Dr. Lauren Schudde: Championing Equity Through Higher Education Research and Policy

Headshot of Lauren Schudde

Dr. Lauren Schudde has spent her career focused on finding ways to mitigate social inequities in the United States through higher education policy. Her research prioritizes students and policies at community colleges and regional public universities. One of her most recent projects examines Dual Enrollment Equity Pathways, a transformative project aimed at breaking barriers and promoting educational access. As a co-leader in the implementation and metrics studies, her efforts are part of a significant collaboration with the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, supported generously by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Schudde is co-leading the Texas Transfer Project, which encompasses several ongoing studies related to postsecondary transfer in Texas. Despite growing research on transfer, few qualitative studies have analyzed the complete process, from initial intention to baccalaureate completion or dropout. This project will build a stronger understanding of the longitudinal transfer process by following 100 transfer-intending community college students for five years. The research team follows transfer-intending community college students throughout their academic journey (including navigating the community college, choice of transfer destination, changes in educational aspirations, and post-transfer experiences).

To further strengthen the policy relevance and contribution of the project, the research team incorporates state administrative data from the Texas Education Research Center (ERC) to illustrate how the rich experiential observations from their qualitative data align with broader patterns of credit accumulation and transfer. Dr. Schudde uses state administrative data to examine the role of state transfer policies in predicting bachelor’s degree attainment among community college transfer students and to understand student application patterns and college choice.

Through her groundbreaking work, Dr. Schudde is not only transforming the lives of countless students but also contributing to the broader landscape of community college research.