• Statement of Research

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

    1. Research on neoliberal public policy discourses that narrow higher education's purposes to being purely economic and private at the exclusion of the system's public purposes.
    2. Research about the role of regional comprehensive universities in promoting educational opportunity and regional civic, economic and cultural 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.
  • Public Policy and Finance

  • Pay for Performance: Examining the Institutional Responses of Open Access Universities to the Implementation of Performance Funding

    University of Denver PROF Grant (2016): $20,000 grant sponsored by the University of Denver to fund a qualitative research study examining the effects of performance based funding on Colorado open access universities. Specifically, the effects of this funding model on educational access, faculty morale, and student and faculty surveillance will be examined. 

  • Examining the Role of Intermediary Public Policy Organizations in Shaping the Policy Agenda for Higher Education

    Co-Investigator: Ryan E. Gildersleeve, Associate Professor, Higher Education, University of Denver (2016-present). Study examining the ways in which intermediary public policy organizations (IPPOs) go about shaping and influencing the public policy agenda for higher education. Case study research involving constituent-based and research IPPOs. Interviews and document analysis methods employed.

  • Organization and Governance of Higher Education

  • Leading Collective Impact: Measuring and Advancing Higher Education's Contributions to Civic Health in Colorado.

    University of Denver Public Good Grant (2016): $15,000 grant sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning at the University of Denver to fund a community-based research project that adapts the National Civic Health Index for Colorado college campuses to assess the effects of community/university engagement on regional civic health. 

  • Neoliberal Theory

  • State of Rhetoric: Neoliberal Discourses for Education in State of the State Addresses and Gubernatorial Press Releases

    Co-Investigators, Ryan E. Gildersleeve, Associate Professor, Higher Education, University of Denver, and A. Paige Mills, Master’s Candidate, Higher Education, University of Denver (2016-present). Study examining the role of rhetoric in governor’s annual State of the State Addresses in promoting a neoliberal public policy agenda for higher education. Content and rhetorical analysis methods employed.

  • Regional Comprehensive Universities

  • Analyzing University Choice of Associational Membership

    Co-Investigator: Graham Miller, Assistant Director, Insittutional Research, Suffolk University (2015-present). Study examining the degree to which institutional striving behavior expresses itself in institutional choice of membership associations. Campuses under study at one time were designated by the Carnegie Classifications as public “Masters Colleges and Universities” and have recently changed designation to “Doctoral University” or “Research University.” Qualitative phenomenological study examining the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and 15-20 colleges and universities. Interviews, document analysis, and archival research will be conducted tracking changes to membership affiliation over time.

  • "The People’s Universities” as Legitimacy-Seeking Anchor Institutions: Tracing the History of Regional Comprehensive Universities

    Co-Investigator. Primary Investigator, Lydia Supplee, Academic Advisor, University College, University of Denver and graduate of Higher Education Master’s Program, Co-Investigator, Audrey Moreno, Assistant Director, Living Learning Communities, University of Denver and graduate of Higher Education Master’s Program (2017-present). Study examining the history of regional comprehensive universities between 1970-2000.

This portfolio last updated: 10-Mar-2020 2:10 PM