ACE Honors University of Southern California’s Shaun R. Harper With 2019 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award
Published: March 11, 2019

ACE announced today that Shaun R. Harper, provost professor of business and education and executive director of the Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California (USC), is the recipient of the 2019 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award.

The award is named in honor of Reginald Wilson, senior scholar emeritus at ACE and founding director of the Council's Office of Minority Concerns, and is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions and demonstrated sustained commitment to diversity in higher education. 

The award was presented today at ACE2019, ACE's 101st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. 

“Shaun Harper is one of the leading voices in the country on the importance of equity and inclusion in higher education,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “His unwavering dedication to expanding diversity and access through research and his bold leadership at USC’s Race and Equity Center makes it a privilege for us to give him this award.” 

Harper’s research focuses primarily on racial and gender equity and inclusion in educational, corporate, social, and organizational environments. He participated in a discussion around ACE’s newly released report Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: A Status Report at a convening in Washington, DC, last month. USC’s Race and Equity Center co-sponsored the event. He also co-led an initiative to launch a new digital platform called PRISM, which is connecting faculty and administrators of color with job opportunities at institutions around the country. His work has been funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and the Lumina, Ford, Kellogg, and Open Society foundations.

Recognized by the American Enterprise Institute as one of the most influential professors in education, Harper established himself early in his career as one of the nation's foremost scholars on issues of race and racism on college and university campuses.

In 2008, the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) granted him the ASHE Early Career Award. Three years later, he founded and served as executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he and his colleagues conducted more than 40 on-campus climate studies as university administrators across the country sought advice on responding to racism on campuses. In the immediate aftermath of the student protests at Yale University (CT) and the University of Missouri in 2015, Harper helped create a virtual summit that featured participation from over 10,000 faculty members from U.S. colleges and universities.

In 2015, he was appointed to President Obama's My Brother's Keeper advisory council and in 2017, he launched the USC Race and Equity Center. 

Harper's research has been featured and quoted by a number of major media outlets, from The Washington Post to Sports Illustrated. He has written more than 100 scholarly publications, as well as published 13 books. His ground-breaking research drives public discourse and influences policymakers. 

Harper earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Albany State University (GA) in 1998, and a master’s and Ph.D. in higher education at Indiana University Bloomington in 2000 and 2003.

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