2023 Presidential Podcast Series

Podcast. Higher Ed Research: Purposes, Policies, & Practices. Hosted by Felecia Commodore & Royel M. Johnson. ASHE Logo. USC Rossier School Logo.

About the 2023 Season

Political forces have always shaped higher education whether through legislation, curricular reformation, partisan control of state appropriations to higher education, and private benefactors and philanthropies. What are the forces that are impinging on higher education’s purposes and practices today, and how can (or how should) higher education research direct the course of their effects?

Like our 2023 ASHE Annual Conference, our 2023 podcasts will be dedicated to this question. Our guests will engage with the question to broaden our understanding of and perspectives on what’s at stake for higher education’s purposes and practices now and in the years to come. In this podcast series, our ASHE co-hosts Drs. Felecia Commodore and Royel Johnson will invite scholars and higher education leaders to consider how political forces today affect higher education’s purposes and practices, and the role that we, as higher education researchers, can or should play in addressing these forces.

ASHE’s 2023 President Ana M. Martínez-Alemán invites you to listen to and reflect on these conversations, and to share the insights from our co-hosts and invited guests with your colleagues.


Dr. Felecia Commodore
Associate Professor
Educational Foundations and Leadership
Old Dominion University

Dr. Royel M. Johnson
Associate Professor
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California


Episode 1:
“A View from the Backyard”

In this first episode of the season, Drs. Commodore and Johnson chat with ASHE President, Dr. Martínez-Alemán about this year’s conference theme and her commitment to seeing beyond the well-tended roses ‘out front’ in higher education, to quote Gwendolyn Brooks. She shares insights about her scholarship, hopes for the podcast, and what we can expect at this year’s convening in Minnesota.


Dr. Ana M. Martínez-Alemán
2023 President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education
Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at Boston College

Episode 2:
Purposes: The Intended and Unexpected Outcomes of Higher Education

In this episode, Drs. Commodore and Johnson engage with scholars about the purpose(s) of higher education and the challenging social and political forces that impact college and universities from fulfilling their mission. Panelists reflect on the history of higher education and what lessons we might learn from to chart a more equitable and just future at this critical juncture.


Dr. Bryan Brayboy (Lumbee)
Dean, School of Eduction and Social Policy
Northwestern University

Dr. Linda Eisenmann
Professor, Education and History
Wheaton College, Massachusetts

Episode 3:
Politics: Governance and Governing Boards

In this episode, Drs. Commodore and Johnson delve into the important role that state and institutional governing boards play in advancing equity in higher education and beyond. Panelists reflect on the purposes, politics and practices that shape governing bodies and their impact on effort to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.


Dr. Demetri Morgan
Associate Professor
Loyola University Chicago

Rep. Harold Love
Tennessee General Assembly

Episode 4:
Practice, Part 1: On-Going, New, and Emerging Impacts of Access

In this episode, Drs. Commodore and Johnson discuss with panelists the myriad of forces that are impacting access to higher education. They delve into the recent Affirmative Action decision, lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other imminent shifts that pose challenges to expanding college access for underserved populations. Panelists share insightful reflections and practical strategies for individuals and institutions committed to advancing equity.


Dr. Liliana Garces
University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Kimberly Griffin
Dean of the College of Education
University of Maryland

Arthur Kelly
Program Specialist
Access College Foundation

Dr. Julie Posselt
Associate Dean of the Graduate School & Associate Professor
University of Southern California

Episode 5:
Practice, Part 1: On-Going, New, and Emerging Impacts of Access

In this episode, Drs. Commodore and Johnson discuss with panelists the social, political and economic forces that shape college affordability. From SCOTUS’ recent decision on student debt loan forgiveness to shrinking state funding for public higher education, guest panelists Dr. Dominique Baker and Tia Caldwell offer insight into the price students pay for college.


Dr. Dominique Baker
Associate Professor
Southern Methodist University

Tia Caldwell, MPP
Higher Education Policy Analyst
New America Foundation

Episode 6:
Where Do We Go From Here?

In this session, Drs. Commodore and Johnson discuss with panelists how they are chartering new possibilities for the future of higher education. Guests offer insight into challenges and opportunities they have encountered while navigating institutional politics to implement transformative research and practice. They share practical recommendations for others seeking to drive change in academia within their spheres of influence.


Dr. Candace Hall
Co-Director, Higher Education Student Affairs Program
Assistant Professor
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Dr. Robin Hughes
Dean, School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Suggested Media From This Episode
Hall, C. N. (2023). Centering joy and community for the wellbeing of Black faculty. The Journal of Faculty Development, 37(1), 76-79.
Bloom, Q., Curran, M., & Brint, S. (2020). Interdisciplinary Cluster Hiring Initiatives in US Research Universities: More Straw than Bricks? The Journal of Higher Education, 91(5), 755-780. https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2019.1688615
Cole, E. R., McGowan, B. L., & Zerquera, D. D. (2017). First-year faculty of color: Narratives about entering the academy. Equity & Excellence in Education, 50(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/10665684.2016.1262300
Durkee, M. I. (2022). How to recruit and retain faculty members of colour in academia. Nature Reviews Psychology, 1-2. https://doi.org/10.1038/s44159-022-00098-0
Fries-Britt, S., Kelly , B.T. (2005). Retaining each other: Narratives of two African American women in the academy. Urban Rev 37, 221–242. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-005-0006-2
Griffin, K. A. (2019). Redoubling our efforts: How institutions can affect faculty diversity. Redoubling our efforts: How institutions can affect faculty diversity. Race and ethnicity in higher education: A status report. https://ace.e-wd.org/resources/ideas-and-insights/redoubling-our-efforts-how-institutions-can-affect-faculty-diversity/
Kelly, B. T., Gayles, J. G., & Williams, C. D. (2017). Recruitment without retention: A critical case of Black faculty unrest. The Journal of Negro Education, 86(3), 305-317. https://doi.org/10.7709/jnegroeducation.86.3.0305
Siegel, D. J., Barrett, T. G., & Smith, T. H. (2015). To stay or go: A comparison of factors influential in the decision of African American faculty to remain at two elite southern research universities. The Journal of Negro Education, 84(4), 593-607.  https://doi.org/10.7709/jnegroeducation.84.4.0593
Blacktivism In the Academy by The DREAM Collective & That Untitled Project: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/blacktivism-in-the-academy/id1534724682
S2E2_Community as an Anchor with Heather Shotton by Scholar Tea:podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/scholar-tea/id1367161013?i=1000581376085
10 signs of unstitionalized racism by Robin Hughes. Hosted at Diverse: Issues in Higher education (online article), diverseeducation.com/opinion/article/15094838/10-signs-of-institutionalized-racism
Robin Hughes & Mark Giles (2010) CRiT walking in higher education: activating critical race theory in the academy, Race Ethnicity and Education, 13:1, 41-57, DOI: 10.1080/136133209035496855
7 Characteristics of an Activist and Unapologetic Leader: Aint No Code-switching or Dispositional Passing Involved by Robin Hughes. Hosted at Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, diverseeducation.com/opinion/article/15291970/7-characteristics-of-an-activist-and-unapologetic-leader-aint-no-codeswitching-or-dispositional-passing-involved