2020 Student Success Conference: Keynote Speaker

"Underserved Students in Community Colleges: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities" 

Dr. Frank Harris III, Professor of Postsecondary Education and Co-Director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) at San Diego State University

While community colleges have served as the primary pathway to postsecondary education for students who have been historically underrepresented and underserved in education, outcome gaps between these students and their peers persist. Thus, improving student success outcomes for underserved students and closing long-standing equity gaps are essential to meeting the nation’s goal of increasing the proportion of adults who hold college degrees or certificates. This address unpacks societal and institutional factors that influence belonging, welcomeness to engage, and success for underserved students. Institutional actions for serving these students equitably and responsibly will be proposed and discussed.

About Dr. Frank Harris III


Dr. Frank Harris III is a professor of postsecondary education and Co-Director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) at San Diego State University. He is best known for his expertise in racial [in]equity in postsecondary education and has made important contributions to knowledge about college student development and the social construction of gender and race in college contexts.  His work prioritizes populations that have been historically underrepresented and underserved in education.

Harris’s scholarship has been published in leading journals for higher education and student affairs research and practice, including the Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Educational Researcher, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Journal of Negro Education, and the Community College Journal of Research and Practice. Harris also regularly disseminates scholarship through refereed conference proceedings, workshops, symposia, and keynote addresses—he has delivered more than 1,000 academic and professional presentations throughout his career.

Harris is the co-editor/author of four books: College Men and Masculinities: Theory, Research and Implications for Practice; Teaching Men of Color in the Community College; Teaching Young Boys and Men of Color; and Supporting Men of Color in the Community College. His commentary has been sought by several high-profile media outlets, including Diverse Issues in Higher Education, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, CNN, and Fox 5 News San Diego. Harris is also regularly consulted by colleges and universities across the country for his expertise on student equity, student success, and institutional transformation.

Before joining the faculty at San Diego State, Harris worked as a student affairs educator and college administrator in the areas of student affairs administration, student crisis support and advocacy, new student orientation programs, multicultural student affairs, academic advising, and enrollment services. He also served as an adjunct professor of speech communication at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Dr. Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies at Loyola Marymount University, a master’s degree in speech communication at California State University Northridge, and a doctorate in higher education from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.

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