People

Through the Faculty Fellows Program, the Institute fosters an environment that encourages cross-disciplinary connections and nurtures a collaborative spirit among faculty across the 12 schools. This program identifies faculty with a demonstrated interest in urban research and provides research and communication services.

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Faculty Fellow

Laura Perna

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James S. Riepe Professor

Founding Executive Director, Penn AHEAD

Chair, Higher Education Division

School/Department

Areas of Interest

    About

    Laura Perna is James S. Riepe Professor and Chair of Higher Education Division in the Graduate School of Education and Founding Executive Director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (Penn AHEAD). She is also serving as past chair of the Faculty Senate at the University of Pennsylvania, chair of the Higher Education Division of the Graduate School of Education, faculty fellow of the Institute for Urban Research, faculty affiliate of the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, and member of the advisory board for the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. She holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned her master’s in public policy and Ph.D. in education from the University of Michigan. She has held leadership positions in the primary national associations in the field of higher education administration. Dr. Perna served as President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) from 2014 to 2015 and Vice President of the American Educational Research Association’s Division J (Postsecondary Education) from 2010 to 2013 and now is a member of the AERA Grants Governing Board. Her research examines the ways that social structures, educational practices, and public policies promote and limit college access and success, particularly for individuals from lower-income families and racial/ethnic minority groups.

    Selected Publications

    Perna, L.W., and N. Hillman, eds. 2017. “Understanding student debt: Who borrows, the consequences of borrowing, and the implications for federal policy.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 671.

    Cahalan, M., L.W. Perna, M. Yamashita, R. Ruiz, and K. Franklin. 2017. Indicators of higher education equity in the United States: An historic trend report. Washington, DC: The Pell Institute of the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy.

    Perna, L.W. and R. Ruiz. 2016. “Technology: The solution to higher education’s pressing problems?” In American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century, edited by P. Altbach, P. Gumport, and M. Bastedo.. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Perna, L.W. 2016. “Throwing down the gauntlet: Ten ways to ensure the future of our research.” Review of Higher Education: 319-338.

    Perna, Laura. 2012. Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs in Metropolitan America: The Policy, Practice, and Research Issues. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. 

    x

    James S. Riepe Professor

    Founding Executive Director, Penn AHEAD

    Chair, Higher Education Division

    School/Department

    Areas of Interest

      About

      Laura Perna is James S. Riepe Professor and Chair of Higher Education Division in the Graduate School of Education and Founding Executive Director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (Penn AHEAD). She is also serving as past chair of the Faculty Senate at the University of Pennsylvania, chair of the Higher Education Division of the Graduate School of Education, faculty fellow of the Institute for Urban Research, faculty affiliate of the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, and member of the advisory board for the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. She holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned her master’s in public policy and Ph.D. in education from the University of Michigan. She has held leadership positions in the primary national associations in the field of higher education administration. Dr. Perna served as President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) from 2014 to 2015 and Vice President of the American Educational Research Association’s Division J (Postsecondary Education) from 2010 to 2013 and now is a member of the AERA Grants Governing Board. Her research examines the ways that social structures, educational practices, and public policies promote and limit college access and success, particularly for individuals from lower-income families and racial/ethnic minority groups.

      Selected Publications

      Perna, L.W., and N. Hillman, eds. 2017. “Understanding student debt: Who borrows, the consequences of borrowing, and the implications for federal policy.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 671.

      Cahalan, M., L.W. Perna, M. Yamashita, R. Ruiz, and K. Franklin. 2017. Indicators of higher education equity in the United States: An historic trend report. Washington, DC: The Pell Institute of the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy.

      Perna, L.W. and R. Ruiz. 2016. “Technology: The solution to higher education’s pressing problems?” In American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century, edited by P. Altbach, P. Gumport, and M. Bastedo.. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

      Perna, L.W. 2016. “Throwing down the gauntlet: Ten ways to ensure the future of our research.” Review of Higher Education: 319-338.

      Perna, Laura. 2012. Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs in Metropolitan America: The Policy, Practice, and Research Issues. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. 

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