Department of Education Policy & Leadership

Michael Harris

Associate Professor & Director for Center of Teaching Excellence

Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania
3101 University Blvd Ste.345
Box 750114
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 research considers how economic, political, and social changes influence the culture, strategy, and behavior of higher education institutions. He is currently explore how institutional strategy and behaviors differ in light of varying missions and organizational cultures.


His work has been published in the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Innovative Higher Education, Planning for Higher Education, Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Trusteeship, and reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education.


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 the Journal of Higher Education, Routledge, 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.




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. & Holley, K.A. (2016). How networks between city-regions and higher education institutions fuel local innovation, growth, and creativity. In Paulsen, M.B. (Ed.) Higher education: Handbook of theory and research, Volume XXXI. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Dupaul, S. & Harris, M.S. (2012). Secret shoppers:  The stealth applicant search for higher education.  Journal of College Admission, 215, 8-16. 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. & Barnes, B. (2011). Branding access through the Carolina Covenant:  Fostering institutional image and brand.  Journal of Student Financial Aid, 41(2), 36-46. PDF

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

Bourke, B., Major, C.H., & Harris, M.S. (2009). Building the public perception of community college learners:  Fictional portrayals of two-year college students.  The Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 33(1), 55-69. PDF

Bray, N.J., Harris, M.S., & Major, C.H. (2007). New verse or the same old chorus?  Lessons from distance education.  Research in Higher Education. 48(7), 889-908. PDF