Main Menu Summer 2013

Division of Higher Education

The Division of Higher Education in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership brings together a diverse group of faculty, students, and postdoctoral researchers with scholarly interests in the field of higher education. Through collaborative projects, funded research, individual endeavors, the Higher Education Collaborative seminar series, and affiliated activities, we examine pressing concerns in areas such as higher education policy and finance, transition to college and community college education, academic administration, college students and collegiate learning outcomes, diversity and equity in education, STEM education, and the college faculty. Faculty affiliated with the division lead initiatives critical to the College of Education, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, the state of Illinois, and beyond. They include the National Institute on Learning Outcomes Assessment, Project STEP-UP, the Ethnography of the University Initiative, the Office of Community College Research and Leadership, the Forum on the Future of Public Education, and the Collaborative for Education Policy Research.

The division houses a set of graduate degree options in higher education that provide academic preparation and professional development to students who presently hold or seek careers in college and university administration and leadership, policy development, and scholarly research. Graduate students in the division are primarily seeking one of four degrees: Master of Education (Ed.M.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Program priorities include integrating theory and practice, maintaining strong interdisciplinary areas of study, fostering high quality research, and enhancing leadership development. The program also seeks to promote academic integrity in the field of study and to provide college and university administrators, policy makers, and faculty with practical research and professional development in the State of Illinois and throughout the United States.

The program curriculum is designed to provide graduate students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the social, political, and economic issues encompassing the development and future challenges of higher and postsecondary institutions. Curricular priorities include integrating theory and practice, maintaining strong interdisciplinary areas of study, fostering high quality research, and enhancing leadership development. Students are expected to attain these academic objectives through a set of interrelated core courses that examine relevant conceptual and theoretical developments in history, public policy, diversity, and philosophy. The program also offers students an opportunity to examine multiple research methodologies, to acquire methodological specializations based on interest and expertise, and to undertake guided internships.

Admissions Information

Graduate Degree Programs

Master's Programs and More

Doctoral Programs

  • Master of Science (M.S.): The M.S. degree option is designed for students with a strong research orientation and requires each student to complete a thesis. Learn more here.
  • Master of Education (Ed.M.): The Ed.M. is the non-thesis masters degree option and is geared toward students who are and seek to become administrators in a variety of higher education settings.
  • College Teaching Minor:The College Teaching Minor provides current University of Illinois graduate students with the opportunity to earn a graduate minor focusing on teaching in college settings.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.): The Ph.D. option is designed for students seeking rigorous research training in preparation for an academic or research career.


Faculty in Higher Education

Kern Alexander

Excellence Professor

Kern Alexander’s current research interests include education finance and law. He has worked extensively as an expert in state school finance litigation. He is the Editor of the Journal of Education Finance and has recently completed a major revision of his widely-used graduate text, American Public School Law. Having served as president of two public universities, Alexander has an ongoing research interest in high education administrating, finance, and law.more information...

James D. Anderson

Head / Gutgsell Professor

James D. Anderson (Ph.D. Illinois), is the author of The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, which received the Outstanding Book Award of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). His most current work is the forthcoming No Sacrifice Too Great: The History of African American Education from Slavery to the Twenty-First Century. He received the Distinguished Career Contributions Award from AERA’s Committee on Scholars of Color in Education. He served as advisor to and participant in the PBS documentaries “School” 2001), and “The Percy Julian Story” (2007). He is the Senior Editor of the History of Education Quarterly. In 2008 he was elected to the National Academy of Education.more information...

Lorenzo Baber

Assistant Professor

Lorenzo Baber’s primary research agenda focuses on the impact of socioeconomic background and ethnicity on identity development and academic outcomes for postsecondary students. He is particularly interested in investigating the persistent educational achievement gap between minority and majority students at Predominately White Institutions. Additional research interests include examination of university-neighborhood partnership initiatives in urban communities and international comparative education.more information...

Debra Bragg


Debra Bragg’s research focuses on transition to college by youth and adults, especially student populations that have not attended college historically. She is particularly interested in how underserved youth and adult students (minority, low income, first-generation, immigrant students) use the community college to transition to higher education, including how public policies position community colleges as a primary port of entry. The expanding mission of community colleges, including the increasing importance of linkages to high schools, adult education, postsecondary education and the workforce is of particular interest. Her work is affiliated with the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL)more information...

Jennifer Delaney

Assistant Professor

more information...



Denice Hood

Assistant Professor

My current research interests include issues of teaching and learning in online postsecondary learning environments. Specifically, I am interested in the intersection between adult learning, cognitive and social factors that contribute to academic success, cultural aspects of pedagogy and the policy implications. more information...

Stanley Ikenberry

Regent Professor and President Emeritus

Stan Ikenberry, the former president of the University of Illinois and of the American Council of Education, teaches courses on higher education policy and leadership and serves as advisor to doctoral students. In addition, he holds an appointment as Senior Fellow in the University’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs and is Co-director of the Forum for the Future of Public Education. His current areas of interest include higher education assessment, public attitudes about higher education, and privatization of public universities.more information...

William Trent


My past research has focused on: 1) Educational Inequality: school desegregation effects (K-12, postsecondary), benefits and consequences, social organziation of school, status attainment research, co- and extracurricular activities, comparative education; 2) Race and Ethnicity: social stratification and mobility, equality of opportunity; and 3) Complex Organization/Social Change/Policy. I am principal investigator for an Educational Reform Project focused on understanding the role of race, ethnicity, class and gender in school reform. I have also recently served as an expert witness on a court appointed panel in Vaughns, et. al. v. Bd. of Educ. of P.G. Co., MD.more information...