In the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education program, we understand that research is the backbone of our academic endeavor. Both teaching and learning, and outreach, draw from the pool of research generated by our own faculty as well as researchers from around the world. HALE prides itself on recruiting and retaining a cadre of world-class research specialists in areas relating to Higher Education. Below you can browse HALE faculty research directions by name.
Marilyn Amey, Ph.D.
Marilyn Amey is a professor of higher, adult, and lifelong education. She studies educational partnerships, particularly STEM networks and those of community colleges; leadership, including how leaders learn; post-secondary governance and administration; and faculty concerns, including interdisciplinary academic work. Her current work focuses on education partnerships including two multi-year evaluations of a multiple-institution interdisciplinary consortia, virtues-based ethical research, and factors affecting women leaders.
Dr. Amey is also the new editor of the Community College Review, the top community college scholarly journal.
Ann Austin, Ph.D.
Ann E. Austin is professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University, where she held the Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Chair (from 2005-08, and again in 2014). Her research concerns faculty careers and professional development, teaching and learning in higher education, the academic workplace, organizational change and doctoral education. She is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the past-president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and she was a Fulbright Fellow in South Africa (1998). She is the co-PI of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), funded by the National Science Foundation, and the principal investigator of an NSF-funded ADVANCE PAID grant to study organizational change strategies that support the success of women scholars in STEM fields. Her work is widely published, including Rethinking Faculty Work: Higher Education’s Strategic Imperative (2007) and Educating Integrated Professionals: Theory and Practice on Preparation for the Professoriate (2008), as well as other books, articles, chapters and monographs concerning higher education issues in the United States and in international contexts. In 2011, she wrote a commissioned paper for the Board on Science Education of the National Research Council entitled “Promoting Evidence-Based Change in Undergraduate Science Education.” She has worked with colleagues at the national and institutional levels on higher education issues in a number of countries, including Australia, China, Egypt, Finland, Malaysia, Oman, Thailand, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Brendan Cantwell, Ph.D.
Brendan Cantwell is an associate professor in HALE and Coordinator of the HALE Program. He studies the political economy of higher education and addresses topics including organization and governance, policy, and academic labor. Much of his work takes an international and comparative perspective. Brendan teaches courses on a variety of topics including higher education organization and administration, finance and comparative higher education. In recent research projects he has addressed problems related to academic research enterprise including science policy and the role of postdoctoral researchers as well as problems related to competition among higher education organizations. Brendan’s current research is concerned with stratification in higher education. He is also an editor for the international journal Higher Education.
John Dirkx, Ph.D.
John M. Dirkx is professor and Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Chair (Emeritus) in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University, and is Director of the College of Education Master’s of Arts in Education (MAED) online program. His current research interests focus primarily on teaching and learning in higher and adult education contexts. Dirkx is particularly interested in short-term, faculty-led education abroad programs for graduate students; professional development for higher education teachers in developing countries; the role of higher education capacity building in international development; and the spiritual and transformative dimensions of adult, work-related learning. Dirkx is the current editor of the Journal of Transformative Education, the primary author of A Guide to Planning and Implementing Instruction for Adults: A Theme-based Approach, and editor of Adult Learning and the Emotional Self. He has also published numerous book chapters and journal articles on teaching and learning in higher and adult education and work-related learning. He is currently working on a book on the transformative dimensions of teaching and learning.
Leslie D. Gonzales, Ed.D.
Leslie D. Gonzales is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University. Leslie’s research focuses on (a) legitimacy within academia; (b) relations of power that govern the recognition of knowledge and knowers; and (c) the possibility of agency among academics. Leslie is committed to exposing and challenging both material and symbolic injustices within academia, particularly in the careers of historically underrepresented scholars and amongst scholars whose research agendas fall outside conventional norms. As a Latina, working class, first-generation-college-student-turned academic who earned all three of her academic degrees from Hispanic Serving Institutions, Leslie aims to inform various processes that shape the academic profession, including graduate student preparation, faculty hiring and onboarding, and faculty evaluation.
