Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2020 Issue »

    Examining the Role of Gender in Educational Policy Formation

    The Case of Campus Sexual Assault Legislation, 2007–2017

    David R. Johnson and Liang Zhang
    The persistent problem of sexual assault on college campuses is receiving attention in both the public sphere and state legislatures. Although a considerable body of research examines various aspects of campus sexual assault, such as rates and reporting, scholars have not examined how state characteristics and interstate dynamics influence the policy process related to campus sexual assault. This gap is compounded by an underemphasis on gender in theories of state policy adoption, even as a record number of women serve in state legislatures. Drawing on a data set that captures the introduction and enactment of campus sexual assault legislation between 2007 and 2017, David R. Johnson and Liang Zhang examine in this article how the state policy adoption and diffusion framework explains the introduction and enactment of campus sexual assault policy. The results of their study show that the number of forcible sex offenses at public colleges, the number of female Democrats in state senates, contributions from women’s interest groups, gubernatorial power, Republican influence, and bipartisan sponsorship influence the campus sexual assault policy process, with varying influence across legislative stages. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for researchers interested in policy adoption and gender issues as well as for advocates working on campus sexual assault policy reform.

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    David R. Johnson is an assistant professor of higher education in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Reno. His research examines how universities are shaped by their organizational environments, particularly as it relates to politics, capitalism, and religion. He is the author of A Fractured Profession: Commercialism and Conflict in Academic Science (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), and his recent work can be found in Educational Researcher, Journal of Higher Education, and Science, Technology, and Human Values.

    Liang Zhang is a professor of higher education in the Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology at the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. His research focuses on higher education economics, finance, and public policy, particularly the role of governments and institutions in affecting institutional performance and student outcomes. Zhang’s recent work has appeared in Research in Higher Education, Educational Researcher, Education Finance and Policy, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
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    Winter 2020 Issue


    Teachers’ Efforts to Support Undocumented Students Within Ambiguous Policy Contexts
    Hillary Parkhouse, Virginia R. Massaro, Melissa J. Cuba, and Carolyn N. Waters

    Book Notes

    Campus Counterspaces
    Micere Keels

    American Higher Education Since World War II
    Roger L. Geiger

    Talking About Leaving Revisited
    edited by Elaine Seymour and Anne-Barrie Hunter

    Moving Up Without Losing Your Way
    Jennifer M. Morton

    The Ocean in the School
    Rick Bonus

    Progressive Dystopia
    Savannah Shange

    Radical Hope
    Kevin M. Gannon

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