Ethan Ris, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Educational Leadership
Photo of Ethan Ris


Ethan W. Ris is an associate professor of higher education leadership at the University. He holds a Ph.D. and a M.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, where he was also a doctoral fellow at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. He holds a B.A. from Brown University.

Ris is a historian of education policy. His current book project focuses on the effect of activist philanthropy on American undergraduate education in the first half of the 20th century. Using archival methods, he shows how early philanthropic foundations' efforts to impose efficiency-minded reforms on colleges and universities fell short, before they embraced the ethos of student development and institutional autonomy by the mid-century.

Previous work by Ris, published in a range of peer-reviewed journals, has focused on the rapprochement of higher education and the business sector, as well as the social construction of non-cognitive skills at both the K12 and undergraduate levels. Additionally, his writing and expertise has been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The San Jose Mercury News, and public radio.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Higher Education and History of Education, Stanford University
  • M.A.Ed., Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies, Stanford University
  • B.A., History, Brown University