Adrianna Kezar

Rossier School of Education
Co-Director, Pullias Center for Higher Education
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Office: WPH 703C

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Creating change in higher education


Many leaders want to create change in higher education but they feel they do not have the tools or hit too many barriers. The resources and ideas on this page can prepare you to create change from the bottom up, top-down, or through a shared process. In addition to providing a broad understanding of leadership and change, resources are available about creating specific types of change on college campus from diversity, interdisciplinarity, campus and community partnerships, pedagogical reform, service learning, and improved working conditions for faculty.

Adrianna Kezar


Adrianna Kezar, Professor of Higher Education, University of Southern California. She was also elected to the Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in 2014. Kezar holds a Ph.D. 1996 and M.A. 1992 in higher education administration from the University of Michigan and a B.A. 1989 from the University of California, Los Angeles. She joined the faculty at USC in 2003. She has several years administrative experience in higher education as well both in academic and student affairs.

Dr. Kezar is a national expert of change and leadership in higher education and her research agenda explores the change process in higher education institutions and the role of leadership in creating change. Dr. Kezar is also a well-known qualitative researcher and has written several texts and articles about ways to improve qualitative research in education. Kezar is well published with 14 books, over 75 journal articles, and over a hundred book chapters and reports. In 2011, she had two new books: Recognizing and Serving Low Income Students (Routledge, 2011) and Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership (Stanford Press, 2011). Other recent previous books include: Understanding the new majority of non-tenure track faculty (Jossey Bass, 2010), Organizing for collaboration (Jossey Bass, 2009), Rethinking leadership practices in a complex, multicultural and global world (Stylus Press, 2009), Rethinking the "L" Word in Higher Education: The Revolution of Research on Leadership (Jossey Bass, 2006), Higher Education for the Public Good (Jossey Bass , 2005). She has acquired over $5 million dollars in grant funding and has worked on grant-funded projects exceeding $12 million dollars on a variety of projects to fundamentally improve higher education.

Kezar has participated actively in national service, including being on the editorial boards for The Journal of Higher education, The Journal of College Student Development, Change, and The ERIC Review and serving as a reviewer for 17 journals in and outside higher education. She has played major leadership roles serving on the AERA-Division J Council and Association for the Study of Higher Education Board, Publication Committee and Dissertation of the Year Committee. Kezar also serves(d) on numerous national boards including for the American Association for Higher Education, Association of American Colleges and Universities' Peer Review and Knowledge Network; National TRIO Clearinghouse; and the American Council on Education's CIRP Research Cooperative. She volunteers for several national organizations including the National Science Foundation, HERS/Bryn Mawr Summer Institute, Project Kaleidoscope, Pathways to College Network, and the Kellogg Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. She has received national awards for her editorial leadership of the ASHE-ERIC report series from ASHE, for developing a leadership development program for women in higher education from ACE, and for her commitment to service learning from the National Society for Experiential Learning.

Area of Expertise

  • higher education
  • leadership
  • diversity

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  • Ph.D., Education, University of Michigan, 1996
  • M.A., Education, University of Michigan, 1993
  • B.A., Art History, University of California, Los Angeles, 1989


Quick contact

Tel: (213) 821-1519