William G. Tierney

William G. Tierney
University of Southern California | USC · Rossier School of Education

Ph.D., M.A., M.Ed.

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259
Publications
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Publications

Publications (259)
Chapter
This chapter introduces the framework of mindful innovation in higher education through six central tenets: 1. A focus on the societal impact, as well as the entrepreneurial potential, of any potential innovation, especially for tradi- tionally marginalized groups. 2. A welcoming environment for experimentation that critically examines and unders...
Article
Amid calls for increased public scholarship, ethnographers occupy precarious positions. They focus on studying underrepresented cultural groups within local contexts and connecting micro and macro levels to understand the impact of social, economic, and political forces. The methodology is particularly well-suited to engage multiple audiences, infl...
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All too often, observers of tertiary education assume that the way the academic world functions today is the way it always has been organized. And yet, colleges and universities always have been in a state of change. If “world-class rankings” had been compiled in the late nineteenth century, no institutions in the USA would have likely made the lis...
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This entry on life history research is separated into four distinct, yet interrelated, sections. First, it depicts the evolution of life history research by highlighting several impactful works of the past 100 years. Second, it defines life history by examining published articulations of the method. Third, it depicts the process of conducting a lif...
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This special issue of Qualitative Inquiry is dedicated to illustrating life history’s pertinence in the 21st century and to clarify its expediency in the modern world. Our purpose is not to imply that life history needs a thorough reconceptualization to be cogent, have broad impact in the social sciences, and attract a broad readership. Instead, we...
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In India, university students from scheduled castes (SCs) face a number of challenges that not only prevent them from graduating but also prevent them from being strong performers in universities and upon graduation. Utilizing the framework of social capital, this article draws upon life histories, secondary interviews, and document analysis to und...
Article
Developing countries desire institutions ranked as “world-class,” and want to increase postsecondary participation. Limited public monies require decisions that usually augment the welfare of one objective at the expense of another. An additional conundrum concerns the need for quality assurances. Research needs to be rigorous; students need to be...
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Human agency is increasingly vulnerable in systems of higher education that have fully absorbed neoliberal philosophy and practice. Focused on institutional profit, competitive policy makers and professors in such systems often lose sight of the fragility and value of human well-being (Keashly & Neuman, 2010; Lynch, 2010; Olive & Cangemi, 2015). Fa...
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With a greater understanding of the educational implications of how Black youth use digital media, scholars and practitioners have the potential to play to students’ strengths in developing digital literacy. Based on this systematic review of literature, the authors’ argument is two-fold: (a) race and culture are integral to research concerning dig...
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College for All approaches to secondary education have gained prominence over recent decades. This trend has resulted in scholarly criticism. College is inappropriate for many students, and insisting that all students attend ensures failure, frustration and debt. The College for All policy, intended to enhance democratic equality and undermine huma...
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Despite having outlawed the caste system and the concept of untouchability in 1947, caste identity remains a cornerstone of social, political and economic life in India. Like other social institutions, educational institutions are the reflection of caste prejudices and discrimination. The recent inclusion of lower castes through the reservation sys...
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This chapter introduces the topic of cultural perspectives in higher education by first presenting a working definition for cultural perspectives in higher education, with a special focus on the writings of anthropologist Clifford Geertz. Afterwards, the intellectual history of contemporary cultural research is reviewed through a synopsis of major...
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This article explores institutional culture by first defining culture writ large and explaining its utility in deciphering the complex nature of higher education institutions. Afterward, six important terms that establish a framework for examining institutional culture are provided and discussed in detail. Then, the article illustrates how an insti...
Book
Many schools and programs in low-income neighborhoods lack access to the technological resources, including equipment and Internet service, that those in middle- and upper-income neighborhoods have at their fingertips. This inequity creates a persistent digital divide-not a simple divide in access to technology per se, but a divide in both formal a...
Article
Each year, it is estimated between 320,000 and 400,000 LGBT youth encounter homelessness. They are at increased risk of victimization and abuse and face stigmatization for being both homeless and a sexual or gender minority. These youth are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to become homeless after being forced out of their homes. Be...
