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Advocacy Coalition Framework, Higher Education

Controversy is a common feature in any organization and governing system where there exist divergent value orientations. A number of policy issues in higher education illustrate such controversies, including debates over securing and allocating funds, affordability, and rights to free speech. One approach for understanding these controversies is the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF, Jenkins-Smith et al. 2014).

Through 2016, there have been over 300 applications of the ACF. Most of these applications have focused on North American and Europe, with an increasing number of studies in other parts of the world. Just over half the applications of the ACF have been in environmental policy, followed by health and economic policy. There have been a handful of applications of the ACF to higher education policy issues, including Beverwijk et al. (2008), Shakespeare (2008), Dougherty et al. (2010), Ness (2010), and Balbachevsky (2015).

Main Questions

The scope of the ACF centers around three main...


  • Advocacy Coalition
  • Coalition Hypothesis
  • Policy Core Beliefs
  • Shared Beliefs
  • Secondary Beliefs

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  • Balbachevsky, E. 2015. The role of internal and external stakeholders in Brazilian higher education. In Higher education in BRICS countries, 193–214. Dordrecht: Springer.

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  • Beverwijk, J., L. Goedegebuure, and J. Huisman. 2008. Policy change in nascent subsystems: Mozambican higher education policy 1993–2003. Policy Sciences 41: 357–377.

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  • Dougherty, K.J., H.K. Nienhusser, and B.E. Vega. 2010. Undocumented immigrants and state higher education policy: The politics of in-state tuition eligibility in Texas and Arizona. The Review of Higher Education 34 (1): 123–173.

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  • Ness, E.C. 2010. The politics of determining merit aid eligibility criteria: An analysis of the policy process. The Journal of Higher Education 81 (1): 33–60.

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  • Shakespeare, C. 2008. Uncovering Information’s role in the state higher education policy-making process. Educational Policy 22 (6): 875–899.

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  • Weible, Christopher M., Paul A. Sabatier, Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, Daniel Nohrstedt, and Adam Douglas Henry. 2011. A quarter century of the advocacy coalition framework: An introduction to the special issue. Policy Studies Journal 39 (3): 349–360.

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Correspondence to Christopher M. Weible .

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Olofsson, K.L., Weible, C.M. (2018). Advocacy Coalition Framework, Higher Education. In: Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions. Springer, Dordrecht.

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