Center for the Study of Higher Education
Professor Regina J. Deil-Amen
Director, Center for the Study of Higher Education

I am so pleased to know of your interest in the Center for the Study of Higher Education’s PhD program at the University of Arizona.

Our Fall 2021 application is now open, with a priority deadline of Dec 15th, and applications will be accepted until January 22nd. Applications are welcomed after January 22, with financial support priority for those who apply by January 22.

The Center's work is distinguished by:

  • A commitment not just to improving practice, but also to educational changes that enhance the realization of social justice in higher education and challenge normative ways of thinking with critical quantitative and qualitative methodologies, critical policy and organizational studies, and a focus on geography, identity, and social relations, including race and gender identity.
  • A consideration of how developments in the political economy shape and are expressed in the restructuring of higher education settings, policies, professions, and practices, including the dynamics of HSI servingness and their implications for students, faculty, and institutions.
  • An exploration of the international/global dimensions, issues, and agencies related to higher education, with particular attention devoted to the Americas and to Indigenous populations.
  • An expansive view of college access and success that pays particular attention to community college students, issues of equity in the transition to college, and transfer student pathways.
  • These distinctive characteristics go beyond individual faculty; they reflect a collective synergy and orientation of our faculty to scholarship and practice.

Diverse, supportive, challenging intellectual community

Each year we admit around 10 to 15 Ph.D. students and 15 to 20 M.A. students. The life experience and perspectives of the approximately 130 students enrolled here flavor our program. We do not expect the majority of our students to become faculty/professors, although some do. With a small core of required classes, we give students the flexibility to specialize in an area of expertise based on their own unique interests and professional goals to move into a range of higher education policy, research, service, and leadership positions. Ours is a diverse, supportive, and challenging intellectual community, and our students are invaluable in making that type of community possible. A high proportion of our students are accomplished professionals and we value the practical experience and organizational experience they bring, along with their commitment to service, equity, and transformation.

Over half of our students are women, and approximately half are students of color (with over 30% Latinx, almost 10% African-American, and 8% Native American). A large proportion are first-generation college students. Several are international or have immigrant backgrounds. This diversity enriches our community and infuses every aspect of the work we do.

Faculty foster a culture of research

We are supportive of each other's work and that of our students. Most of our students work, yet are fully engaged intellectually in a program that emphasizes a culture of research and reflective practice. Our aim is to bring theories and findings from the academic literature to bear on professional practice in ways that enhance students' abilities to understand, analyze, and act within postsecondary organizations and systems. We seek students who are deeply committed to the advancement and improvement of higher education as students, practitioners, scholars, and activists.

Most of our students advance into positions in various support professions and administration, but some also pursue faculty positions. Although most obtain positions on college and university campuses, we have also placed students in systemwide administration, policy agencies such as WICHE, and in private enterprise.

An important contributor to our intellectual community is the Higher Education Student Organization (HESO). It sponsors formal and informal annual functions and activities that are academic, professional, and social in nature and that address student needs as well as bring students and faculty together for supportive exchange.

Get to know us on a more personal level!

Our core faculty

Our affiliate faculty

Jamaica DelMar headshot

Welcome, Assistant Professor of Practice Jamaica DelMar, Ph.D! Jamaica DelMar (Ed.D.) defines herself as a mom, wife, daughter, and friend. She has worked in higher education for 12 years, and her previous positions at other institutions include Registrar, Assistant Registrar, Adjunct Faculty, and Academic Advisor at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul Minnesota. She is a longtime volunteer at organizations serving homeless families. Jamaica’s work as an educator and empowerment facilitator with the Jeremiah Program led her to her interests in mentoring students regarding their college goals and taking an activist and innovative approach to such service, teaching, and research in a way that drives her commitment to and passion for leading Project. Dr. DelMar loves to garden and is an avid rockhound.  Her other interests include reading, social justice, equity in education, public art, music, and candy making. Her dissertation was entitled, “A Phenomenological Inquiry into the Perceptions of Single Mother College Students.”