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Michael Lanford, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor

Office: Nesbitt Academic Building, 5160, Gainesville
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Areas of Expertise: Ethnography, Globalization, Higher Education, Institutional Innovation, Life History, Relational Sociology, Research Methods, Social and Cultural Theory, Writing


Michael Lanford is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of North Georgia. Dr. Lanford’s research explores the social dimensions of education, with a specific focus on educational equity, globalization, institutional innovation, organizational culture, and the workforce of the twenty-first century. 

Before arriving at UNG, Dr. Lanford was a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Provost Fellow in the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California, as well as a Harvey Fellow in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He also taught undergraduate and graduate classes in world cultures, music history, music theory, and aesthetics at various universities in the Southeast U.S. 

Courses Taught

EDD 7100 - Research Design and Evaluation

EDD 7104 - Organizational Psychology in Higher Education Administration

EDD 7201 - Advanced Qualitative Methods

EDD 7205 - Effective Course Design, Implementation, and Assessment

EDD 7207 - Supporting Underrepresented Students in Higher Education

EDD 8000 - Dissertation Research Seminar


  • Ph.D., Urban Education Policy, University of Southern California, 2017
  • M.Ed., Higher Education, University of Hong Kong, 2011
  • M.Mus., Music Literature, University of Georgia, 2005
  • B.A., Music, Colgate University, 1999



Lanford, M., & Tierney, W. G. (Under contract). Creating a culture of mindful innovation in higher education. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Edited Journal Issues

Lanford, M. (Ed.). (In progress). Global higher education partnerships [Special issue]. Journal of International and Comparative Higher Education.

Lanford, M. (Ed.). (2019). The art of life history: Novel approaches, future directions [Special issue]. Qualitative Inquiry, 25(5), 459-522.

Articles and Book Chapters

Lanford, M. (2020). In pursuit of respect: The adult learner attending community college in the “new economy.” Educational Forum.

Lanford, M. (2020). Long term sustainability in global higher education partnerships. In A. Al-Youbi, A. Zahed, & Tierney, W. G. (Eds.), Successful global collaborations in higher education institutions. Cham: Springer.

Lanford, M. (2020). What can relational sociology reveal about college writing and remediation? In W. G. Tierney & S. Kolluri (Eds.), Relational sociology and research on schools, colleges, and universities. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Tierney, W. G., & Lanford, M. (2020). Examining the utility of life history research in the twenty-first century [Flagship article]. In P. Atkinson, S. Delmont, M. Hardy, & M. Williams (Eds.), SAGE research methods foundations. London: Sage.

Tierney, W. G., & Lanford, M. (2020). Globalization in the United States: The case of California. In M. Priyam (Ed.), Reclaiming public universities: Comparative reflections for reforms. Abingdon: Routledge.

Lanford, M. (2019). John Henry Newman: The idea of a university. In J. Gossling & G. Fenwick (Eds.), The literary encyclopedia: English writing and culture of the Victorian period, 1837-1901. London: The Literary Dictionary Company.

Lanford, M. (2019). Making sense of “outsiderness”: How life history informs the college experiences of non-traditional students. Qualitative Inquiry, 25(5), 500-512.

Lanford, M., Corwin, Z. B., Maruco, T., & Ochsner, A. (2019). Institutional barriers to innovation: Lessons from a digital intervention to improve college access for low-income students. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 51(3), 203-216.

Lanford, M., & Maruco, T. (2019). Six conditions for successful career academies. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(5), 50-52.

Lanford, M., Tierney, W. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2019). The art of life history: Novel approaches, future directions. Qualitative Inquiry, 25(5), 459-463.

Lincoln, Y. S., & Lanford, M. (2019). Life history’s second life. Qualitative Inquiry, 25(5), 464-470.

Lanford, M. (2018). The effects of performance funding on academic freedom: A case study from Florida. In Faculty conference papers (pp. 125-141). Chicago, IL: FIRE.

Lanford, M., & Maruco, T. (2018). When job training is not enough: The cultivation of social capital in career academies. American Educational Research Journal, 55(3), 617-648.

Lanford, M., & Tierney, W. G. (2018). Re-envisioning graduate and early career socialization to encourage public scholarship. In A. Kezar, Y. Drivalas, & J. A. Kitchen (Eds.), Envisioning public scholarship for our time: Models for higher education researchers (pp. 163-178). Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Tierney, W. G., & Lanford, M. (2018). Institutional culture in higher education. In J. C. Shin & P. N. Teixeira (Eds.), Encyclopedia of international higher education systems and institutions. Dordrecht: Springer.

Tierney, W. G., & Lanford, M. (2018). Research in higher education: Cultural perspectives. In J. C. Shin & P. N. Teixeira (Eds.), Encyclopedia of international higher education systems and institutions. Dordrecht: Springer.

Lanford, M. (2017). The political history of the Georgia HOPE scholarship program: A critical analysis. Policy Reviews in Higher Education, 1(2), 187-208.

Tierney, W. G., & Lanford, M. (2017). Between massification and globalization: Is there a role for global university rankings? In E. Hazelkorn (Ed.), Global rankings and the geopolitics of higher education (pp. 295-308). Oxford: Routledge.

Lanford, M. (2016). Perceptions of higher education reform in Hong Kong: A glocalization perspective. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, 18(3), 184-204.

Lanford, M., & Tierney, W. G. (2016). The international branch campus: Cloistered community or agent of social change? In D. Neubauer, J. Hawkins, M. Lee, & C. Collins (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of Asia Pacific higher education (pp. 157-172). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tierney, W. G., & Lanford, M. (2016). Conceptualizing innovation in higher education. Higher education: Handbook of theory and research, vol. 31 (pp. 1-40). Dordrecht: Springer.

Tierney, W. G., & Lanford, M. (2015). An investigation of the impact of international branch campuses on organizational culture. Higher Education, 70(2), 283-298.

Tierney, W. G., & Lanford, M. (2015). Creativity and innovation in the twenty-first century university. In J. M. Case & J. Huisman (Eds.), Researching higher education: International perspectives on theory, policy, and practice (pp. 61-79). Society for Research into Higher Education. Oxford: Routledge.

Tierney, W. G., & Lanford, M. (2014). The question of academic freedom: Universal right or relative term? Frontiers of Education in China, 9(1), 4-23.

Lanford, M. (2011). A reevaluation of isorhythm in the “Old Corpus” of the Montpellier Codex. College Music Symposium, 51-52, 1-17.

Lanford, M. (2011). Ravel and “The Raven”: The realization of an inherited aesthetic in Boléro. Cambridge Quarterly, 40(3), 243-265.

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