Dr. Bradley E. Cox

My research on college student success has earned over $550,000 in grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the NASPA Foundation, the TG Public Benefit Program, and the Spencer Foundation. My work has been published in many of the field’s top-tier journals, including the Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, and the Journal of College Student Development.

The College Autism Network (CAN) family of research projects examine the systemic, institutional, and personal conditions that shape college access, experiences, and outcomes for students on the autism spectrum.

The Linking Institutional Policies to Student Success (LIPSS) project sought to identify specific institution-wide policies that can be leveraged to increase college student engagement – a key predictor of student grades and persistence that is especially beneficial to underrepresented and academically under-prepared students.

I have received the Robert M. Gagne Outstanding Research Award in 2011, 2014, and 2017. I was named an Emerging Scholar by ACPA: College Student Educators International in 2013.

Major Projects

College Autism Network logo

College Autism Network (CAN)

is a national nonprofit organization linking varied stakeholders engaged in evidence-based efforts to improve access, experiences, and outcomes for college students with autism.

LIPSS logo

Linking Institutional Policies to Student Success (LIPSS)

seeks to identify specific institution-wide policies that might be leveraged to increase college student engagement.

 

Key Publications & Presentations

Working with missing data in higher education research: A primer and real-world example

Nearly all quantitative analyses in higher education draw from incomplete datasets – a common problem with no universal solution. In the first part of this paper, we explain why missing data matter and outline the advantages and disadvantages of six common methods for handling missing data. Next, we analyze real-world data from 5,905 students across 33 institutions to document how one’s approach to handling missing data can substantially affect statistical conclusions, researcher interpretations, and subsequent implications for policy and practice. We conclude with straightforward suggestions for higher education researchers looking to select an appropriate method for handling missing data.

Lip Service or Actionable Insights?: Linking Student Experiences to Institutional Assessment and Data-Driven Decision Making in Higher Education

The current study uses empirical data from 114 senior administrators and 8,847 students at 57 institutions in five states to examine the extent to which institutional assessment and data-driven decision making shape the experiences of first-year students. Nearly all these schools regularly collect some form of assessment data, and more than half report using assessment data to inform decision making. However, the institutional adoption of policies related to the collection of assessment data or the application of data-driven decision making appears to have no relationship with student experiences or outcomes in the first year of college.

College Experiences for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Personal Identity, Public Disclosure, and Institutional Support

Drawing from personal interviews with a diverse group of students with autism, the current study (1) amplifies these students’ voices, (2) describes tensions between their public and private identities, (3) outlines the academic, social, emotional, self-advocacy, and communication challenges they face in college, and (4) proposes both general principles and specific practices that could be leveraged to facilitate postsecondary success for students with autism.

Funded Research Activities

Making Disability Visible in the Measurement of Post-Secondary Educational Quality

$49,998 Co-Principal Investigator. This grant supports development of a conference exploring 1) the current state of, and future opportunities for, higher education disability research, and 2) potential solutions for theoretical, empirical, and methodological challenges related to disability research in higher education. Funded by the Spencer Foundation. (2017-2018)

Autism-Related Characteristics in College STEM Students: Prevalence, Performance, Mediation

$299,710 Principal Investigator. This project seeks to (1) determine the prevalence of autism-related characteristics among college students entering STEM fields; (2) assess the effect of autism-related characteristics on student performance in gateway STEM courses; and (3) evaluate the effect of formal disability accommodations on the classroom performance of STEM students with autism.
Funded by the National Science Foundation (Award #1612090). (2016-19)

Identifying Bridges and Barriers to Postsecondary Success for Students with Autism

$5,000 Principal Investigator. This grant supports an extension and expansion of the 2014 study. Specifically, this grant provides funding for follow-up interviews with autistic college students and other important individuals (e.g., parents, teachers) to explore complex interplay of people and institutions that have influenced these students’ postsecondary opportunities, experiences, and outcomes.
Funded by FSU’s College of Education. (2015-16)

College Students with Autism: Bridges and Barriers to Postsecondary Success

$14,000 Principal Investigator. Drawing data from in-person interviews of adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the study sought to identify and define key malleable factors that became targets for subsequent development of interventions to improve postsecondary access, experiences, and outcomes for students with ASD. Funded by FSU’s Council on Research and Creativity. (2014-15)

Self-Authorship Among Active Student Affairs Professionals

$4,993 Principal Investigator. This project explored the degree to which student affairs professionals enter the field with – or develop during their professional careers – the cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal dimensions of self-authorship. Funded by the NASPA Foundation. (2012-13)

Linking Institutional Policies to Student Success (LIPSS)

$153,323 Principal Investigator. The LIPSS project sought to identify specific institution-wide policies that can be leveraged to increase college student engagement – a key predictor of student grades and persistence that is especially beneficial to underrepresented and academically under-prepared students. Data were collected from 57 institutions in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, and Iowa. Funded by the TG Public Benefit Grant program. (2011-13)

Linking Institutional Policies to Student Success in Florida’s Colleges and Universities

$31,000 Principal Investigator. This study focused on colleges and universities in Florida. Funded by Florida State University’s Center for Higher Education Research, Teaching, and Innovation. (2011-13)

Linking Institutional Policies to Student Success: Background and Preparations

$17,000 Principal Investigator. This grant generated a “proof of concept” for the LIPSS research. Funded by Florida State University’s Council for Research and Creativity. (2011)

 

Publications

† Indicates work with undergraduate and/or graduate students
** Indicates work that received an award and/or attention in the press

Refereed Journal Articles

Roehrig, A. D., Soper, D., Cox, B. E., & Colvin, G. P. (In Press). Changing the Default to Support Open Access to Education Research. Educational Researcher.

