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"The Campus Color Line" Named winner of Frederick M. Ness Book Award

The Campus Color Line Book Cover

The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom, by Eddie R. Cole, an associate professor of higher education and organizational change at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies has been named the winner of the Frederic W. Ness Book Award by The Association of American Colleges and Universities. The Ness award is given annually to the book that best illuminates the goals and practices of contemporary liberal education. 

Based on archival research conducted at a range of colleges and universities across the United States, The Campus Color Line shines a bright light on the important role of college presidents in the struggle for racial parity and how the legacy of the actions of academic leaders’  continues to influence the unfinished struggle for Black freedom and racial equity in education and beyond.

“The racial challenges faced by colleges and universities today are not new. These are old issues that have been significantly influenced and shaped by past academic leaders’ decisions,” Cole said. “There are lessons to be learned from looking at the long history of racial policies and practices. As a scholar of higher education history, it is especially meaningful to be recognized by one of the most influential national higher education associations of the last century because AAC&U has been at the forefront of advancing many of the very topics explored in The Campus Color Line.”

This year’s Ness award winner was selected by a committee of higher education leaders, including Kathleen Woodward (committee chair), Lockwood Professor in the Humanities, professor of English, and director of the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington; Brooke Barnett, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Butler University; Eduardo Ochoa, president of California State University, Monterey Bay; and Lynn Pasquerella, president of AAC&U. The award will be formally presented to Professor Cole, at AAC&U’s annual meeting, on January 20, 2022, in Washington, DC.

UCLA Associate Professor of Education Eddie R. Cole

Eddie R. Cole, Ph.D., is associate professor of higher education and organizational change at UCLA, and the author of The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom (Princeton University Press, 2020).

Dr. Cole’s research focuses on college presidents’ historic role in shaping racial policies and practices both inside and outside of the educational sphere. As a scholar of higher education history, his approach in covering historical material and making connections to the current, critical context has garnered respect and praise from academics as well as intellectuals and activists beyond the academy. His finesse in using extensive, historical materials to address contemporary racial issues in higher education demonstrates the role of higher education in influencing all aspects of American life. Dr. Cole’s scholarship and public writing has also been featured in The Washington PostLos Angeles Times, and Chronicle of Higher Education. He has also appeared on BBC World News and C-Span BookTV.