Department of Education Policy & Leadership

Michael Harris

Associate Professor & Director for Center of Teaching Excellence

Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania
Fondren Library West 113
Box 750360
Dallas, TX 75275
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Michael S. Harris is an associate professor of higher education and director of SMU's Center for Teaching Excellence. His primary research interests consider the culture, strategy, and behavior of higher education institutions. Harris has taught graduate courses in organization and governance, academic leadership, organizational theory, and the history of American higher education.


His work has been published in leading higher education journals such as TheJournal of Higher Education,Research in Higher Education, Higher Education, Innovative Higher Education,Higher Education Policy, and reported by theChronicle of Higher Education and The Atlantic. He has published four books, The Qualitative Dissertation in Education:  A Guide for Integrating Research and Practice (Routledge, 2019) with coauthor Karri Holley, How to Get Tenure:  Strategies for Successfully Navigating the Process (Routledge, 2019),Teaching for Learning:  101 Intentionally-Designed Educational Activities to Put Students on the Path to Success(Routledge, 2016) with co-authors Claire H. Major and Todd Zakrajsek andUnderstanding Institutional Diversity in American Higher Education(Jossey-Bass, 2013).


Harris has served as a Member-at-large of Division J (Postsecondary) within the American Educational Research Association. He currently serves on the advisory board of the ASHE monograph series and reviews for theJournal of Higher Education, Routledge, Rutgers Press, Teachers College Record, Innovative Higher Education,Education Policy Analysis Archives,International Journal of Management in Education, and other leading journals as well as the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).


He holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina in American History, a M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in higher education administration. In 2004, he received the AERA Division J Dissertation of the Year award.




Holley, K.A., & Harris, M.S. (2019). The qualitative dissertation in education:  A guide for integrating research and practice. New York:  Routledge.


Harris, M.S. (2019). How to get tenure:  Strategies for successfully navigating the process. New York:  Routledge.


Major, C.H., Harris, M.S., & Zakrajsek, T. (2016).Teaching for learning: 101 intentionally-designed educational activities to put students on the path to success. New York: Routledge


Harris, M.S. (2013). Understanding institutional diversity in American higher education. ASHE Higher Education Report, 39(3). San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass. PDF



Harris, M.S. & Ellis, M.K. (2018). Exploring involuntary presidential turnover in American higher education. The Journal of Higher Education, 89(3), 294-317PDF


Harris, M.S. & Holley, K.A. (2016). Universities as anchor institutions:  Economic and social potential for urban development. In Paulsen, M.B. (Ed.)Higher education:  Handbook of theory and research, Volume XXXI. Dordrecht, The Netherlands:  Springer.PDF


Harris, M.S. & Hartley, M. (2011). Witch-hunting at Crucible University:  The power and peril of competing organizational ideologies. The Journal of Higher Education,82(6), 691-719.PDF


Harris, M.S. (2009). Message in a bottle:  University advertising during bowl games. Innovative Higher Education, 33(5), 285-296.PDF