Anderson, A., Cox, B. E., Edelstein, J., & Wolz, A. (In Press). Support systems for students with autism spectrum disorder during their transition to higher education: A qualitative analysis of online discussions. College Student Affairs Journal.

Smith, I., Edelstein, J., Cox, B. E., & White, S. (In Press). Parental disclosure of ASD diagnosis to the child: A systematic review. Evidence-Based Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. doi: 10.1080/23794925.2018.1435319

Tobolowsky, B. T., Cox, B. E., & Chunoo, V. (2017). Bridging the cultural gap: Relationships between programmatic offerings and first-generation student benchmarks. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice. doi: 10.1177/1521025117742377

Cox, B. E., Reason, R. D., Tobolowsky, B. T., Brower, R. L., Patterson, S., Luczyk, S., and Roberts, K. L. (2017). Lip service or actionable insights? Linking student experiences to assessment, accountability, and data-driven decision making in higher education. Journal of Higher Education, 88(6), 835-862.
doi: 10.1080/00221546.2016.1272320

Canto, A. I., Swanbrow Becker, M., Cox, B. E., Hayden, S., Osborn, D. (2017). College students in crisis: Prevention, identification, and response options for campus housing professionals. Journal of College and University Student Housing, 43(2), 44-57.

Cox, B. E., Thompson, K., Anderson, A., Mintz, A., Locks, T. Morgan, L., Edelstein, J., & Wolz, A. (2017). College experiences for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Personal identity, public disclosure, and institutional support. Journal of College Student Development, 58(1), 71-87.

Cox, B. E., Reason, R. D., Nix, S. & Schwab, M. (2016). Life happens (outside of college): Non-college life-events and students’ likelihood of on-time graduation. Research in Higher Education, 57(7), 823-844. doi: 10.1007/s11162-016-9409-z

Brower, R. L., Cox, B. E., & Hampton, A. (2016). No adult left behind: Student affairs practices targeting adult undergraduates. ACPA Developments, 14(2).

Shetty, R., Chunoo, V. & Cox, B. E., (2016). Self-authorship in student affairs: A developmental paradox? Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 53(2), 131-145.

Cox, B. E., Dean, J. & Kowalski, R. (2015). Hidden trauma, quiet drama: The prominence and consequence of problematic grieving among college students. Journal of College Student Development, 56(3), 280-285.

Tobolowsky, B. T., McClellan, R., and Cox, B. E. (2014). Opposing forces: An organizational view of transfer policies and practices. College Student Affairs Journal, 32(1), 67-80.

Cox, B. E., McIntosh, K. L., Reason, R. D., and Terenzini, P. T. (2014). Working with missing data in higher education research: A primer and real-world example. Review of Higher Education, 37(3), 377-402. doi: 10.1353/rhe.2014.0026.

Tobolowsky, B. T. & Cox, B. E. (2012). Rationalizing neglect: An institutional response to transfer students. Journal of Higher Education, 83(3), 389-410. doi: 10.1353/jhe.2012.0021.

Cox, B. E., McIntosh, K. L., Reason, R. D., & Terenzini, P. T. (2011). A culture of teaching: Policy, perception, and practice in higher education. Research in Higher Education, 52(8), 808-829. doi: 10.1007/s11162-011-9223-6.

Cox, B. E., McIntosh, K. L., Terenzini, P. T., Reason, R. D., & Lutovsky Quaye, B. R. (2010). Pedagogical signals of faculty approachability: Factors shaping faculty-student interaction outside the classroom. Research in Higher Education, 51(8), 767-788. doi: 10.1007/s11162-010-9178-z.

Reason, R. D., Cox, B. E., Lutovsky Quaye, B. R., & Terenzini, P. T. (2010). Faculty and institutional factors that promote student encounters with difference in first-year courses. Review of Higher Education, 33(3), 391-414. doi:10.1353/rhe.0.0137.

Abel, M. J., Bice, A., & Cox, B. E. (2007). The importance of faculty involvement in orientation. Journal of College Orientation and Transition, 14(2), 25-31.

Cox, B. E. & Orehovec, E. (2007). Faculty-student interaction outside the classroom: A typology from a residential college. Review of Higher Education, 30(4), 343-362. doi: 10.1353/rhe.2007.0033.

