Higher Education and Student Affairs faculty in courtyard

Higher Education & Student Affairs Spotlight

photo of Interim Dean Laura Stapleton

The University of Maryland College of Education higher education and student affairs programs lead the field in research on access, equity, diversity and inclusion for students, faculty and administration.

Our faculty serve in leadership roles in key journals, receive major awards, publish pivotal books and redefine narratives about higher education. They use innovative methods to study fundamental questions in higher education. Individually and collectively, they have taken on some of the most challenging topics in higher education, such as college admissions, faculty hiring and retention, campus racial climate and the financing of higher education.

Our higher education and student affairs programs feature faculty recognized nationally and internationally for their work. Among these scholars is a distinct interest in pathways to and through college for underrepresented minoritized students, including high achievers. Our faculty examine system change to recruit and retain a diverse faculty and ensure equitable workloads.

Not only are our faculty dedicated to innovative and impactful research, they nurture and prepare students for careers advancing education. Moreover, our status as the State’s flagship university and our proximity to Washington, D.C., enhance the student experience with internships, speakers and projects that connect research, policy and practice.

After this noteworthy year, we continue to be invested in the quality and impact of our higher education and student affairs program.

Laura M. Stapleton
Interim Dean and Professor, UMD College of Education

Kimberly Griffin
Professor and Associate Dean, Student Affairs

Photo of Dr. Kimberly Griffin

Dr. Griffin studies issues related to access, equity and inclusion in higher education. A main focus of her work is increasing faculty diversity in higher education and retaining women and men of color in the professoriate.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Griffin is taking a critical look at institutional initiatives aimed at increasing faculty diversity, particularly in the sciences. Working in collaboration with a number of higher education institutions, she studies how to promote faculty diversity and implement action plans to create change. By doing so, she is working to understand the processes that institutions go through when seeking to increase faculty diversity, and the importance of leaders in organizational change.

Dr. Griffin also has an NSF grant funding a career trajectory project that tracks the professional progression of a group of biomedical scientists. The project examines what factors lead to skill development during graduate school and how well-prepared the students feel to enter the profession. She also aims to understand how the students’ identities influence their educational experiences and the relationships they had with faculty members of the program.

Dr. Griffin is a contributing author In the 2020 edition of Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, and she serves as editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, a publication of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Michelle Espino
Associate Professor, Student Affairs

Michelle Espino

Dr. Espino’s research centers on the factors that influence the educational achievement and experiences of underrepresented students, particularly Latinx/as/os, along the P-20 pipeline. She is interested in the educational pathways taken by under-represented students to college, graduate school and the professoriate, and seeks to understand how the individual journeys of underrepresented students reflect systemic inequities in higher education.

While her studies often focus on students, she also looks at the educational paths underrepresented professionals take to leadership positions, particularly senior university leadership roles. Dr. Espino has explored how Latinx/a/o university administrators become interested in senior leadership, the challenges of moving up in their area of expertise and the benefits of filling senior level positions. She also received a Spencer Foundation grant to study the lack of representation of Latinx leaders at research universities.

Dr. Espino has published articles in the American Journal of Education, Equity & Excellence in Education and the Review of Higher Education, among other journals. She is a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow, and received early career awards from the Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Council on Ethnic Participation and from the American Educational Research Association’s Latinx Research Issues Special Interest Group. She is also host of a popular podcast, Latinx Intelligentsia.

Julie J. Park
Associate Professor, Student Affairs

Julie Park Headshot

Dr. Park’s research centers on race and diversity in higher education, with a particular focus on Asian American college students. Largely, Dr. Park researches college admissions dynamics and the campus racial climate. She is interested in the student experience at colleges and what institutions can do to promote more supportive environments for students.

Awarded funding from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Park is studying the experiences of students of color and female students in STEM fields. She aims to unpack how students experience discrimination and other difficult experiences in STEM classroom environments and after graduation in the workplace.

With a keen interest in the college admissions process as well, Dr. Park has completed extensive research on the subject, and served as a consulting expert for Harvard University on an affirmative action lawsuit related to Asian American college applicants. Moreover, she has authored books both on affirmative action and campus diversity.

Her first book, When Diversity Drops: Race, Religion, and Affirmative Action in Higher Education, explores how an enrollment drop of Black students following California’s ban on affirmative action affected a religious community of students. Her most recent book, Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data, challenges pervasive myths about diversity in higher education.

Bridget Turner Kelly
Associate Professor, Student Affairs

Bridget Turner Kelly

Dr. Kelly’s scholarship focuses on preparing socially just educators and increasing equity and inclusion in graduate preparation programs and on campuses, with specific attention toward women, students and faculty of color.

Currently, she is examining understudied concepts in the education field. For instance, she is exploring whether the thriving framework, which considers the work that colleges do to ensure students succeed after graduation, holds up for Black women at Predominantly White Institutions. Another avenue of Dr. Kelly’s research looks at how Black women are often used as free labor by universities, such as in marketing materials for showcasing diversity, while universities simultaneously fail to highlight the ways that racism and sexism play out on campus.

Dr. Kelly is a co-editor of the publication Engaging Images for Research, Pedagogy, and Practice: Utilizing Visual Methods to Understand and Promote College Student Development, and is executive editor for the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice. She also serves as the Diversity Officer for the College of Education.

Alberto Cabrera
Professor Emeritus, Higher Education

Alberto Cabrera

Dr. Cabrera examines pathways students take to college and the effect of college on students. He studies factors affecting the readiness and willingness of children to go to college, and how parents enable their children to attend college.

