Chris Marsicano Assistant Professor of the Practice in Educational Studies
- Ph.D. Vanderbilt University
- M.P.P. Duke University
- A.B. Davidson College
Areas of Expertise
- College affordability
- Educational Policy
- Public Policy Analysis and Management
- Higher Education Finance and Policy
- Lobbying and Interest Groups
- Politics of Education
I am a 2010 graduate of Davidson and public policy scholar who loves to combine my dual passions for education and politics in the classroom and in my research agenda.
My interest in both goes back as far as I can remember. My high school years consisted of working for local election campaigns and watching The West Wing. Higher education is also my family business?both my mother and father worked for colleges and universities while I was growing up.
Much of my research is informed by stints as a college admission counselor at Davidson and working for a lobbyist while studying public policy at Duke University. I defended my doctoral dissertation on higher education interest group activity at Vanderbilt University in the summer of 2018.
I use primarily quantitative and quasi-experimental methods to examine major education policy issues. My research interests include higher education policy and finance, the politics of education, public management, and civic engagement. I examine higher education institutions as political actors and the outcomes associated with their attempts to impact the political process.
Much of my work focuses on higher education institution lobbyists and their activities in Washington, DC, but I also am interested in how state-and-level political decisions like raising the minimum wage impact educational institutions.
My work has been published or featured in peer-reviewed academic journals like Educational Researcher and popular print outlets like the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. The most rewarding part of my research is collaborating with students on potential publications.
I am always on the lookout for opportunities to work with students on research projects and constantly try to find ways for students to present our work at academic conferences.
I teach courses on public policy, the politics of education, comparative and international education, and higher education institutions. In every course I teach, I make sure to give students the opportunity to work on real-life policy issues. For example, in my fall 2018 Politics of Education Policy class, students worked with the state senator who represents Davidson to craft legislation to make public postsecondary education more affordable for North Carolina citizens.
I love working with and mentoring students, and do all I can to help students achieve their personal, academic, and career goals.
Davidson professors had a dramatic influence on my life when I was a student here; I just want to pay it forward to the next generation of brilliant, talented Davidson students trying to do good in the world.