Dongbin Kim, Ph.D.
Dongbin Kim is an associate professor of higher, adult and lifelong education. Her research focuses on issues of equity and social justice in the field of higher education. This focus is applied to three interrelated topical areas: (1) financial aid policy, (2) college access and (3) international and comparative higher education issues within the U.S. and global contexts. Dr. Kim’s research has been published in Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Higher Education and Research in Higher Education. Her most recent research examined the intersection of individual, financial and institutional context that shapes students’ college mobility patterns. She holds an Ed.M. in educational administration from Seoul National University in Korea and a Ph.D. in higher education policy from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Patricia Marin, Ph.D.
Patricia Marin is an Associate Professor in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) and Program Coordinator for the Student Affairs Administration (SAA) Master’s Degree Program at Michigan State University. She is also a core faculty member of Chicano/Latino Studies and a faculty affiliate with the College of Law. Her work bridges issues of access, equity, diversity, and policy in higher education. Her current research examines research use in policy and practice, with a focus on the law. Additional research foci include the changing nature of Hispanic Serving Institutions, admissions policies, affirmative action, Latinx students in higher education, and diversity in college classrooms.
Her published work includes two co-edited volumes: Realizing Bakke’s Legacy: Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity, and Access to Higher Education and Higher Education and the Color Line: College Access, Racial Equity, and Social Change.
Dr. Marin teaches courses about student affairs administration, postsecondary students, higher education policy, and legal issues in higher education.
Before joining the MSU faculty she served as Associate Director of the University of California Educational Evaluation Center. She also worked for The Civil Rights Project (CRP) at Harvard University and the American Council on Education in Washington, DC.
Kristen Renn, Ph.D.
Kristen Renn is professor of Higher, Adult, & Lifelong Education (HALE) in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University, where she also serves as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Student Success research. She teaches courses related to student development, diversity and equity, and education research in the Student Affairs Administration MA program and the HALE MA and PhD programs. Prior to coming to MSU, she was assistant professor of higher education and qualitative research at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a policy analyst for the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and, for ten years, a dean in the Office of Student Life at Brown University. A Mount Holyoke College alumna, she received her PhD in Higher Education from Boston College.
Dr. Renn’s research interests include student success and persistence, identity and identity development in higher education; mixed race college students; women in higher education in the US and global contexts; and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) issues in higher education. A grant from the Spencer Foundation supported her international study of women’s postsecondary institutions. She is MSU’s co-liaison to the University Innovation Alliance and co-PI on several grants related to increasing success for low-income and underrepresented students. Dr. Renn has been Associate Editor for International Research and Scholarship for the Journal of College Student Development, a Senior Scholar of the ACPA-College Student Educators International, and a member of the governing boards of ACPA and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). In 2018 she received two awards for research on gender and sexuality from the American Education Research Association (AERA). She is a past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education and chairs the AERA standing committee on Scholars and Advocates for Gender Equity.
Her website is http://renn.msu.domains/
Gabriel R. Serna, Ph.D.
Gabriel R. Serna is an assistant professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education with over 15 years of experience in higher education including as director of programming at New Mexico State University, assistant director of admissions at the University of Kentucky, and most recently, on the faculty of Virginia Tech where he also served as program director.
Dr. Serna’s research interests include higher education economics, finance, policy, undocumented student populations, college and university fiscal administration and strategic enrollment management. He has taught multiple courses in higher education policy, finance, foundations, law, institutional research and assessment and evaluation. Some of his published work can be seen in the Journal of Education Finance, Studies in Higher Education, Education Policy Analysis Archives, and the Journal of Student Financial Aid.
Dr. Serna is a first-generation, Hispanic college student from Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Riyad Shahjahan, Ph.D.
