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Dr. Eddie R. Cole

Dr. Eddie R. Cole

Best-Selling Author, The Campus Color Line & Higher Education Thought Leader


Dr. Eddie R. Cole is Associate Professor of Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA. His research focuses on college presidents’ historic role in shaping racial policies and practices both inside and outside of the educational sphere. His book The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom - called “groundbreaking”, “essential”, and “required reading” by reviewers - was described by New York Times–bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi as “a stunning and ambitious origins story… embedded with breath-taking narratives recovered from meticulous research.” Read More >

Eddie’s scholarship and public writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chronicle of Higher Education, and he has appeared as an expert commentator on BBC World News and C-Span BookTV. In 2021 and 2022, he was named by Education Week as one of “the top university-based scholars in the U.S. who did the most last year to shape educational practice and policy.” He received the 2018 Early Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education and in 2017 was recognized by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation as a professor poised “to play a significant role in shaping American higher education.” Also notable is his selection as 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.

Eddie is frequently invited to participate in Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series and is in high demand as a speaker for both campus and municipal MLK Day and Black History Month celebrations. An example of him addressing the community of students and faculty at Princeton University is available here. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Campus Color Line | Princeton University

The Role of Faculty at a Community-Engaged, Empowered University | University of Illinois

Speech Topics

The Campus Color Line

Some of America’s most pressing civil rights issues―desegregation, equal educational and employment opportunities, housing discrimination, and free speech―have been closely intertwined with higher education institutions. Although it is commonly known that college students and other activists, as well as politicians, actively participated in the fight for and against civil rights in the middle decades of the twentieth century, historical accounts have not adequately focused on the roles that the nation’s college presidents played in the debates concerning racism. Read More >

Focusing on the period between 1948 and 1968, Dr. Eddie R. Cole shows how college presidents, during a time of violence and unrest, strategically, yet often silently, initiated and shaped racial policies and practices inside and outside of the educational sphere. With courage and hope, as well as malice and cruelty, college presidents positioned themselves―sometimes precariously―amid conflicting interests and demands. In this inspiring keynote, and based on archival research conducted at a range of colleges and universities across the United States, Dr. Eddie Cole sheds light on the important place of college presidents in the struggle for racial parity. Read Less ^