USC Research Center Renamed for Late Higher Education Scholar

Feb 15, 2012, 18:12 ET from USC Rossier School of Education

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With a generous bequest from the Pullias Family estate, the newly named Earl and Pauline Pullias Center for Higher Education at the USC Rossier School of Education has been established (the center was previously known as the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis). The gift allows one of the world's leading research centers on higher education to continue its tradition of focusing on research, policy, and practice to improve the field.

Pullias was one of the founding faculty of USC's department of higher education in 1957. He was the author of more than 100 research articles, primarily focused on philosophical issues in higher education, and the author and co-author of numerous books. The center's annual Pullias Lecture series, set for March 29 this year, is also named for him.

Established in 1994, the interdisciplinary Center has been renowned for research that informs postsecondary education governance and policy, and outreach programs that improve college access and success for underrepresented youth.

University Professor William G. Tierney, the Wilbur-Kieffer Professor of Higher Education at USC Rossier, is the director of the Pullias Center. In addition to his internationally recognized scholarship in the field, Tierney was recently elected to serve as 2012–13 president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), serving as the first USC scholar to preside over the oldest and largest education research association in the world. Tierney is a sought-after lecturer and expert in the areas of educational equity and postsecondary effectiveness.

Associate Director Adrianna Kezar conducts research on the leadership and change strategies needed to create better access and completion of students in college aligned with the work of the Pullias Center.  Her research also compliments Pullias' interest in improving teaching, particularly her recent research on non-tenure track faculty and STEM education reform. 

The Pullias Center has undertaken significant policy-oriented research on issues related to the new arena of for-profit colleges and universities and their role in meeting demands for a more educated workforce. Affiliated faculty members study issues of non-tenure and adjunct faculty, financial aid access for students of color, diversity, homeless youth, and educational trajectories of community college students.

"We are very grateful to the family of Dr. Pullias for making this gift possible," said USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. "The Pullias Center can now expand its cutting edge research on postsecondary institutions, as well as its critical community outreach work helping   underserved students get into college." 

For 18 years, the Center has conducted important work in the field of college access for underrepresented youth. Two hands-on outreach programs through the Pullias Center have helped hundreds of low-income, first-generation students in the Los Angeles area navigate the financial aid and college application processes and prepare for college. SummerTIME provides local underserved college-bound students with intensive college-level writing preparation, grammar and language skill instruction, as well as college knowledge and resources during the summer before they begin college. Increasing Access via Mentoring (I AM) matches high school seniors with USC faculty, staff and students for one-on-one guidance as they apply for financial aid and college admittance.

The Pullias Center recently partnered with the Game Innovation Lab at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Rossier Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation in the development of a suite of games, Collegeology Games, to help students master college knowledge and access. The card game, Application Crunch, helps high school students understand the financial aid and college application process. It is available at the USC Bookstore and through A Facebook application of the game is due to launch in March.

The Pullias Center is also the home of the annual Earl V. Pullias Lecture Series, the oldest endowed lecture series on higher education in the United States, which brings nationally recognized scholars to USC to contribute to academic dialogue on significant topics in higher and postsecondary education.

This year's annual Pullias Lecture on Thursday, March 29, will be delivered by Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, who is best known for his study of innovation in commercial enterprises. He is the author of The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out. The lecture will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Davidson Conference Center Embassy Room. Contact Diane Flores at for more information.

The Pullias Center actively engages in scholarly discourse online with insightful daily posts on current higher education issues on its blog 21st Century Scholar. Visit the blog at Follow the work of the Pullias Center on Twitter at!/USCPullias. Go to the Pullias Center website at

The USC Rossier School of Education (ross-EAR) is one of the world's premier centers for the study of urban education, preparing teachers and educational leaders who are committed to strengthening urban education locally, nationally and globally.  USC Rossier is leading the search for innovative solutions to the challenges in urban education, and creating mutually beneficial partnerships to rethink curriculum, develop sound policy and improve educational environments.  (

SOURCE USC Rossier School of Education