The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) has released two requests for proposals relating to state authorization. The first, Improving State Authorization Learning Community Request for Proposals, is for states, and the second, State Authorization Research Funding Request for Proposals, is geared toward researchers.
Improving State Authorization Learning Community Request for Proposals:
Due 5 p.m. on December 16, 2019
The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) is pleased to announce the creation of a new project designed to help states evaluate and strengthen their authorization processes to better protect students and improve quality in higher education. This multifaceted project will build on the recommendations provided in a recent SHEEO white paper, produce original thinking on state authorization, and provide a forum for states to work on solutions to common issues with state authorization.
The creation of a Learning Community for states seeking to improve their role as the central actors in the higher education accountability space will be a core component of this project. The goal of the Learning Community is to support state efforts to evaluate and improve state authorization policies and processes systematically. Through in-person and web-based meetings, state teams will receive professional development, technical assistance, financial support, and peer learning opportunities. SHEEO is seeking letters of interest from states that are prepared to elevate state authorization as a core quality assurance and student protection function.
Thanks to the generous support of Lumina Foundation, the Learning Community will include teams from up to eight states. The Learning Community will meet once in person and three times via webinar over 18 months. Each state will receive a $15,000 grant to help jump-start evaluation and reform efforts. The Learning Community will function as an ongoing network of the state teams, SHEEO staff, and subject-matter experts from other education organizations.
State Authorization Research Funding Request for Proposals
Due 5 p.m. on January 15, 2020
SHEEO’s primary mission is to promote an environment that values higher education and its role in ensuring the equitable education of all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic factors. Central to that mission is equipping states with the skills and information to act when and where necessary. One area that has recently required action is state authorization of postsecondary institutions.
Following the recent surge in institutional and campus closures, the growth in online education programs and providers, and increased concerns about educational quality, SHEEO published a white paper exploring the state role in the postsecondary education regulatory triad that includes the federal government and accreditors. In the white paper, we argue that through the state authorization process, states are the central actors in the higher education public accountability space. To this end, states should evaluate and strengthen their authorization processes to better protect students and improve quality in higher education. While the paper reviews conventional approaches to state authorization and offers recommendations for state agencies to consider, we were unable to find any empirical research on the effectiveness or outcomes of different strategies for state authorization, the process of state authorization, or the experience of individuals involved in state authorization. Without an empirical base of evidence to guide our recommendations, they are not as strong or as specific as they could be.
With generous support from Arnold Ventures, SHEEO is issuing this Request for Proposals (RFP) to fund research projects that investigate state authorization processes, policies, outcomes, and procedures. The immediate goal of these research projects is to provide states with evidence-based recommendations to improve state authorization.
SHEEO seeks to fund up to six research projects at $13,500 each through this RFP. Researchers requiring additional funds for specific research costs, such as original data collection, significant travel, and data access fees, may submit an additional funds request, including a budget outlining these costs. Awardees will receive these dollars directly as an honorarium, and they may seek funding from other sources to supplement the funds. Each project will consist primarily of two elements:
- an empirical research paper with an abstract and an executive summary; and
- a corresponding blog post that translates the research for a more general policy audience.
Proposals will be reviewed by a committee consisting of SHEEO staff, state higher education leaders, and external researchers. Successful proposals will propose research that promises to have immediate relevance to improving state authorization of postsecondary education providers and that meets traditional academic standards for quality and rigor.