EXPERT IN RACIAL [IN]EQUITY IN POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION
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 at San Diego State University (SDSU). Dr. Harris is also a senior strategist in SDSU’s Division of Campus Diversity and Student Affairs, and, in 2021–2022, the SDSU President named Harris the faculty athletics representative. In Fall 2022, Harris began his appointment as associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion in SDSU’s College of Education, and he received the SDSU Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award for the 2021–2022 academic year.
Dr. Harris 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, and he has obtained competitive grants and extramural funding for his research. Harris’s scholarship has been published in leading journals for higher education and student affairs research and practice, and his commentary has been sought by high-profile media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Colleges and universities across the country consult Harris regularly for his expertise on student equity, student success, and institutional transformation, and he has worked with more than 100 postsecondary institutions, community organizations, and nonprofits on equity-related efforts. He has also delivered thousands of academic and professional presentations throughout his career. During the Obama Administration, Harris was invited to The White House to share his knowledge and expertise on the status of boys and men of color in education. He also serves on the Every Learner Everywhere Equity Advisory Board and on the Partnership for College Completion Board.
Before joining the faculty at San Diego State, Harris worked as a student affairs educator and college administrator in 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. 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.
“Dr. Frank Harris III is an engaging and exceptional scholar. He’s led sessions at Fullerton College on the topics of Teaching Men of Color in the Community College and Ending Food Insecurity in California’s Community Colleges. His research and the guidance that he provides to colleges provides faculty and staff with the knowledge and skills to make substantial progress related to equity goals and outcomes.”
Greg Schulz, Ed.D., President, Fullerton College
Ventura College was fortunate to have Dr. Harris lead dynamic and engaging conversations with our campus community on advancing equity to achieve student success. Our members were actively involved throughout the session due to Dr. Harris’ interactive presentation style and his dynamic speaking ability. This led to a high level of intentional dialogue that continues at the college. We received numerous comments regarding Dr. Harris’ use of a variety of techniques that kept them engaged while providing helpful tools to impact the lives of our students.
Dr. Damien Peña, Vice President for Student Affairs, Ventura College
Frank has been an essential partner in our efforts to build campus community and capacity to address the issues that impact racial equity at our college. What I really appreciate about Frank is his ability to facilitate the difficult conversations we must have to achieve our social justice goals, while effectively engaging a broad range of campus stakeholders–students, classified professionals, faculty, managers, and executives–navigate the essential call to action and accountability.
JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D., President, Cypress College
Dr. Harris was the keynote speaker and provided workshops at our annual Convocation for faculty and staff. He did a wonderful job of creating understanding and consensus around the many reasons why equity in educational outcomes is critical. He also helped all employees take personal responsibility for the role they can play in achieving equity. Dr. Harris gave us actionable strategies based on his extensive research that we could employ immediately. Our college community gained both knowledge and empowerment to make a difference from our experiences with Dr. Harris.
Dr. Georgia Lorenz, President, Seminole State College
Dr. Frank Harris spoke to a large group of Illinois’ community college leaders to share insights about strategic planning through an equity lens. His presentation at once validated many of our assumptions while simultaneously pushing us forward and helping us envision a more equitable and inclusive future for Illinois community colleges. Dr. Harris’ message was just as insightful and inspirational as it was practical. Each of us left the conversation with a list of next steps as we returned to our campuses to lead strategic planning.
Dr. Michael Boyd, President and CEO, Kankakee Community College
Dr. Harris is simply one of the most prolific and consequential educational scholars and racial justice freedom fighters of our generation.
Dr. Edward Bush, President Cosumnes River College and Co-Founder of A2MEND
Dr. Frank Harris III, conducted a powerful presentation related to the role of Classified professionals in the advancement of the equity to achieve student success. Often, classified staff feel disconnected from discussions related to equity and the implementation of new statewide initiatives such as guided pathways and AB 705. This training was essential for our classified staff to understand their important role in closing equity gaps and help increase student success. Our classified staff indicated a feeling of “empowerment” during this presentation. As a result, classified have taken on greater roles in shared governance committees on campus and participate on key district wide committees. Most importantly, there is a strong sense of collaboration and communication between faculty and classified staff, helping to remove “silos” as we make important decisions that will impact student success.
Dr. Oscar Cobian Vice President of Student Development, Oxnard College
Dr. Frank Harris’s presentation to our faculty and staff was invaluable due to his unique perspective surrounding the concepts of unconscious bias and racial microaggressions in the classroom.
Dr. Harris provides a clear explanation of how detrimental unconscious bias and micro aggressive behaviors can be to students of color, if not recognized, and how critically important it is for faculty and staff to be intentional in their work related to issues of equity.
The resources that Dr. Harris provides explain the relationship between unconscious bias and racial microaggressions. He does an exceptional job in articulating the impact of unconscious bias and racial microaggressions especially as it relates to the educational practice affecting boys and men of color.
Dr. Scott W. Thayer Vice President, Student Services, San Bernardino Valley College
Our College was fortunate to engage Dr. Frank Harris III during the academic year, 2018-2019. The incredible effort that Dr. Harris put forth in four specific programs from September 2018 thru June 2019 has been an inspiration and a foundation for our College’s work, from student equity and success for students to equity-minded practices for our faculty. His professionalism, intellect, and wonderful way of connecting with each person in the audience, make him an ideal person to bring on a college campus to support and encourage working on high-impact institutional practices to redress outcome disparities, especially for men of color. I highly recommend Dr. Frank Harris III for your institution!
Henry Gee, Vice President, Student Services, Rio Hondo College
Dr. Harris has been supporting our college since 2015 in our efforts to institutionalize equity. He has delivered keynote addresses and professional development workshops on supporting men of color, addressing basic needs insecurities, equity-minded institutional assessment, delivering equity-minded student services online, and a host of other topics. He has had a huge impact on how we practice equity at our college–from what we say to what we do.
Dr. Keith Cury, President/CEO, Compton Community College District (CCCD)
Many community college faculty can be skeptical about outside “consultants” who are invited in to deliver a message – especially related to how faculty can address equity and diversity in the classroom. Frank’s presentation at our opening Fall meeting was entitled, “Advancing Equity in a Climate of Resistance and Change.” It was enlightening and hard-hitting. Frank grabbed the attention and interest of not just “the choir” but the “passive resisters” and “defiant” amongst us. The proof of this was when faculty voluntarily attended Frank’s follow on sessions after the keynote and engaged in very forthright discussions about what they can do to more effectively embrace equity in their roles as faculty.
Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Vice President, Student Services , Mt. San Antonio College
We invited Dr. Harris to deliver the keynote address for our spring convocation. This was my first convocation as president of Grossmont College so I needed it to be one that our campus would remember. Dr. Harris did a wonderful job of setting the stage for our work on anti-racism, which he will be involved in. I’ve had several colleagues who’ve been at the college for more than a decade share that this was the best convocation we’ve had since they’ve been here.
Dr. Marsha V. Gable, Interim President, Grossmont College