Riyad A. Shahjahan is an Associate Professor of Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education (HALE) at Michigan State University where he also serves as the coordinator for the HALE MA program. Dr. Shahjahan is also a core faculty member of Muslim Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, and the Center for Advanced Study of International Development. His areas of research interests are in globalization of higher education policy, temporality and embodiment in higher education, cultural studies in higher education, and de/anti/postcolonial theory. He has been conducting both empirical and theoretical work, focusing on a) the role of transnational actors/processes (international organizations, global rankings, media) in globalizing higher education policy; and b) rethinking the traditional objects of study/practice in higher education (e.g. temporality, pedagogy, and/or globalization) from global and non- western critical indigenous perspectives.
Heather Shea, Ph.D.
Dr. Heather Shea serves as both the director of Women*s Student Services in the Division of Student Affairs and Services and as Affiliate Faculty for Student Affairs Praxis and Professional Development in the Department of Educational Administration. In her dual role, she works most closely with the Student Affairs Administration Master’s degree program. Her professional work focuses on the liminal space between student affairs theory and professional practice, and engaging both full-time student affairs educators and master’s students in conversations about reflective praxis. Her research pays close attention to how former students, upon reflection years after co-curricular collegiate experiences, reflect upon and make meaning of these experiences.
Matthew Wawrzynski, Ph.D.
Matthew Wawrzynski is Associate Professor within the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education program at Michigan State University where he also serves as the coordinator for the Teaching and Learning Graduate Certificate program. He received a B.S. in Biology from Canisius College, a M.S. in College Personnel from Indiana University-Bloomington, and a Ph.D. in Education, Leadership, Policy, and Administration from University of Maryland–College Park.
His scholarly work examines how student input characteristics (e.g., non-cognitive variables, expectations) and environmental variables (e.g., living learning communities, involvement experiences, peer education learning outcomes) influence postsecondary student outcomes (e.g., learning, development, and engagement). Before coming to Michigan State University, he was an AERA Postdoctoral Research Fellow and worked at the National Survey of Student Engagement. In addition to his experiences as a faculty member, he served as a student affairs practitioner for almost 15 years in the areas of residence life, orientation, advising, student life, drug and alcohol education, and student conduct.
Wawrzynski also directs the National Peer Education Study, a BACCHUS Initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). He has delivered talks on student learning outcomes at institutions throughout China, Luxembourg, Singapore, and South Africa. He serves on several journal boards and served a two-year term as the executive editor for the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.
Steven Weiland, Ph.D.
Steven Weiland is a professor in the graduate program in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (in the College of Education). He has degrees from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (B.A. in English) and the University of Chicago (PhD in English).
Previous to his appointment at Michigan State, he held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Michigan, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota. For much of his career, Professor Weiland taught in departments of English and American Studies. At the University of Minnesota, where he taught courses in literature and the history of psychology (at the Institute for Child Development), he was director of the Department of Professional Development Programs. He also spent nine years as executive director of the National Federation of State Humanities Councils, a non-profit organization serving the state programs of the National Endowment for the Humanities. After moving to MSU, Professor Weiland also spent eight years as director of the University’s Jewish Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters.
Professor Weiland’s primary interests are in the intersections of the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences in the subjects of adult and career development, technology and higher education, biography and other forms of narrative inquiry, and in research methods, rhetoric and writing. He teaches courses in career development (EAD 864) and education in the digital age (EAD 878) among other subjects and the college-wide course in research (CEP 930). In all, Professor Weiland teaches five online courses in two College of Education MA programs, all in a self-paced hypermedia format he has devised. In spring 2015, Professor Weiland will offer a new hybrid course for PhD students in “Scholarly and Scientific Communications in the Digital Age.”
Professor Weiland is the author of Intellectual Craftsmen: Ways and Works in American Scholarship and of many essays on subjects in the humanities and education, and he is the co-author of Keywords of Social Gerontology and co-editor of Jazz in Mind. He is at work on Faculty Work in the Digital Age: A Primer and The Scholar’s Tale: Life Stories and Intellectual Identities.