Higher Education Professor Gets National Student Affairs Award

George S. McClellan honored for contributions to profession, research

George McClellan

OXFORD, Miss. – George S. McClellan, associate professor of higher education at the University of Mississippi, is the recipient of the 2020 George D. Kuh Outstanding Contribution to Literature and Research Award by Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

The annual award honors individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to research and scholarship in higher education. McClellan, who has worked in higher education for more than 40 years, was first published in 2000 and has been a consistently productive scholar since. 

“For the most part, I take research or models of practice and I translate them to help people see how they might make a difference in their everyday work with students,” McClellan said. “This award is very unexpected, and at a personal level, it’s nice that my peers see what I do as having value in the field.” 

McClellan will be honored along with Lori Patton Davis, chair of the Department of Education Studies at Ohio State University. McClellan and Patton Davis will be presented with the award in March at the 2020 NASPA Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. 

To be considered for the award, an honoree’s work must address important and substantial issues, and have had a significant or transformative effect on higher education and student affairs practice in a national or international context. McClellan is an author, editor or contributor to more than 20 books and has published dozens of articles in mainstream and peer-reviewed publications. 

“It was never my plan to write this many books or chapters, but the more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it,” he said. “I wanted to write something that made a difference, but it was never about how much I was writing.” 

Throughout his career, McClellan has written about topics ranging from college student gambling, e-sports and how to balance the first amendment and social justice issues. However, all his research and writing has remained focused on producing work that advances higher education. 

“The Kuh Award is absolutely one of the highest honors that a faculty member who researches in student affairs can receive,” said Neal Hutchens, UM chair and professor of higher education. “With Dr. McClellan, our students really are learning from one of the best in the field, and his strong commitment to students is shown in his teaching and the additional time that he is willing to spend with students.” 

NASPA is one of the leading associations for the advancement and sustainability of the student affairs profession. It provides professional development, advocacy and research for 15,000 members across the United States.

McClellan received a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature and a master’s degree in education from Northwestern University. He also holds a doctorate in higher education from the University of Arizona.

“I’m really glad to be at Ole Miss and be a part of this department,” he said. “I have more books that I want to write, and I have more ideas than I have time, so I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.” 

“The awards are lovely, but I’m going to keep writing.” 

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