Watson College of Education Assistant Professor Kevin McClure Wins Research Award

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Kevin McClure, assistant professor of higher education in the Watson College of Education, is among the recipients of the 2016 Research Awards in Educational Advancement sponsored by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

McClure was recognized with the John Grenzebach Award for Outstanding Research in Philanthropy for Educational Advancement for “Patterns in Giving by Philanthropic Foundations to Higher Education Institutions: A State-level Social Network Analysis.” A lack of informed and theoretical research into foundation giving to colleges and universities prompted the study, which marks the first time social network analysis has been used in this type of research.

“Dr. McClure’s work adds in important ways to existing research and will provide guidance that can help universities, including UNCW, use a more strategic approach to seeking and cultivating external funding,” said WCE Dean Van Dempsey. “We are delighted that CASE recognized the value of his research by presenting him with this award.”

The project is an attempt to better understand the flow of money from the top 25 philanthropic foundations to colleges and universities in North Carolina. One goal of the research is to examine foundation giving to higher education based on institutional characteristics such as student demographics, geography and emphasis on research.

There were no pre-existing databases documenting giving from foundations specifically to higher education institutions, so McClure and his graduate students combed through foundations’ individual tax records to document gifts. Social network analysis was employed to explore relationships between foundations and individual institutions. 

“In the end, the research will help us identify which types of higher education institutions in the state are advantageously positioned to receive foundation money and which are struggling to compete,” McClure said.

The Grenzebach Awards recognize the work of researchers and scholars exploring fundraising trends. The awards are named in honor of the late John Grenzebach, founding chair of Grenzebach Glier & Associates Inc., the philanthropic-management consulting firm that supports the awards. Grenzebach was a leader in educational philanthropy with a strong interest in promoting scholarship in the field of advancement.

-- Tricia Vance