- Temple University higher education professor Sara Goldrick-Rab is among Politico's top 50 people shaping American politics, earning coverage for her 2014 research on college affordability.
- Goldrick-Rab is the author of the original study of thousands of Pell Grant recipients in the Midwest, which showed that living costs were the primary driver of affordability shortfalls in higher education and prompted the proposal which would evolve into Hillary Clinton's free public college higher education platform.
- That research also spurred other proposals for affordable tuition support through federal grant and work study programs.
This is an ideal example of how higher education works in holistic ways beyond the classroom and outside of professional development. Goldrick-Rab's research, which is not STEM or public health focused, could change the face of American higher education and the economic model of an entire industry, in part, because of her curiosity about making education more accessible for the poor.
Conversely, this is why higher education currently suffers from what many describe as a broken model, because there is no telling how much a faculty member requires to complete this kind of non-laboratory work. Sabbatical and research time, benefit negotiations for graduate students who complete the brunt of full professor's teaching duties while they research, are all considerations for how colleges can generate this kind of academic publicity, but at a cost that also includes tenure and support.