Stephen R. Porter
Higher Education Administration
Box 7801, NCSU, Raleigh, NC 27695
Stephen R. Porter is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Adult & Higher Education at North Carolina State University, where he also serves as coordinator for the graduate research methods sequence for the College of Education. He teaches courses in educational statistics, causal inference with observational data, and survey research methods.
He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Rochester, with a concentration in econometrics. Prior to his faculty positions at North Carolina State and Iowa State University, he spent nine years in higher education administration in the field of institutional research, working first at the University of Maryland, College Park, and most recently as Director of Institutional Research at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
His current research focuses on student success, with an emphasis on quasi-experimental methods, and survey methods, particularly the validity of college student survey questions. He has published in journals such as Economics of Education Review, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Higher Education, Public Opinion Quarterly, Research in Higher Education, and Review of Higher Education. He presents regularly at national education research conferences.
Dr. Porter is currently an editorial board member for Research in Higher Education and Review of Higher Education. He is also Chair of the Education Systems and Broad Reform grant review panel of the Institute of Education Sciences.
I am interested in working with students who wish to earn their Ph.D. and then
My main substantive area of interest (outside of research methods) is student success, from college access to labor market outcomes after college. I use quantitative methods in this area, so I am looking for students who are also interested in developing and using their quantitative skills to study college students.
Unlike most other higher education doctoral programs, our research methods sequence offers advanced training in areas such as quasi-experimental methods and survey research. These skills are increasingly in demand, both within academia and without.
Current Research Projects:
1. Causal effect of loan debt on student outcomes (with Paul Umbach) - an analysis of NCSU's Pack Promise program, in which students at or below 150% of the federal poverty level receive reduced loans. We will be using regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference models to estimate the effect on academic performenace and persistence. It is scheduled to be presented at ASHE in November 2012.
2. Community colleges granting four-year degrees (with Melissa Cominole, a doctoral student) - we will be studying whether allowing community colleges to grant bachelor's degrees actually increases the supply of bachelor recipients, using a panel model.
3. Randomized trials in postsecondary research (with Ashley Clayton, a doctoral student) - a literature review looking at higher education studies that randomize or pseudo-randomize treatments in the field.
4. Some other projects that I am trying to get off the ground this year include a study of the Georgia HOPE scholarship, using panel models; a study of the effect of long-term physical exercise on human capital formation, using IV with a randomized instrument; and a study looking at whether unionization affects faculty productivity, using IV.