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Regulatory enforcement is a policy decision in itself. Given the current federal commitment to deregulate the for-profit college market, state regulations will likely become increasingly important. This study examines the factors contributing to the enforcement of state-level proprietary college regulations. Using event history analysis, the author...
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This volume focuses on the importance of state policy for ensuring equity in postsecondary access, achievement, and attainment. America has a federalist system of education that gives states significant autonomy in their governance of schools, colleges, and universities. This system has created significant variation across states; variation that pr...
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Singular acts of academic corruption, such as cheating on an exam, occur in all institutions in all countries.Until recently, however, academic corruption that is systemic has been under-studied and under-theorized. This article focuses exclusively on monetary corruption.The authors focus on their forms and the individuals involved. The article inv...
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This chapter asks what role university ranking systems should play in national higher education systems that are considering either massification or contraction, but are also subject to the pressures of global competition. We preface this discussion by contending that ranking systems simultaneously depict and inscribe the higher education sector as...
Chapter
A differentiated higher education system in the United States has a long history that has evolved from state-chartered religious institutions in colonial America to complex state-systems and autonomous private non-profit and for-profit institutions that receive large federal subsidies through research funding and student grants and loans.
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This chapter interrogates the capacity of international branch campuses to act as agents of social change. At the outset, a brief historical overview contextualizes the global emergence of international branch campuses by highlighting contemporary trends and recent exponential growth in the sector. Afterward, institutional diversity is illustrated...
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p>Academic corruption occurs in all institutions and all countries. It is, however, an area of research that is often difficult to study. The intent here is to understand what systemic corruption is and how it is done in India. The authors find a broken culture which enable corrupt practices to occur throughout the system.</p
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p>India is the world’s largest democracy, but does democratic governance ensure that academic freedom is the same regardless of geographic location? We review recent developments pertaining to academic freedom in India and consider the limitations being placed on faculty in the classroom, in their research, and with regard to extramural speech and...
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Higher education is currently confronted by global forces that necessitate innovative research, innovative pedagogies, and innovative organizational structures. For these reasons, we suggest that a theoretical understanding of innovation is imperative for higher education’s continued development in the twenty-first century. Grounded in the innovati...
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SummerBridge is a 4-week summer bridge program for approximately 100 graduating high school seniors from underrepresented backgrounds who will be attending a 4-year university in the fall. Students take a writing course and college knowledge workshops at a private California university. This article reports on the findings from a recent program eva...
Chapter
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This chapter argues that creativity and innovation may entail deeper consideration as important components that impact the evolution of higher education in the twenty-first century. After demonstrating how continuous change and variation in academic life has been present even as continuity has been valorized, we identify three primary challenges th...
Article
Higher education is going through as significant a change as at any time in the last century. Recommendations about how to resolve these issues have been offered by numerous government commissions, think tanks and foundations. A seldom used approach is to look back to consider what others have said and suggested in previous eras. The author conside...
Article
The authors consider how globalisation has fundamentally reshaped education. The assumption that in a knowledge economy workers need to be better educated has led to the belief that education is a private good. What the authors define as ‘responsibilisation’ frames a radically different vision of public life from that of the past. The pressures of...
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The authors first survey the factors related to globalization that have stimulated the creation of international branch campuses. They then contend that the viability of an international branch campus should not be solely evaluated from a rational choice perspective oriented toward economic self-interest. Rather, the organizational culture of the b...
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In this commentary, the author reflects on a special issue that explores how educational institutions serve homeless and highly mobile students as well as their families. The number of homeless youth continues to rise, leading the author to question why structural constraints have not been removed. In addition to reflecting on the articles, he poin...
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Malaysian tertiary education is a microcosm of the trends and challenges facing all of postsecondary education throughout the world. Privatization is increasing in the public sector. New providers have entered the Malaysian tertiary market. International rankings are a preoccupation of the government and research universities. The cost of education...
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As the for-profit higher education industry continues to grow, many observers have questioned their practices and policies. The author explains why the industry continues to grow and proposes who will have to oversee and regulate the industry in the future.
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Ethnography in the field of postsecondary education has served as a magnifying glass bringing into focus university culture and student life. This paper highlights the ways in which ethnography is especially useful for understanding more recent dynamics and shifts in higher education. The authors utilize existing literature to uphold the relevancy...
