The purposes of the Council on Public Policy in Higher Education (CPPHE) shall be to promote research on, and to advance understanding of, the processes and impacts of public policy in U.S. higher education, as well as to help inform decision making in the public policy arena. The Council shall also serve as an incubator and facilitator of future policy-relevant research and as an ongoing network for the exchange of ideas and information. The Council shall pursue these purposes by providing opportunities for researchers, public policy analysts, and policy makers to share research findings and to discuss diverse ideas and perspectives regarding public policy issues in higher education. As an organization addressing public policy issues, the Council shall focus primarily on state and federal governmental issues, programs, or processes that affect higher education in the United States.
Council membership is open to all ASHE members in good standing.
The ASHE Board of Directors’ decision in October 2002, creating the Council on Public Policy in Higher Education (CPPHE) signaled formal recognition of the need to increase the visibility of research in higher education as a resource to inform public policy-making in postsecondary education. CPPHE’s by-laws state its purpose is to: “Promote research on, and to advance understanding of, the processes and impacts of public policy in U.S. higher education, as well as to help inform decision-making in the public policy arena. The Council shall also serve as an incubator and facilitator of future policy-relevant research and as an ongoing network for the exchange of ideas and information.”
Public policy making in higher education has attracted the attention of some ASHE members virtually since ASHE’s founding as the Association of Professors of Higher Education in the late 1960s. In their Presidential Addresses, Clifton Conrad (1988) and Michael Nettles (1993) urged ASHE members and other higher education researchers to focus on public policy issues as important topics for study, and on the public policy implications of research on other higher education topics. Despite these urgings, efforts in 1993 to form a group that would both stimulate discussion of research and public policy in American higher education and provide a venue for such discussions were unsuccessful.
Patrick Terenzini's* 1995 ASHE Presidential Address* rekindled interest in public policy issues in higher education and recognition of the divide between research in higher education and public policy making, and over the next three years a group coordinated by Terenzini met regularly at ASHE conferences to discuss how to marry research in higher education with public policy making.
Finally, at the 2000 ASHE conference in Sacramento, California, a small coordinating group of ASHE members launched the inaugural Forum on Public Policy in Higher Education, drawing more than 40 proposals for refereed review and attracting more than 70 participants. The group included Carol Everly Floyd, Toni Larson, James Ratcliff, and Patrick Terenzini. Floyd chaired the program committee that year and the next. Ami Zusman succeeded Floyd as program chair in the following two years. Floyd, Larson, Terenzini, and Zusman were joined by Scott Thomas in continuing to guide Forum planning and growth. In 2001 they initiated efforts to secure formal ASHE recognition for research and public policy within ASHE. Floyd led the drafting of bylaws, which culminated in October 2002 with the ASHE Board’s formal creation of the Council. Terenzini chaired the Council’s first nominations and elections committee, which in 2003 put forward a double slate of candidates for an ASHE membership vote. At the ASHE meeting in Portland, Oregon in November of that year, the Council’s first elected officers and executive committee members took office.
Council membership is open to all ASHE members.
*Terenzini, P. T. (1996). "Rediscovering roots: Public policy and higher education research." Review of Higher Education 20: 5-13.