When it comes to his higher education research agenda, Justin Ortagus isn’t just a “what makes the clock tick?” kind of guy. He also investigates the who-when-why-and-hows of the way things work, applying his natural curiosity and analytical skills to advance the complex policies and practices of higher education administration.
His ultimate goal, he says, is to help college and university administrators gain insight into the effectiveness of online education and a host of other initiatives designed to ensure that all types of students have the opportunity to gain access and achieve success through higher education.
It should be mentioned, early on, that Ortagus is an assistant professor of Higher Education Administration and Policy at the University of Florida College of Education. If his early success in his field is any indication, though, his time at the starting line of the faculty tenure track may be shortlived.
That helps explain why the University of Florida recently chose Ortagus as one of the few faculty members campuswide to receive its 2018 Excellence Award for Assistant Professors. The award comes with a $5,000 stipend to support research-related expenses such as travel, books, equipment and graduate student salaries.
Ortagus’s research typically examines the growing influence of online education in higher education and the extent to which community college enrollment and various state policies impact the opportunities and outcomes of historically underrepresented students.
He recently has published articles on the impact of online enrollment on students’ long-term academic outcomes, the influence of information technology funding on institutional productivity, and the unintended consequences of performance funding in higher education.

“Justin has established himself as a successful scholar on a clear trajectory for leadership in his field,” said UF Education Dean Glenn Good. “His area of scholarship is rigorous, practical and important to society.“

Good said that because of his leadership and exceptional skills, Ortagus recently was named the new director of the Institute of Higher Education at the College of Education.
Ortagus currently is the principal investigator of a $300,000 grant from the Helios Education Foundation that examines the effectiveness of a re-enrollment intervention designed to nudge previously successful college dropouts to return to college. He also has a stellar publication record with nine publications in the last two years, including several in top-tier journals in his field.
Ortagus received his Ph.D. in Higher Education in 2015 from Pennsylvania State University. As a faculty member at UF, he teaches graduate courses related to higher education administration, organization theory and technology in higher education.

“I’m honored to be chosen among a pool of world-class assistant professors to receive this award,” Ortagus said, “My task moving forward is to continue to produce rigorous scholarship that advances knowledge and offers insights to higher education administrators and policymakers seeking to improve access and success outcomes among historically underrepresented students.”

    SOURCE: Justin Ortagus, Ph.D.; 352-273-4338; jortagus@coe.ufl.edu;
    WRITER: Larry Lansford, APR, News & Communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu

Justin Ortagus