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LaWanda Ward

Dr. LaWanda Ward

Associate Professor of Education (HIED) and Associate Director (Center for the Study of Higher Education)

Phone: 814-863-3774

405F Rackley Building
University Park, PA 16802


  • Education Policy Studies


  • Higher Education Program


  • Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE)


Dr. LaWanda Ward’s commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion in higher education is influenced by her family of educators. Her mother, a 1st-grade teacher for almost 30 years, marched during the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Ward’s research agenda critically analyzes higher education legal issues, including race-conscious admissions, free speech, and academic freedom.


            For over 20 years before joining the professoriate, Dr. Ward served as a student affairs educator in various roles. She was introduced to higher education administration as a residence life graduate assistant and later as a residence hall director at Illinois State University and Old Dominion University. As Director of Pro Bono & Public Interest at her alma mater, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, Dr. Ward coached law students and alumni seeking traditional and non-traditional legal careers. Additionally, she established and maintained productive working relationships with community agencies to ensure law students received rewarding and challenging opportunities to gain pro bono experience.


            Previously, Dr. Ward was an Assistant Professor at Ohio University. She earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs with an Interdisciplinary Minor in Socio-Legal Perspectives on Race & Gender in Higher Education from Indiana University, a JD from Indiana University McKinney School of Law, an MS in Educational Administration from Old Dominion University, an MA in Political Science from Illinois State University, and a BA in Political Science from Murray State University.

Areas of Expertise

Methodological Research

Qualitative Research

Social Issues

Civil Rights and Education
Education and Law
Race and Ethnicity
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