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Current Topics and Resources in Postsecondary Education

June 8, 11, and 15, 2021


This REL-only cross-REL event consisted of a series of three webinars held during a two-week span in early June 2021. The topics for these webinars were selected by REL Northwest staff members with input from the cross-REL Postsecondary Readiness and Success working group. The first webinar focused on student basic needs in postsecondary education and featured two leading researchers in basic needs, Dr. Rashida Crutchfield of California State University, Long Beach, and Dr. Suzanna Martinez from the University of California, San Francisco. The second webinar discussed trauma-informed practice in postsecondary education and featured Dr. Shannon Davidson, who authored a guide on trauma-informed practices for postsecondary education, and Dr. Karen Rauch from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. The third webinar, led by Dr. Sam Riggs, provided information on how to conduct research using the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

The objectives of the webinar series were to:

  • Increase awareness and knowledge of important topics and resources in postsecondary education.
  • Provide resources and tools to make connections between researchers' current work and postsecondary education.
  • Discuss future research and training, coaching, and technical support (TCTS) needs across the Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) in these topic areas.

Event Resources

Webinar 1: Addressing college student basic needs

Participants received the REL NW infographic on Addressing Basic Needs Insecurity Among College Students.

Basic needs for college students include food, housing, school supplies, transportation, Internet access, mental health support, and more. Ensuring students' basic needs are met can improve student outcomes, yet many students experience basic needs insecurity—and these rates are increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this session, participants will learn more about the prevalence of basic needs insecurity in postsecondary education and hear a presentation from Dr. Rashida Crutchfield and Dr. Suzanna Martinez, experts in the field, who will share their research on student basic needs initiatives in the California State University and University of California systems. This webinar will help REL researchers learn more about this emerging area in postsecondary research with important intersections with poverty research in K–12.

Webinar 2: Postsecondary student trauma-informed practice

Students with a history of trauma may have challenges in negotiating postsecondary environments and may be more likely to leave college before degree completion. In this session, participants will hear from expert Dr. Shannon Davidson about how trauma impacts learning, evidence-based practices for postsecondary educators, and how the COVID-19 pandemic is influencing the need for trauma-informed care and the prevalence of supports offered by postsecondary institutions. They will then hear a practitioner perspective from Dr. Karen Rauch from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Learning more about these topics in postsecondary education will help REL researchers expand their knowledge and improve support for K–12 and postsecondary stakeholders in their REL region.

Webinar 3: Conducting research with the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is a rich source of data for studying a variety of topics in postsecondary education. This session, led by Dr. Sam Riggs, will be divided into two parts. During the first part, participants will gain foundational information on IPEDS and why it is a valuable resource in postsecondary education research. The second part of the webinar will include a hands-on workshop using Stata statistical software to practice accessing and using the raw data files available from the IPEDS data center. This webinar will prepare REL researchers to incorporate IPEDS data into future research and training, coaching, and technical support (TCTS) needs.