Educational Leadership and Higher Education
During the past 20 years, an estimated 31 million U.S. students have left college without earning a degree or certificate. As Angela Boatman sees it, this is not acceptable.
Boatman, who joins the Lynch faculty this fall after six years at Vanderbilt University, conducts data-driven research aimed at lifting barriers to college access and student success—particularly among populations traditionally underrepresented in higher education.
With much of her work focusing on academic preparedness and financial aid, her research has informed educational policy discussions at local and national levels. For instance, she evaluated a pre-college math remediation program offered in Tennessee high schools and has since conferred with policymakers in other states considering similar programs.
Colleges, says Boatman, must find ways to meet the needs of today’s students, who often represent diverse ages, backgrounds, and life experiences. Her research has found, for example, that allowing students to place out of certain college courses by passing College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams substantially increased their chances of completing an associate’s degree, especially among students who typically struggle to graduate, such as underrepresented minorities and those in the military.
Her findings on college loans point to the value of showing prospective students how financial aid can help them focus on their studies. “We know that if you’re going to work full time during college, the likelihood of dropping out increases,” she says. “In reality you could have borrowed a reasonable amount to help you get through college. That’s probably a good investment to make.”
Boatman’s research also raises questions about the timing and benefits of remediation programs. One investigation concluded that math and English remediation courses in college helped lower-skill students stay in college longer, but slowed down their better-prepared peers who didn’t need them. On the other hand, her scholarship shows that offering remedial college preparation during high school makes it possible for more students to dive right into college-level courses.
At Lynch, Boatman is teaching higher education administration this fall and higher education policy in the spring. Meanwhile, she is working with David Goodman (associate dean for strategic initiatives and external relations) and Rupal Patel (director of program innovation) to help launch an Ed.D. program in higher education.
An alumna of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Boatman says she is delighted to join a campus whose social justice mission aligns with her own. “I care deeply,” she says, “about people having access to opportunities that could improve their lives.”
“I care deeply about people having access to opportunities that could improve their lives.”
Ed.D., Harvard University
M.P.P., University of Michigan
M.A., University of Michigan
B.A., University of Minnesota
Higher education policy
College access and student success
Remedial and developmental education
Postsecondary instruction and course delivery models
Research study design and policy evaluation
Boatman, A., Hurwitz, M., Lee, J., & Smith, J. (2019).
The impacts of passing a CLEP exam on degree completion.
Journal of Human Resources. 55(4). DOI: 10.3368/jhr.55.4.1117-9167R2
Evans, B.J. & Boatman, A. (2019).
Understanding how information affects loan aversion:
A randomized control trial of providing federal loan information to high school seniors.
The Journal of Higher Education. 90(5), 800-832. DOI: 10.1080/00221546.2019.1574542
Boatman, A. & Long, B.T. (2018).
Does remediation work for all students?:
How the effects of postsecondary remedial and developmental courses vary by level of academic preparation.
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 40(1), 29-58. DOI: 10.3102/0162373717715708
Boatman, A & Soliz, A. (2018).
Statewide transfer policies and community college student success.
Education Finance and Policy. 13(4), 449-483. DOI: 10.1162/EDFP_a_00233
Evans, B., Boatman, A., Soliz, A. (2018).
Framing and labeling effects in the decision to borrow for postsecondary education:
An experimental analysis.
Research in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1007/s11162-018-9518-y