Steve Desir

  • Assistant Professor of Research

Research Concentration

  • Higher Education


University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA
Doctor of Education, Higher Education,

Harvard University – Cambridge, MA
Master of Education, Education Policy and Management

New York University – New York, NY
Master of Arts, Secondary Education

Pennsylvania State University – University Park, PA
Bachelor of Science, Economics
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science


  • Equity Issues in K-12 and Higher Education, College Access and Student Transitions, College Admissions, Graduate Education, Student Affairs Administration, Student Success, Educational Policy, Organizational Theory


Steve Desir (He/him/his) is an Assistant Professor of Research in the Pullias Center for Higher Education and the USC Race and Equity Center. Steve currently serves as the Director of Professional Development and Organizational Learning for the Equity in Graduate Education Resource Center at USC.  

Steve’s research primarily examines racial equity issues in higher education and K-12 educational settings. More specifically, he is interested in whether insights from social psychology and organizational theory can be used to improve educational experiences for minoritized groups. Steve earned a master’s degree in education policy and management from Harvard University. Prior to his studies at Harvard, he completed a master’s degree in secondary education from New York University and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science at Penn State.

Steve has worked professionally in K-12, higher education, and education policy organizations. Most recently, he served as the Director of College Success programs for the largest charter network in Southern California. In this role, he was responsible for the oversight of school counseling programs at 26 public schools in Los Angeles. Prior to his tenure overseeing college success programs, Steve served in a number of student affairs leadership roles at NYU, Rutgers UVM, Georgia State, St. Johns, and Loyola Marymount University. In these roles, he was responsible for oversight of first-year student programming, student conduct, and wellness programs. Steve’s broad experience in K-12 and higher education settings has provided opportunities for him to serve students and staff throughout the K-16 pipeline. In his research and policy work, Steve has collaborated with state departments of education, higher education institutions, education nonprofits, and K-12 school districts. His commentary on higher education access and transition issues has appeared in the Washington PostUSA TodayLAist (Southern California Public Radio), and The Hechinger Report.  

Awards and Grants

NASPA Excellence Gold Award, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, 2015
Faculty/Staff Advisor of the Year Award, Georgia State University, May 2012
Division of Student Affairs, Professional Staff Member of the Year, Georgia State University, June 2011
National Housing Training Institute, SEAHO Regional Scholarship, ACUHO-I, June 2010