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 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 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. He published, 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 and Understanding Institutional Diversity in American Higher Education (Jossey-Bass, 2013). His forthcoming book with Routledge examines the research on tenure and provides research-based strategies for pre-tenure faculty.


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, 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.




Harris, M.S. (Forthcoming). How to get tenure:  Strategies for successfully navigating the process. Understanding institutional diversity in American higher education. 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. (2017). Exploring involuntary presidential turnover in American higher education.  The Journal of Higher Education. PDF

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