Laura W. Perna is a James S. Riepe Professor and founding Executive Director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD) at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also serving as past chair of the Faculty Senate at the University of Pennsylvania, chair of the Higher Education Division of the Graduate School of Education, faculty fellow of the Institute for Urban Research, faculty affiliate of the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, and member of the advisory board for the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. She holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned her master’s in public policy and Ph.D. in education from the University of Michigan.
She has held leadership positions in the primary national associations in the field of higher education administration. Dr. Perna served as President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) from 2014 to 2015 and Vice President of the American Educational Research Association’s Division J (Postsecondary Education) from 2010 to 2013 and now is a member of the AERA Grants Governing Board. She has been on the editorial boards of leading journals including American Education Research Journal, Educational Researcher, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Academe, Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Research in Higher Education. She is now co-editor of Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research.
In 2003, Dr. Perna received the Promising Scholar/Early Career Achievement Award from ASHE. Penn honored her in 2010 with the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching. She received the 2010 Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. In 2014, Dr. Perna was named a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, a Penn Fellow, and the inaugural James S. Riepe Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Twitter – @lauraperna1