  • Biographical Description

    • Cecilia M. Orphan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of higher education in the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. Her research agenda interrogates the following question: What is the role of higher education institutions in a democratic society? To investigate this question, she pursues three tracks:

      1. Research on the effects of neoliberal public policy that narrows the purpose of higher education to its economic contributions on public colleges and universities.
      2. Research about the role of regional comprehensive universities in promoting educational opportunity and regional civic life.
      3. Research about the effects of institutional striving for prestige and legitimacy on the ability and predilection of regional comprehensive universities to enact their public purposes.

      Dr. Orphan teaches courses on public policy, organizational theory, social and political theory, and academic governance.

      While pursuing her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Orphan served as a pre-doctoral fellow for Penn's Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy. In partnership with the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, she co-founded the Netter Center Mentoring Program that matches Penn students with West Philadelphia high school graduates for yearlong college-focused mentoring relationships. As a graduate research assistant, she supported scholarly projects that examined a variety of issues including data-use of college-access nonprofit organizations, the failure of ideal-centered change on college campuses, and the effects of performance based funding on regional comprehensive universities.

      Prior to her doctoral program, Dr. Orphan directed The New York Times sponsored American Democracy Project (ADP), a national initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). The 240 regional comprehensive universities involved with ADP focus on higher education's role in educating informed, engaged participants for U.S. democracy. While at AASCU, Dr. Orphan also served as the editor of the Academic Leadership and Change Digest series, a collection of queries about current institutional practices that are used by AASCU provosts as they consider new approaches to campus issues.

      Dr. Orphan currently serves on the Editorial Board for the eJournal for Public Affairs. Dr. Orphan has also served on the board of directors for The Democracy Imperative, the national steering committee of the American Commonwealth Project, and the editorial board of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s Perspectives on Urban Education journal. She also served as a fellow for the following national projects: Publicly Active Graduate Education with Imagining America, Next Generation Engagement Project with the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, and the Editorial Fellowship with the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Civic Engagement.

      Dr. Orphan was a 2015 finalist for the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. In 2011, she was awarded the John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement, a national award given by AASCU presented annually to an emerging leader in the civic engagement field. Dr. Orphan holds a PhD in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Portland State University.

  • Curriculum Vitae

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Public Policy and Finance 

      Organizational Governance and Theory

      Regional Comprehensive Universities

      Civic Engagement

      Neoliberal Theory 

  • Selected Publications

    • Gasman, M., Spencer, D. & Orphan, C. (2015). “Building bridges, not fences”: A history of civic engagement at private Black colleges and universities. Higher Education Quarterly, 55(5).

      Orphan, C. & O’Meara, K. (2016). Next generation faculty in the neoliberal university. Chapter in Publicly Engaged Scholars: Next Generation Engagement and the Future of Higher Education. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

      Orphan, C. (2015). What’s graduate education got to do with it?: Graduate school socialization and the essential democratic work of the academy. Chapter in Democracy’s education: Public work, citizenship, and the future of colleges and universities. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

      Orphan, C. (2016). Towards a More Just Society: Considering Islam and Muslims in the Classroom. A review of Muslims and Islam in U.S. Education: Reconsidering Multiculturalism. Educational Theory and Philosophy, 48(7).

      Orphan, C. & Saltmarsh, J. (2013). Review of Collaborative futures: Reflections on publicly active graduate education. eJournal for Public Affairs, 2(2).

      Orphan, C. (2010). Review of Citizenship across the curriculum. Public Purpose, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

      Orphan, C. (2007). Review of Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-somethings can’t get ahead. Public Purpose, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

  • Social Media

This portfolio last updated: 05-Jan-2018 3:25 PM