Shaun R. Harper

Associate Professor
Executive Director, Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education

Higher Education Division

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 215-898-5147


Professional Biography

Shaun R. Harper founded the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education in 2011. He is author of over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications. These journals include The Review of Research in Education, Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Harvard Educational Review, and Teachers College Record. Professor Harper’s research has been cited in over 3,300 publications. His twelve books include Advancing Black Male Student Success from Preschool through Ph.D. (2016), Student Engagement in Higher Education (2009, 2014), College Men and Masculinities (2010), and the 5th edition of Student Services: A Handbook for the Profession (2011).

Dr. Harper is an elected member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Executive Council, and formerly served on the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Board of Directors and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Board of Directors. He serves on editorial boards for the Journal of Higher Education and American Educational Research Journal, and was previously associate editor of Educational Researcher. AERA presented Dr. Harper its 2010 Early Career Award (Division G) and 2014 Relating Research to Practice Award. He also received the 2008 ASHE Early Career Award, the 2012 NASPA Robert H. Shaffer Award for Faculty Excellence, and the 2014 American College Personnel Association Contribution to Knowledge Award.

Dr. Harper has been interviewed on CNN, ESPN, and NPR, and featured or quoted in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and over 400 other media outlets. In 2015, he was appointed to President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper advisory council and recognized in Education Week as one of the 50 most influential professors in the field of education.

Research Interests and Current Projects

Dr. Harper’s research examines race and gender in education and social contexts, equity trends and racial climates on college campuses, Black and Latino male student success in high school and higher education, and college student engagement. He also occasionally writes about intercollegiate athletics. His newest book project is titledScandals in College Sports(forthcoming 2016).

Dr. Harper has received over $11.4 million in grants to fund his research. He is currently leading RISE for Boys and Men of Color, a three-year interdisciplinary project that aims to advance research that will improve the lives, experiences, and outcomes of Asian Americans, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans. RISE focuses on four fields: education, health, juvenile and criminal justice, and workforce development. Funders of RISE include The Atlantic Philanthropies, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Annie E. Casey Foundation, members of the Executives Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color.

Dr. Harper is also in his fourth year of data collection for a decade-long project funded by NASPA Foundation that explores what and where students in higher education and student affairs graduate programs learn about race, racism, and racial equity. Along with other researchers at the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, he does racial climate research on dozens of college and university campuses across the U.S. each year. He also created and leads the Penn Equity Institutes for educational leaders in K-12 schools/districts and higher education.

Selected Publications

Harper, S. R. (2015). Success in these schools? Visual counternarratives of young men of color and urban high schools they attend. Urban Education, 50(2). 

Harper, S. R. (2014). Succeeding in the city: A report from the New York City Black and Latino Male High School Achievement Study. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

Harris III, F., & Harper, S. R. (2014). Beyond bad behaving brothers: Productive performances of masculinities among college fraternity men. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 27(6).

McGuire, K. M., Berhanu, J., Davis III, C. H. F., & Harper, S. R. (2014). In search of progressive black masculinities: Critical self-reflections on gender identity development among Black undergraduate men. Men and Masculinities, 17(3).

Harper, S. R. (2013). Am I my brother’s teacher? Black undergraduates, peer pedagogies, and racial socialization in predominantly white postsecondary contexts. Review of Research in Education, 37(1).

Harper, S. R., Williams, C. D., & Blackman, H. (2013). Black male student-athletes and racial inequities in NCAA Division I revenue-generating college sports. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

Harper, S. R. (2012). Race without racism: How higher education researchers minimize racist institutional norms. The Review of Higher Education, 36(1).

Harper, S. R., Williams, C. D., Pérez II, D., & Morgan, D. L. (2012). His experience: Toward a phenomenological understanding of academic capital formation among Black and Latino male students. Readings on Equal Education, 26(1).

Harper, S. R., & Davis III, C. H. F. (2012). They (don’t) care about education: A counternarrative on Black male students’ responses to inequitable schooling. Educational Foundations, 26(1).

Harper, S. R. (2012). Black male student success in higher education: A report from the national Black male college achievement study. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

Harper, S. R., & Harris III, F. (2012). A role for policymakers in improving the status of Black male students in U.S. higher education. Philadelphia, PA: Institute for Higher Education Policy. 

Harper, S. R., & Griffin, K. A. (2011). Opportunity beyond affirmative action: How low-income and working class Black male achievers access highly selective, high-cost colleges and universities. Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, 17(1).

Harper, S. R., Davis, R. J., Jones, D. E., McGowan, B. L., Ingram, T. N., & Platt, C. S. (2011). Race and racism in the experiences of African American male resident assistants at predominantly White universities. Journal of College Student Development, 52(2).

Museus, S. D., Harper, S. R., & Nichols, A. H. (2010). Racial differences in postsecondary educational expectations: A structural model. Teachers College Record, 112(3).

Harper, S. R. (2009). Niggers no more: A critical race counternarrative on Black male student achievement at predominantly white colleges and universities. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(6).

Harper, S. R., Patton, L. D., & Wooden, O. S. (2009). Access and equity for African American students in higher education: A critical race historical analysis of policy efforts. Journal of Higher Education, 80(4).

Harper, S. R., & Nichols, A. H. (2008). Are they not all the same? Racial heterogeneity among Black male undergraduates. Journal of College Student Development, 49(3).

Harper, S. R. (2008). Realizing the intended outcomes of Brown: High-achieving African American male undergraduates and social capital. American Behavioral Scientist, 51(7).

Harper, S. R., & Gasman, M. (2008). Consequences of conservatism: Black male students and the politics of historically Black colleges and universities. Journal of Negro Education, 77.

Harper, S. R., & Quaye, S. J. (2007). Student organizations as venues for Black identity expression and development among African American male student leaders. Journal of College Student Development, 48(2).