Fourth-Annual Terry Piper Lecture Features Expert on Equity and Student Engagement

  • Shaun Harper

    Dr. Shaun Harper, a national expert on equity and student engagement in higher education, will serve as the keynote speaker at the annual Terry Piper Lecture on March 9.

Shaun R. Harper, a national expert on equity and student engagement in higher education, will serve as the keynote speaker at California State University, Northridge’s annual Terry Piper Lecture on Monday, March 9, in the University Student Union’s Northridge Center.

Harper is a faculty member in the Graduate School of Education, Gender Studies, and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also serves as executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. He will discuss “Student Engagement and Inclusive Campus Environments: From Magical Thinking to Strategy and Intentionality,” at 9:30 a.m. in the Northridge Center. Harper will describe how engagement and inclusivity in classrooms and out-of-class spaces positively affects persistence, academic achievement and a range of other important student outcomes.

“The Terry Piper Lecture Series is an annual event that invites all members of the campus community to reflect on the role that each of us play in supporting the success of our diverse student population,” said Shelley Ruelas-Bischoff, associate vice president for student life and co-chair of the event. “The lecture makes an important contribution to critical and ongoing campus dialogues on student achievement, retention and graduation.”

The event will open with a reception at 9 a.m., followed by the lecture. It is open to faculty, staff and students at CSUN.

Piper, who served as vice president of student affairs at CSUN for nearly 10 years, strove to actively partner with campus colleagues in support of student success as a member of the university’s executive leadership team. He is credited with reshaping CSUN’s Division of Student Affairs to align with the most current thinking and practices supporting student learning and success. Piper passed away in May 2010 after a courageous battle with melanoma.

“My former esteemed colleague, Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Terry Piper, was a campus leader who faced challenges head on in collaboration with the entire university community,” said Merril Simon, a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and co-chair of the event. “He thought deeply and communicated regarding higher education artfully within CSUN and was known as well throughout the U.S., for both his work developing college residential community standards and by effective modeling of meaningful, deep evaluation of the work that is done within the university.

“He believed that academic success resulted from experiences inside and beyond the classroom by creating a supportive campus learning environment for all.”

Harper is well known for his research, including work he has done at CSUN. In 2013, he joined with CSUN’s Department of Athletics in conducting a student-to-student success program for women and students of color who participate in athletics. His research examines race and gender in education and social contexts, equity trends and racial climates on college campuses, Black and Latino male student success in high school and higher education, and college student engagement.

Professor Harper has published 12 books and more than 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications. Review of Research in Education,Journal of Higher Education, Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record and The Review of Higher Education are some journals in which his studies are published. He has received more than $11.7 million in research grants. Harper has been interviewed on CNN, ESPN and NPR and featured or quoted inThe New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and more than 400 other media outlets. He received the 2014 American Educational Research Association Relating Research to Practice Award and the 2008 Association for the Study of Higher Education Early Career Award. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Albany State, a Historically Black University in Georgia, and his doctorate from Indiana University.

For more information and to RSVP by Wednesday, March 4, visit