Chapter
Pierre Bourdieu’s cultural capital theory is frequently cited throughout the educational literature. Previous scholarship has noted the limitations of this framework, such as the predominant focus on highbrow culture as a quantitative measure as well as the lack of consideration of cultural capital in nondominant cultures. Based on a review of rese...
Article
Postsecondary institutions always have been in a state of change. The author discusses four key areas of higher education – systems of tertiary education, privatization, academic work, and technology – that demand careful analysis that have always been of concern but now are entering a new phase of change. The author offers an interpretation of the...
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The academy has a reputation of resisting change; the assumption is that the faculty are unwilling to consider alterations to the tempo, pattern, texture and content of the academy. While many basic structures within the academy remain in place, there are in fact multiple surface-level changes that have impacted academe over the years. This article...
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Background/Context Scarce research has been conducted examining why students choose to attend higher priced for-profit institutions over community colleges. The authors suggest that increased national concern over proprietary higher education warrants an in-depth comparative case study of the choice factors utilized by for-profit and community coll...
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Increasing postsecondary access depends in large part on enhancing underrepresented students’ writing ability, or college writing readiness. However, what exactly constitutes college-level writing is not clear-cut, complicating efforts to improve secondary preparation. This article examines recent efforts to define postsecondary writing, suggesting...
Article
College readiness has become a growing concern for educational policy makers, practitioners, and researchers. This chapter briefly reviews some of the issues surrounding college readiness and previews the issue that follows.
Article
Passed to stimulate innovation and economic growth in 1980, the Bayh–Dole Act caused research universities in the USA to increase their focus on patenting and licensing activities. While Bayh–Dole appears to have led to an escalation in licensing and patenting applications through technology transfer offices, some question the Act's utility and inf...
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In this essay, we interrogate the role of academic freedom in the 21st century by describing its historical genesis in the modern university, its association with the concept of tenure, and how it is reinterpreted by different cultural and social contexts. Afterwards, we examine traditional infringements by national governments upon academic freedo...
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In this essay, we interrogate the role of academic freedom in the 21st century by describing its historical genesis in the modern university, its association with the concept of tenure, and how it is reinterpreted by different cultural and social contexts. Afterwards, we examine traditional infringements by national governments upon academic freedo...
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The complex inner workings of how American universities operate are the focus of John V. Lombardi’s book, How Universities Work. The book offers insight into university operations by covering a wide range of topics including budgeting, research, and management. Lombardi’s perspective comes from years spent in high-ranking leadership positions in so...
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Unarguably one of the classics of higher education literature over the last quarter century is Vincent Tinto’s Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition. Although not without its critics, Tinto’s theoretical work and analyses have largely stood the test of time. Tinto’s initial argument, modified over the years, was that...
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This article focuses on Danny, a low-income, first-generation college student living in Los Angeles, California, and the challenges he has faced in preparing for college. The author describes how Danny's identity and "cultural flexibility" have aided him as he applied to college. Four themes dominate Danny's life: his neighborhood, his father and f...
Book
Part of the barrier to college access is navigating the elaborate application process with its multiple essays, test scores, and deadlines. For students without substantial school and family support, this is enough to make entering college impossible. Higher education scholar William Tierney and his team at the University of Southern California app...
Chapter
In May of this year, the University of Southern California (USC) succeeded in attracting two prominent neuroscientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (University of Southern California, 2013). Over the last 50 years, academic staff have moved from university to university in the United States quite often.
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This article uses the life history method to chronicle the challenges of a low-income, first-generation student en route to college. The paper addresses three questions: how Manuel navigates college and related topics such as roommates, family, and money; how he creates social networks; and how he works with adults such as teachers and administrato...
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The author argues that the role of a public intellectual involves a science of knowing as well as the knowledge gained by a researcher’s work and life. Including both, the intellectual moves beyond educational organizations and finds ways to become more involved not only with larger issues of public policy but also with those with whom he or she is...
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This article reports on a study analyzing the digital skills of 91 low-income students enrolled in writing remediation. Findings suggest that technological demands widen the equity dimensions of the college preparation gap by aggravating the academic challenges remedial writers already face. Suggestions to support the compound literacy needs of 21s...
