Sondra Barringer

Associate Professor

Education Policy and Leadership

Dr. Sandra Barringer


Ph.D. University of Arizona


3101 University Blvd Ste. 345
Box 750114
Dallas, TX 75275


Visit website


Dr. Sondra N. Barringer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership at the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Her research agenda focuses on understanding the relationships colleges and universities have with other organizations, groups or individuals and how those relationships shape the governance, structures, finances, institutional policies and behaviors of these institutions. For example, her recent work on elite university trustees highlights how these individuals create connections between universities and external organizations and investigates how these boundary spanning individuals, and their connections, impact the behaviors, policies and practices of elite universities.

Dr. Barringer’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Association for Institutional Research, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the University of Arizona. Her work has also been published in a variety of journals including The Journal of Higher Education, Research Policy, Research in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Higher Education Policy, Innovative Higher Education, Scientometrics, and Community College Review.

Dr. Barringer earned her Ph.D. and Master of Arts degrees in Sociology from the University of Arizona. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Economics at Baylor University. Prior to joining the faculty at SMU she was a Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Associate at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education. At SMU she teaches graduate courses in faculty and academic governance, organizational theory, research design, academic leadership and statistics.

Research: Selected Publications (*=graduate student co-author)

Pryor, K. N.* & Barringer, S. N. (2021, online first) “Ties to the Core: Mapping Academic Boundaries in the Modern Research University.” Innovative Higher Education

Riffe, K. A. and Barringer, S. N. (2021) “The Intersection of Institutional and Worker Hierarchies: Understanding Factors Related to Non-Instructional Staff Salaries Over Time.” Review of Higher Education.44(4):447-492.

Barringer, S. N., Taylor, B. J., Riffe, K., & Slaughter, S. (2020, online first) “How University Leaders Shape Boundaries and Behaviors: An Empirical Examination of Trustee Involvement at Elite US Research Universities.” Higher Education Policy

Barringer, S. N., Leahey, E., & Salazar, K.* (2020) “What catalyzes research universities to commit to interdisciplinary research?.” Research in Higher Education. 61: 679-705.

Leahey, E. & Barringer, S. N. (2020) “Universities’ commitment to interdisciplinary research: To what end?” Research Policy. 49(2): 103910.

McClure, K., Barringer, S. N., & Brown, J. (2020) “Privatization as the “new normal” in higher education: Synthesizing literature and reinvigorating research through a multi-level framework.” Higher Education Handbook for Theory and Research. 35: 589-666.

Barringer, S. N., Taylor, B. J., and Slaughter, S. (2019) “Trustees in turbulent times: External affiliations and stratification among US research universities, 1975-2015.” The Journal of Higher Education. 90(6): 884-914.

Barringer, S. N. & Jaquette, O. (2018) “The moving missions of community colleges: An examination of degree granting profiles over time.” Community College Review. 46(4): 417-443.

Taylor, B. J., Barringer, S. N., & Warshaw, J. B.* (2018) “Affiliated nonprofit organizations: Strategic action and research universities.” The Journal of Higher Education. 89(4): 422-452.

Barringer, S. N. (2016). The changing finances of public higher education organizations: Diversity, change and discontinuity. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 46, 223-263.