Dr. Frank Harris III


Dr. Frank Harris III is a professor of postsecondary education and co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab at San Diego State University (SDSU).

He has also served as SDSU’s faculty athletics representative since 2021. From 2022-2024 he served as associate dean of Diversity Equity and Inclusion in SDSU’s College of Education.

Dr. Harris is best known for his expertise in racial equity in postsecondary education and has made important contributions to knowledge about college student development and the social construction of gender and race in college contexts. His work prioritizes populations that have been historically underrepresented and underserved in education, and he has obtained competitive grants and extramural funding for his research. Harris’s scholarship has been published in leading journals for higher education and student affairs research and practice, and his commentary has been sought by high-profile media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Colleges and universities across the country consult Harris regularly for his expertise on student equity, student success, and institutional transformation, and he has worked with more than 100 postsecondary institutions, community organizations, and nonprofits on equity-related efforts. He has also delivered thousands of academic and professional presentations throughout his career. During the Obama Administration, Harris was invited to The White House to share his knowledge and expertise on the status of boys and men of color in education.

Since 2023, Dr. Harris has ranked among Education Week’s Top 200 university-based scholars who have shaped educational policy and practice in the United States.  In 2024 he received the Council for the Study of Community Colleges’ senior scholar award.  In 2022-2023, he received the SDSU Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award.  He currently serves on the Every Learner Everywhere Equity Advisory Board and on the Partnership for College Completion board.

Harris’s career in higher education began in 1999.  Before joining the faculty at San Diego State, he worked for nearly a decade as a student affairs educator and college administrator in student crisis support and advocacy, new student orientation programs, multicultural student affairs, academic advising, and enrollment services. He also served as an adjunct professor of speech communication at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies at Loyola Marymount University, a master’s degree in speech communication at California State University, Northridge, and a doctorate in higher education from the RossierSchool of Education at the University of Southern California.