With an ongoing conversation surrounding the costs and benefits of higher education to both individuals and society, the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education (CRUE) produces high-quality research intended to inform scholars, practitioners, policy makers, and the general public. CRUE was founded in 2005 by Ernie Pascarella (one of the most cited scholars in higher education research) and Elizabeth Whitt.

Faculty associates, post-doctoral scholars, and graduate students have worked on projects ranging from national longitudinal studies of student experiences and outcomes to pedagogical consultations for individual instructors. CRUE members’ interdisciplinary philosophy has allowed us to build ongoing relationships with postsecondary institutions (including departments and colleges across the University of Iowa), funding agencies, and intermediate organizations whose leaders seek to understand best practices for creating and nurturing effective environments for all students. Given our focus on undergraduate education, we explore the impact of college in classrooms, in residence halls, on athletic fields, as a workplace, and throughout the campus community. We examine various aspects of the cognitive, ethical, workplace, and practical development of students, faculty, student affairs staff, administrators, and society.

Our vast body of work, which is regularly published in leading peer-reviewed journals and presented at national conferences, has also been cited by the US Supreme Court and by journalists in popular publications. The foundational expertise that CRUE provides has assisted many of our alumni in developing prominent careers as scholars, instructors, and administrators. We invite you to learn more about CRUE and to explore our scholarly papers and articles on higher education through this website; we aim to make our work as accessible and transparent as possible. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions, would like more information, or are interested in working with CRUE.


The mission of Center for Research on Undergraduate Education (CRUE) is to implement and disseminate research and scholarship which foster understanding of effective undergraduate education.  The Center will fulfill this mission by (1) pursuit and coordination of research and funding initiatives for CRUE faculty and graduate students, and (2) dissemination of research results to national, regional, and state audiences via CRUE publications; refereed journals; scholarly meetings; professional association conferences and publications; and institutional consultations.


The long-term vision for CRUE is national and international recognition as the premier interdisciplinary center conducting, promoting, and disseminating high-quality research on the impact of college and the conditions for student success.


Interest in improving the quality of undergraduate education has never been greater.  Baccalaureate attainment rates vary widely and nearly one out of five four-year colleges and universities graduates less than one-third of their first time, full-time, degree-seeking first-year students within six years (Education Trust, 2004), a rate most see as unacceptable.

Calls for more effective means to foster undergraduate success for a wider population of students and more meaningful research about college student experiences are featured in higher education publications and professional association agendas, as well as the popular press.  Through their research and scholarship, faculty in the College of Education at UI have made substantial contributions to the national conversation about undergraduate education and the growing body of knowledge about college impact and outcomes.  CRUE provides a framework for systematic pursuit of these important research agendas.