Dr. Cabrera has also explored pro-social behaviors among college students and alumni, and the importance of family for underrepresented students. He has found that underrepresented students often have a commitment to giving back to their communities through the pursuit of higher education. Family context is key in determining not only whether minority students choose to attend college, but also for their subsequent predisposition for civic engagement.

As a recent Fulbright recipient, Dr. Cabrera dedicated the last year to studying educational policies in Brazil that aim to expand opportunities for low-income and first-generation students to attend college. He also spent time teaching at the Universidad La Salle in Canoas, Brazil.

Dr. Cabrera is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and has previously received the Mentor of the Year Award from the American Association for Higher Education. He has also served on the editorial boards for Research in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Philanthropy & Education.

Candace Maddox Moore
Associate Clinical Professor, Student Affairs

Candace Maddox Moore

Dr. Moore’s work revolves around promoting inclusive campus environments and fostering international collaboration in higher education. Her interests in inclusivity include understanding Black and LGBTQ student identities, contingent faculty development in higher education and supporting student success at historically Black colleges and universities. Her international endeavors have resulted in ongoing international partnerships and study abroad efforts in West Africa and have been recognized with a Fulbright Award to study in Ghana in the 2021-2022 academic year.

With colleagues from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, Dr. Moore co-developed both a hybrid international course and a study abroad program that examines student affairs practices in higher education in Ghana. The hybrid course is co-taught with faculty at the University of Cape Coast and students work in cross-cultural teams to study student affairs practices in an international higher education context. Targeted toward graduate students, Dr. Moore’s study abroad program takes a critical look at the role of power, privilege and oppression in Ghana and expands beyond the ideals of social justice education in the West. The program was recognized with the American College Personnel Association’s Outstanding International Education Initiative Award.

Dr. Moore is also the director of COE’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, a research and consultation center providing expertise to universities across the country and worldwide on issues related to diversity, inclusion and social justice in higher education.

KerryAnn O'Meara
Professor, Higher Education

KerryAnn O'Meara

Dr. O’Meara’s work examines the conditions, policies and practices that affect the recruitment, retention and advancement of a diverse faculty. Her scholarship considers issues related to faculty inclusivity, equity, and organizational change. Dr. O’Meara’s work has been widely published and used to improve faculty retention and diversity on campus.

Dr. O’Meara directed the University of Maryland’s ADVANCE program for over a decade, which aims to increase faculty success across campus, and she has measured faculty satisfaction, retention and promotion. She is the principal investigator on a NSF-funded study evaluating faculty workload inequities and career advancement in academic departments at universities nationwide. She has worked with colleagues to design and test evidence-based interventions to reduce faculty workload inequities. Her work has garnered interest from universities nationwide, as well as resulted in numerous publications, including recent articles in PLOS One and the Journal of Higher Education.

Dr. O’Meara is the is the past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the premier research organization in the field. She consults for universities on promotion and tenure policy reform, diversity and inclusion in faculty affairs, and workload equity. In 2021, she received the Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award.

Marvin Titus
Associate Professor, Higher Education

Dr. Marvin A. Titus
Dr. Marvin A. Titus

Dr. Titus’ research focuses on the economics and finance of higher education. While he has explored how institutional and state finance influence student retention and graduation, Dr. Titus’ most recent work is centered around examining the determinants of institutional cost and productivity efficiency.

He investigates how state higher education finance policies influence degree production. Through the use of a variety of econometric techniques, Dr. Titus is also exploring how state business cycles influence volatility in state funding of higher education. Additionally, he is collaborating on a Spencer Foundation funded project that will examine disparities in education investment in children and youth in the United States.

Named a TIAA Institute Fellow in 2018, Dr. Titus has published in top-tier research journals, including in the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education and Review of Higher Education. He is an associate editor of Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, and has served on the editorial board of Research in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education and the Journal of Education Finance. Dr. Titus also serves on several technical review panels for national surveys produced by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Sharon Fries-Britt
Professor, Higher Education

Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt

Dr. Fries-Britt’s research and areas of expertise center on issues of race, equity and diversity in higher education. In particular, she studies the experiences of minority students majoring in STEM fields, minority high-achievers, native and non-native Blacks and underrepresented faculty.

Dr. Fries-Britt has worked with the American Institutes of Physics studying African American underrepresentation in physics and astronomy. She was also a faculty co-lead on a case study of the University of Missouri following the racial incidents on the campus during the 2015-16 academic year. This work in collaboration with the American Council on Education resulted in a national report Speaking Truth and Acting with Integrity Confronting Challenges of Campus Racial Climate. Additionally, Dr. Fries-Britt is a co-PI on an NSF grant to study Black engineering transfer students across four community colleges.

Dr. Fries-Britt is actively engaged in practice serving as a consultant to leaders in colleges and universities, foundations, governmental agencies and national associations. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Association for the Study of Higher Education Mentor Award, the University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award, and American Educational Research Association Social Justice Award.

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

Jennifer King Rice presents at Thought Leaders Summit

The College of Education Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education provides expertise on issues related to diversity, inclusion and social justice in higher education. The Center engages scholars and practitioners of higher education on matters of research, policy and professional standards concerning diversity and inclusion in higher education. The Center hosts a Thought Leaders Summit, which convenes nationally recognized scholars and practitioners in diversity and inclusion to discuss some of the field’s most pressing issues and determine research priorities. This work is essential and timely, as recent campus climate-related incidents have spurred a national conversation on equity in higher education.

Aiming to promote collaboration and interdisciplinary research, the Center provides a venue for studying and communicating the importance and transformative effects of diversity and inclusion practices in higher education. Dr. Roger L. Worthington serves as executive director, and Dr. Candace M. Moore is the director of the Center, which is a leader in the field, and also serves as a consultant to universities across the country and abroad.