Monographs, Books, and Chapters

Cox, B. E. (2012). A developmental typology of faculty-student interaction outside of the classroom. In Understanding College Student Experiences and Outcomes: A Typological Approach (S. Hu and S. Li, Editors). New Directions for Institutional Research. (p., 49-66). doi: 10.1002/ir.

Tobolowsky, B. T., & Cox, B. E. (Eds.) (2007). Shedding light on sophomores: An exploration of the second college year. (Monograph No. 47). Columbia: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Cox, B. E. (2005). Overview of survey responses. In B.F. Tobolowsky, The 2003 national survey on first-year seminars: Continuing innovations in the collegiate curriculum (Monograph No. 41) (pp. 47-92). Columbia: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Tobolowsky, B. F., Cox, B. E., & Wagner, M. T. (Eds.) (2005). Exploring the evidence: Volume III: Reporting research on first-year seminars (Monograph No. 42). Columbia: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Other Publications

Cox, B. E., Reason, R. D., Tobolowksy, B. F., Underwood, R. B., Luczyk, S., Nix, S., Dean, J., & Wetherell, T. K. (2012). Linking institutional policies to student success: Initial results from a five-state pilot study. Tallahassee: FSU’s Center for Higher Education Research, Teaching, and Innovation.

Terenzini, P. T., Reason, R.D, Cox, B. E., & McIntosh, K. L (2009). Comprehensive student dataset user’s guide. Reports from the Parsing the First Year of College Project. Center for the Study of Higher Education, the Pennsylvania State University.

Terenzini, P. T., Reason, R.D, Cox, B. E., Lutovsky Quaye, B. R., & McIntosh, K. L (2009). Survey of faculty activities and perceptions: Institutional report and user’s guide. Campus-Specific Reports from the Parsing the First Year of College Project. Center for the Study of Higher Education, the Pennsylvania State University.

Reason, R.D., Terenzini, P. T., Cox, B. E., Lutovsky Quaye, B. R., & McIntosh, K. L (2009). Chief academic officers survey: User’s guide. Report from the Parsing the First Year of College Project. Center for the Study of Higher Education, the Pennsylvania State University.

Reason, R.D., Terenzini, P. T., Cox, B. E., Lutovsky Quaye, B. R., & McIntosh, K. L (2009). Chief student affairs officers survey: User’s guide. Report from the Parsing the First Year of College Project. Center for the Study of Higher Education, the Pennsylvania State University.

Cox, B. E. (2006). A proven possibility: Faculty-student interaction outside the classroom. E-Source for college transitions. Columbia: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Manuscripts In Progress

Roehrig, A. D., Soper, D., Cox, B. E., & Colvin, G. P. (Revise and Resubmit). Changing the Default to Support Open Access to Education Research.

Anderson, A., Cox, B. E., Edelstein, J., & Wolz, A. (Revise and Resubmit). Support systems for students with autism spectrum disorder during their transition to higher education: A qualitative analysis of online discussions.

Smith, I., Edelstein, J., White, S., & Cox, B. E. (Revise and Resubmit) Parental Disclosure of ASD Diagnosis to the Child: A Systematic Review.

Cox, B. E., Nachman, B. R., Thompson, K., Dawson, S., Edelstein, J., Breeden, C. (In preparation). Actionable insights regarding college students with autism: A systematic literature review.

Cox, B. E., Brogdon, B., Roy, A., Edelstein, J. (Under Review). A Model of Student Success: Factors Affecting Access, Experiences, and Outcomes for College Students on the Autism Spectrum

MORE PUBLICATIONS

Working with missing data in higher education research: A primer and real-world example

Nearly all quantitative analyses in higher education draw from incomplete datasets – a common problem with no universal solution. In the first part of this paper, we explain why missing data matter and outline the advantages and disadvantages of six common methods for handling missing data. Next, we analyze real-world data from 5,905 students across 33 institutions to document how one’s approach to handling missing data can substantially affect statistical conclusions, researcher interpretations, and subsequent implications for policy and practice. We conclude with straightforward suggestions for higher education researchers looking to select an appropriate method for handling missing data.

read more

Lip Service or Actionable Insights?: Linking Student Experiences to Institutional Assessment and Data-Driven Decision Making in Higher Education

The current study uses empirical data from 114 senior administrators and 8,847 students at 57 institutions in five states to examine the extent to which institutional assessment and data-driven decision making shape the experiences of first-year students. Nearly all these schools regularly collect some form of assessment data, and more than half report using assessment data to inform decision making. However, the institutional adoption of policies related to the collection of assessment data or the application of data-driven decision making appears to have no relationship with student experiences or outcomes in the first year of college.

read more

College Experiences for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Personal Identity, Public Disclosure, and Institutional Support

Drawing from personal interviews with a diverse group of students with autism, the current study (1) amplifies these students’ voices, (2) describes tensions between their public and private identities, (3) outlines the academic, social, emotional, self-advocacy, and communication challenges they face in college, and (4) proposes both general principles and specific practices that could be leveraged to facilitate postsecondary success for students with autism.

read more