The William & Mary Higher Education Program invites students, campus administrators, faculty, and alumni to check out John Thelin’s 2017 text, American Higher Education: Issues and Institutions, in which he bridges theory and practice regarding issues of higher education governance, organization, teaching and learning, student life, faculty, finances, and much more. Thelin recently provided a copy of his text to the School of Education, which is now available on campus and is searchable through the Swem library catalog.
Thelin, currently a professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky, was a professor in the Higher Education Program, as well as director of the doctoral program, at William & Mary from 1981 to 1993.
Thelin’s research interests include the history of higher education and public policy where he brings historical writing into contemporary conversations. His commitment to and successes in the field of higher education are highlighted through several accolades: Thelin received the University Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2006 from Kentucky, served as the president for the Association of the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) in 2000, and received the 2011 ASHE “Outstanding Research Achievement Award.”
Professor Thelin shared that his fondest memories as a professor at William & Mary were those of the program’s higher education graduate students. “I could always count on them to be enthusiastic and inspired. Together we organized a guest lecture series, special colloquia, potluck gatherings, holiday receptions, intramural teams, and a group presence at the ASHE Conference when it was held in Washington, D.C. Many of our graduate students were excelling at full time professional positions while taking courses or writing dissertations. Our roster included graduate students and administrative and faculty members from a wide range of institutions—not only from W&M, but also ODU, VCU, Christopher Newport, Richard Bland, Tidewater CC, Thomas Nelson CC, Rappahannock CC, and many nonprofit institutions. Students balanced professions, graduate study, family, and community responsibilities, often while commuting. They never complained about this amazing balancing act. Truly, there was a magic they created when we met in what uninformed observers would dismiss as nondescript cinder block classrooms in Jones Hall. Nowadays I often have trouble getting work completed because I so enjoy reading and then responding to numerous e-mails and letters from these graduate students who now are alumni and who are distinguished in their own professional achievements.”
The impact of Thelin’s contributions to William & Mary’s Higher Education Program is ever present. As a part of annual scholarships and awards available to incoming and current graduate students in the School of Education, the John Thelin Higher Education Research Award supports students pursuing research in the field of higher education. Recent recipients of this award include Asia Randolph for '17–'18 (Ph.D. student) and Amanda Armstrong for '16–'17 (Ph.D. candidate). The program, School of Education community, graduate students, and alumni continue to benefit from the support and dedication of Professor Thelin’s contributions to William & Mary and the field of higher education.