Eddie R. Cole, Nationally Recognized Scholar, Joins Faculty in Higher Education and Organizational Change

Professor whose historical work illuminates contemporary racial issues in higher education brings his talent to UCLA.

The UCLA School of Education and Information Studies has appointed Eddie R. Cole, Ph.D., as Associate Professor in the Division of Higher Education and Organizational Change. 

Cole began his new role at UCLA on July 1.

“Professor Cole’s research mines a rich vein of the history of the role of college presidents in their endeavors to shape racial policies and practices in higher education,” said Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Wasserman Dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. “While still early in his career, Eddie’s work is generating extraordinary praise and excitement in the academic world and beyond. His precise, elegant, and exhaustive methodologies thoughtfully illuminate issues that are at once under-explored in higher education and highly relevant to our country’s enduring racial problématique.  We are delighted to welcome Eddie to the very talented faculty of SEIS.”

Cole comes to UCLA from the College of William & Mary, where he was an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Affiliated Faculty of History. He is the author of “The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom,” to be published this fall by Princeton University Press. 

He is also the recipient of the 2018 Early Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and was named a 2017 Mellon Emerging Faculty Leader Award from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which recognized him as a professor poised “to play a significant role in shaping American higher education.” Cole also received a 2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards for scholars working in critical areas of education research, as well as research fellowships and grants from Princeton University and the University of Chicago. He has also been a Dean’s Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  

“UCLA has long been a university where scholar activists – faculty, students, and alumni – have pushed the envelope on racial equity and issues of social justice, and I am really excited about joining the team,” Cole said. 

“There is a tremendous opportunity to bridge higher education history with the issues that we are grappling with today.  Everything I see unfolding right now, there is a history behind it.  The more we understand the full history of race and racism on college campuses, the better equipped we will be to deal with it. I am really looking forward to joining the phenomenal faculty and outstanding students who are asking the most pressing questions confronting society right now.”

Professor Cole earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Indiana University and his bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from Tennessee State University. His research uses extensive historical materials to address problems and issues in higher education, particularly through research on college presidents and race on and off campus. 

“Our work here at UCLA is intently focused on understanding and confronting racism and the racial inequities that challenge education and hamper opportunities for too many,” said Christina Christie, the newly appointed Interim Wasserman Dean of the School of Education and Information Studies. “Professor Cole’s insight and research will add greatly to our efforts in these challenging times. We could not be happier to welcome him to our community.”