This chapter applies Mettler’s (2011) concept of the “submerged state” to understand the role of competition for research and development (R&D) funding in the stratification of universities in the US. Universities are conceptualized as members of a field whose contours are shaped by R&D policy. Analysis of data from 2000-2008 shows that, as the research policy environment has changed, patterns of stratification among public universities have shifted. The number of “middle class” public universities declined, while the “striving” group grew slightly and the lowest-resource group expanded notably. The group of elite public universities and all groups of private universities changed minimally. While policy changes appear associated with increased stratification, then, this association seems more pronounced for some (e.g., low- and moderate-resource public) universities than for others. Elite universities may use other resource bases – such as endowments – to maintain positions in evolving status hierarchies.
- Research policy
- United States
The author thanks Sheila Slaughter and Brendan Cantwell for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript
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The US federal governments “IPEDS” database engaged in a substantial transformation of variable definitions in the late 1990s. Resulting confusion made it difficult to extend the present analysis backward beyond 2000.
As Cantwell details in his chapter in this volume, public universities also hold endowments. However, these funds are often allocated for the support of a multi-campus university system, and so are not directly comparable to private endowments for the purpose of the present analysis.
Syracuse withdrew from the association in 2011.
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Taylor, B.J. (2016). The Field Dynamics of Stratification Among US Research Universities: The Expansion of Federal Support for Academic Research, 2000–2008. In: Slaughter, S., Taylor, B. (eds) Higher Education, Stratification, and Workforce Development. Higher Education Dynamics, vol 45. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-21512-9_4
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