With a generous bequest from the Pullias Family estate, the Earl and Pauline Pullias Center for Higher Education at the USC Rossier School of Education has been established (the center was previously known as the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis). The gift allows one of the world’s leading research centers on higher education to continue its tradition of focusing on research, policy, and practice to improve the field.

Dr. Earl V. Pullias was one of the founding faculty of USC’s department of higher education in 1957. He was the author of more than 100 research articles, primarily focused on philosophical issues in higher education, and the author and co-author of numerous books.

An overview of the Pullias Center for Higher Education can be found here.

Our Commitment

March 22, 2012 Pullias Vision


The mission of the Pullias Center for Higher Education is to bring a multidisciplinary perspective to complex social, political, and economic issues in higher education. Located within the Rossier School of Education at USC the Pullias Center:

  • Is the only named, endowed center of higher education at a top U.S. school of education, since 1996, the Pullias Center has focused on innovative, scalable solutions to increase access to higher education and improve the performance of postsecondary education.
  • With four full-time post-doctoral scholars and 16 doctoral research assistants, is developing the next generation of scholars in higher education.


The goal of the Pullias Center is to provide analysis of significant issues to support efforts to improve  postsecondary education. Such issues intersect many boundaries. The Center is currently engaged in research projects to improve access and outcomes for low-income, first generation students, improve the performance of postsecondary institutions, assess the role of contingent faculty, understand how colleges can undergo reform in order to increase their effectiveness, and analyze emerging organizational forms such as for-profit institutions, and the educational trajectories of community college students.

History of Pullias

Earl V. Pullias was professor emeritus of higher education at the University of Southern California. He was a teacher, administrator, and consultant. A graduate of Cumberland University (Tennessee), he earned a Masters at the University of Chicago, and then a Ph.D. from Duke University. After initial work as a psychologist, he came to Pepperdine College as a professor, and shortly after, was appointed Dean of the faculty. In 1957, he came to the University of Southern California to establish the Department of Higher and Postsecondary Education.

Dr. Pullias was a prolific writer, with efforts directed towards the philosophical issues in higher learning. He published more than 100 research and theoretical articles and reviews. His book (with James D. Young) A Teacher is Many Things has been translated into nine languages and received international recognition. Other works include Towards Excellence in College Teaching (with Aileene Lockhart), A Search for Understanding, and his last work, A Common Sense Philosophy for Modern Man: A Search for Fundamentals.

The Pullias Lecture, dedicated to the memory of Earl V. Pullias, was arranged to bring a nationally recognized scholar to the campus who would augment department programs for the faculty and students. The publication and national dissemination of the lectureship presentations are intended to add to the ongoing academic dialogue on significant topics in higher and postsecondary education.