Alexander “Sandy” Astin Selected to Receive 2007 Paley Award for Service to Independent Higher Education

February 05, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 5— Alexander “Sandy” Astin, founding director of the Higher Education Research Institute and professor of higher education emeritus at UCLA, has been selected by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) to receive the 2007 Henry Paley Memorial Award.  He will receive the award from NAICU President David L. Warren at a luncheon that begins at 12:00 on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the NAICU annual meeting.  The meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.
Since 1985, the Paley Award has recognized an individual who, throughout his or her career, has unfailingly served the students and faculty of independent higher education.  The recipient of this award has set an example for all who would seek to advance educational opportunity in the United States.  The Paley Award is named for Henry Paley, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York from 1975 until 1984.
One of the nation’s most prolific researchers in the field of higher education, Astin has authored 20 books and more than 300 other publications.  Through much of his career, Astin has been most identified with the longitudinal study of freshmen he founded at UCLA.  For more than 40 years, it has informed the nation’s understanding of the college experience and its outcomes. 
“Astin’s career has been an artful blend of exploration and exhortation in higher education,” said David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.  “For decades, he has informed, inspired, and cajoled the field’s leaders as higher education has evolved.
“He has done it by never losing focus on what this enterprise is essentially about:  the students,” Warren said.  “In recognition of his continuing influence on our service to those we teach we are honored to present the 2007 Henry Paley Memorial Award to Sandy Astin.”
Astin was a moving force in attempts to truly understand and listen to students in the caldron of the unrest of the late 1960s.  He was writing about student-oriented change in higher education and the student drop-out problem in the 1970s.  He pressed for improved assessment and measurement of student outcomes in the 1980s and 90s.  In the new century, he has addressed the central role of colleges and universities in citizenship and civic engagement.  Most recently, his research has explored values and spirituality, revealing a largely hidden thirst for meaning, purpose, and values among students.
In 1997 he retired as director of UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), based in the university’s Higher Education Research Institute (HERI).  However, he continues as principal investigator on two major HERI research projects.  One is a long-term longitudinal study of the impact of the undergraduate service learning experience on the post-college life of former college students.  The second, conducted with his wife Helen, is the continuing national study of students’ spiritual development.
In recognition of Astin’s productivity, insight, and influence, he has been elected to the National Academy of Education, named a fellow at the Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees, and has received awards for outstanding research and service from more than a dozen national associations and professional societies.
A survey by Change magazine in 1997 identified Astin as one of the nation’s higher education agenda setters, while a 1985 survey by Change cited him as the person most admired for creative, insightful thinking in the field of higher education.  A 1990 Journal of Higher Education survey found him to be the most frequently cited author in the field. 
NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education.  With nearly 1,000 member institutions and associations nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States.  NAICU members enroll 85 percent of all students attending private institutions.  They include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, church- and faith-related institutions, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, art institutions, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business, and other professions. 

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