Article
This article reports on a study analyzing the digital skills of 91 low-income students enrolled in writing remediation. Findings suggest that technological demands widen the equity dimensions of the college preparation gap by aggravating the academic challenges remedial writers already face. Suggestions to support the compound literacy needs of 21s...
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The construct of time influences student learning in and out of school and consequently pervades educational discourse. Yet the integration of information and communication technologies into contemporary society is changing how people perceive and experience time. Traditional theoretical and methodological approaches to time research no longer capt...
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This invited commentary responds to and builds upon Tobin and Murphy's article, “Addressing the Challenges of Child and Family Homelessness.” In affirming the ideas emerging from this article, Hallett and Tierney provide three points of extension: (1) more research needs to be conducted with doubled-up families; (2) the role of shame needs further...
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Background/Context This article presents a review of research relevant to postsecondary writing remediation. The purpose of the review is to assess empirical support for policy aimed at improving the degree completion rates of students who arrive at tertiary settings under-prepared to write. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study Our p...
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This chapter examines the educational barriers that homeless youth face in one large urban area. The text reviews the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act and discusses how California has attempted to follow the federal mandates, and the implications for Los Angeles. The chapter utilizes interviews with 120 homeless youth and 45 policymakers, sch...
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Undocumented immigrant postsecondary students are an understudied group on American campuses. The authors suggest that increased national attention on the topic of undocumented immigration warrants an in-depth study of a small subset of the larger undocumented population-college students. Purpose/Objective/ Research Question/Focus of Study: The res...
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The plight of nations labeled as ‘failed’ is well-documented, as are suggested strategies to fix them. One area that receives a great deal of focus in the extant literature is education. How can education contribute to the rebuilding of a failed State? Most often the responses to this question focus on the importance of reestablishing primary and s...
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Graduate students are typically expected to know how to write. Those who write poorly are occasionally penalized, but little in-class attention is given to help students continue to develop and refine their writing skills. More often than not, writing courses at the graduate level are remedial programs designed for international students and others...
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This paper examines the relationship between qualitative research and public policy. For decades, qualitative and quantitative methodologists have debated the merits of one perspective in relation to others. Scholars, using diverse epistemological and ontological stances, have contested different beliefs about the criteria for judgment of rigorous...
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Remediation in higher education has received a great deal of attention over the past decade. This article describes one intervention to curb the number of students who need such remediation. California State University’s Early Assessment Program (EAP) provides students with information about their college readiness before their senior year of high...
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In this article I suggest that qualitative researchers broaden the narrative strategies we employ so our texts are built more in relation to fiction and storytelling, rather than in response to logical empiricism. My point is not so much to criticize the work of others, but rather to open up a space in social science texts for a more protean and en...
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How a text is written influences what is written. The writing process involves more than grammar and sentence structure. The authors use Laurel Richardson’s “writing-story” to discuss the process of writing a dissertation. The authors share how they negotiated the advisor—advisee relationship throughout the dissertation process. Narratives are used...
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American Academic for helpful feedback on a draft of this article. Despite efforts at the federal, state, and institutional levels over the past several decades, the number of faculty of color at universities remains unrepresentative of the general population. In 1992, for example, African Americans accounted for 4.9 percent of all faculty. Twelve...
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Academic freedom remains a central tenet of our nation’s colleges and universities. However, recent incidents have spawned debates regarding the merits of academic freedom and the mechanism that protects it, tenure. By way of two contrasting examples, the authors consider how two types of higher education institutions—private for-profit universitie...
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The goal of this paper is to understand, by way of a life history of one low‐income working‐class youth, how globalization impacts the working class in a developing nation. The concept of globalization and the method of life history seem diametrically opposed. Globalization is an idea about large social forces that impact the economic and material...
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The rapid development and adoption of technology along with open economies has created an integrated global economy. The globalisation process has brought with it significant changes in all areas of life, including tertiary education. This book outlines the features of the new wave of globalisation and draws out specific trends and challenges assoc...
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Research with homeless youth requires negotiating with Institutional Review Boards (IRB), school districts, and social service agencies. Youth that are homeless live a life different from the researcher, thus issues of trust and caring need to be considered before asking a vulnerable young person to share his or her story. The authors share insight...

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