Stephen R. Porter



Department/Program Affiliations

Higher Education Administration
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

Contact Information

Mailing Address: 
Box 7801, NCSU, Raleigh, NC 27695
Stephen R. Porter's picture

My bio and vitae can be found here.

For prospective doctoral students: I am interested in working with students who wish to earn their Ph.D. and then  
1) Become a faculty member in education;  
2) Analyze education policy (e.g., for a think tank or higher education governance board); or  
3) Conduct assessment and evaluation work in institutional research or student affairs.

My main substantive area of interest (outside of research methods) is understanding how programs and policies affect student outcomes, 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 elementary, secondary and postsecondary 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 in academia and the public and private sectors.


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.

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