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Last modified: Friday, April 22, 2011

Higher education association naming award to honor School of Education professor Kuh

April 22, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.-- The National Association for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) is naming a prestigious annual award in honor of George Kuh, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus of Higher Education at the Indiana University School of Education.

NASPA will award the first "George D. Kuh Award for Outstanding Contribution to Literature and/or Research" during next spring's annual conference. Naming the award after Kuh is to recognize his unparalleled contributions to student affairs literature and research.

George Kuh

George Kuh

Kuh is a past recipient of the award in 1987 that now bears his name. He has also received similar accolades from other higher education organizations. The NASPA award is reserved for an individual who demonstrates professional commitment to student affairs administration. The literature and research is judged by the NASPA Board of Directors on how well student affairs practitioners use it, as well as its broader applicability.

"I am humbled and honored by this recognition. NASPA has been an important professional anchor for me for more than 35 years, and many of my most rewarding activities were sponsored by this association," said Kuh. "That NASPA has put my name on its research award is a tribute to wonderful colleagues and students who inspired and challenged me and on many occasions tugged, pushed, and occasionally carried me across the finish line of more projects than I can remember. I sincerely thank them and NASPA for this honor."

"Naming this award for George is a significant action by the NASPA board," said NASPA Executive Director Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy. "He has been a leader in shaping research and scholarship in the field of student affairs through his scholarly contributions and cutting-edge research, but also through his influence and mentoring of young scholars."

Kuh has published more than 300 items, including 30 books, monographs, and national reports, 70 book chapters, and about 200 scholarly articles. As the founding director of the Center for Postsecondary Research and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) based at IU he has also contributed volumes to the research of how college students learn. The NSSE survey began as way to uncover more about university practices than is revealed in typical college rankings by gathering data regarding use of effective educational practices on campus. The survey has grown from 70 institutions in 1999 to a total of about 1,400 institutions and 2 million students in the U.S. and Canada participating. Adaptations of NSSE are being used in Australia, Asia, South Africa and elsewhere.

"George Kuh's contributions to the research literature in higher education and student affairs are truly unparalleled," said Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the IU School of Education. "The naming of this prestigious award after him is a fitting tribute and well deserved honor for someone who has had such a tremendous impact on the field. Through this award future generations of both researchers and practitioners will be reminded of the difference one person's leadership can make in the advancement of scholarship and exemplary professional practice."

Kuh also noted that it's the second NASPA award named for an IU higher education faculty member. The Robert H. Shaffer Award for Academic Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member—an award Kuh received in 1994—is named for IU's longtime dean of students. Shaffer is considered a pioneer in the field of student affairs. "So the naming of this award really is a testament to the kind, amount, and quality of work that we've done at Indiana over a long period of time," Kuh said.

Kuh now directs two national projects, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) with Stan Ikenberry at the University of Illinois and the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), the first-ever in-depth look at the factors that help or hinder the careers of graduates of arts-intensive training high schools and postsecondary institutions.

The NILOA project continues Kuh's career-long work of examining and promoting college student success. "We're championing the use of good measures of student attainment and helping institutions see how they can be used and how they can be communicated in responsible ways to the public," he said. "This is a response to the demand on the part of policymakers for accountability data in one respect, but in another, more important respect, it's a way of helping institutions learn how to be more effective in collecting information about student performance and use it to improve student accomplishment."

NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education ( is the leading voice for student affairs administration, policy, and practice, and affirms the commitment of the student affairs profession to educating the whole student and integrating student life and learning. With more than 12,000 members at 1,400 campuses, and representing 29 countries, NASPA is the foremost professional association for student affairs administrators, faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students. NASPA members are committed to serving college students by embracing the core values of diversity, learning, integrity, collaboration, access, service, fellowship and the spirit of inquiry.