Shaun Harper is one of the nation’s most highly respected racial equity experts. He is a Provost Professor in the USC Rossier School of Education and the USC Marshall School of Business. In 2022, he was appointed University Professor, a distinction bestowed only to 26 of 4,700 USC full-time faculty. Dr. Harper also is the Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership; founder and executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center; and chair of the University Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure. He served as the 2020-21 American Educational Research Association president and the 2016-17 Association for the Study of Higher Education president. Additionally, he was inducted into the National Academy of Education in 2021 and appointed by U.S. President Joe Biden to the National Board for Education Sciences in 2022.
Dr. Harper’s research focuses primarily on race, gender, and other dimensions of equity in an array of organizational contexts, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporations. He has published 12 books and over 100 other academic publications. Review of Research in Education, Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, American Journal of Education, Journal of Higher Education, and Review of Higher Education are some journals in which he has published. His research has been cited in nearly 22,000 published studies across a vast array of academic fields and disciplines. Atlantic Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates, Lumina, Ford, Kellogg, ECMC, College Futures, Kresge, Sloan, and Open Society Foundations have awarded him nearly $22 million in grants. His center has also procured more than $14 million in contracts.
The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, and hundreds of other news outlets have quoted Professor Harper and featured his research. He has interviewed on CNN, ESPN, NBC News, and NPR. He also has testified twice to the United States House of Representatives and spoken at numerous White House convenings. Dr. Harper served on President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Advisory Council; on the national education policy committee for the Biden-Harris Campaign; and on California Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide task force on higher education, racial equity, and COVID-19 recovery.
The recipient of dozens of top honors in his field and four honorary degrees, Professor Harper has been repeatedly recognized in Education Week as one of the 10 most influential scholars in the field of education; he is currently ranked #4.
Harper, S. R. (2022-2024). Institutional Transformation for Community College Men of Color Student Success (also known as Takeoff). ECMC Foundation. Awarded: $2,089,180
Harper, S. R., Jones, B. P., & Davis, K. B. (2022-2024). Campus Racial Climate Research Translation and Postsecondary Institutional Improvement Tools. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded: $1.2 million
Harper, S. R. (2022-2024). Advancing Racial Equity for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Kresge Foundation. Awarded: $400,000
Harper, S. R.(2020-2022). Enhancing Racial Equity in Postsecondary Service, Design, and Delivery. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded: $1,500,000
Harper, S. R. (2021-2023). Racial Equity Research and Resource Hub for California Community Colleges. College Futures Foundation. Awarded: $1 million
Harper, S. R. (2021-2023). Capacity Expansion for California State Policy Racial Equity Agenda. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded: $500,000
Harper, S. R. (2021-2023). Capacity Expansion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities Racial Equity Agenda. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded: $175,000
Harper, S. R. (2021-2023). State Policy Racial Equity Experts Academy. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded: $500,000
Harper, S. R., Davis, K. B., & Jones, B. P. (2021-2023). Racial Equity Leadership Academy for Engineering and Computer Science Department Chairs. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Awarded: $250,000
Harper, S. R., & Pascarella, J. (2020-2023). Teacher Education Racial Equity Academy. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded: $250,000
Bensimon, E. M., & Harper, S. R. (2020-2022). Ensuring Equity in Policy Implementation. Project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded: $500,000
Bensimon, E. M., & Harper, S. R. (2019-2020). Equitable Solutions for Postsecondary Success. Project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Awarded: $300,000
Kelsey, R., & Harper, S. R. (2019-2022). Achieving the Dream Racial Equity Institute. Project funded by the Kresge Foundation. Awarded: $750,000
Harper, S. R. (2018). National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates and USC Equity Institutes. Project funded by Lumina Foundation. Awarded: $1 million