Shaun Harper, Ph.D. is the Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership at the University of Southern California. In 2022, he was appointed University Professor, a distinction bestowed only to 27 of 4,700 full-time USC faculty members. He also is one of 14 Provost Professors, an elite cadre of interdisciplinary scholars who hold joint appointments in two or more academic schools at the University. He is on the faculties of the USC Rossier School of Education, USC Marshall School of Business, and USC Price School of Public Policy. Dr. Harper has published 13 books and is author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and other academic publications. He is recipient of dozens of top awards in his fields and four honorary degrees. Prior to joining the USC faculty in 2017, he spent a decade at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a tenured full professor. The center he founded at Penn in 2011 is now the USC Race and Equity Center; Harper continues to serve as its chief executive officer.

A prolific and energizing speaker on a range of diversity, equity and inclusion [DEI] topics, Shaun has delivered hundreds of keynote addresses around the world, many to audiences comprised of thousands. In his DEI strategy work with companies and institutions, Dr. Harper prioritizes people, systems, structures, policies, accountability, and sustainability. Evidence-based approaches to organizational change distinguish him from most other DEI consultants. His smart, yet plainspoken and practically-useful style differentiates him from most academicians. He has testified twice to the U.S. House of Representatives, spoken at numerous White House and federal agency convenings, and been appointed by two U.S. presidents and a California governor to significant leadership roles. He has written nearly 100 articles for Forbes and the Washington Post. In 2023, the Los Angeles Times featured Dr. Harper as one of 111 DEI leaders across industries whose work drives change in the nation’s second-largest city.

USC Marshall Logo
USC Race and Equity Center Logo
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Dr. Harper often advises CEOs and leaders on DEI strategy. He has spoken and facilitated high-quality professional learning experiences for employees across all levels at more than 400 corporations, firms, agencies, and educational institutions. Executives often seek and benefit from his expertise in moments of racial crisis.

Anheuser Busch
Los Angeles Unified School District LAUSD
White House
Harvard University
Microsoft Logo
Princeton University
NYC Department of Education
U.S. Air Force
MLB Logo
Virgin Orbit
NFL Logo
Wondery Logo
Universal Logo
Sempra Energy
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Sun Life Financial
Bad Robot
Converse Logo
Pasadena Tournament of Roses
Zoom Logo

“Dr. Harper’s deep subject-matter expertise, experience, and knowledge in all aspects of DE&I helped our team achieve measurable progress. His ability to curate meaningful experiences and dialogues that engage participants in this critical work was an accelerator in our thinking and actions. Shaun artfully facilitates real discussion on DE&I that is grounded in long-term impact. He continues to be a trusted partner and a joy to work with.”

Phil McCartney
Vice President of Footwear
and General Manager

“My colleagues and I have repeatedly sought Dr Harper’s guidance as he has demonstrated an uncanny ability to stay relevant and knowledgeable around the state of diversity, equity, and belonging in the financial services sector. He is a master of communication who marries expertise and excellence with provocative and challenging inquiry to help steer organizations as they seek to establish their unique pathway to creating more equitable and diverse spaces. I have recommended him and will continue to recommend him to my colleagues who want to take their inclusion and equity efforts to the next level.”

Tammi Wortham
Sun Life Financial
Senior Vice President of Human Resources

“Dr. Harper is one of America’s most important teachers and a leading voice for educational justice. From the consciousness-raising articles he writes for public audiences to the thousands of professionals for whom he designs and facilitates learning experiences each year to the lucky students in his classrooms at USC, Shaun consistently teaches complex diversity, equity, and inclusion topics with impressive sophistication and deep expertise.”

Dr. John B. King
Obama Administration
10th United States Secretary of Education

Race in the Workplace

In this nine-episode video series sponsored by TIME and Zoom, Shaun Harper and Damien Hooper-Campbell (Zoom’s Chief Diversity Officer) discuss a range of racial realities, challenges, and opportunities in corporations and other organizations. Every episode is on a different race-focused topic. Each includes numerous practical recommendations and evidence-based strategies for business leaders, including CEOs and other senior executives. Videos, graphic illustrations, and summary notes from all nine episodes are available at no cost on TIME.com.

View the full series


Shaun Harper is a Forbes contributor for diversity, equity & inclusion.



Hundreds of media outlets have interviewed Professor Harper and highlighted his research.

The New York Times
USA Today
The Atlantic
Bloomberg Television
Diverse Issues in Higher Education
HBO Sports
The Hollywood Reporter
The Huffington Post
Los Angeles Times
NBC News
PBS Newshour
Sports Illustrated
The Wall Street Journal


Shaun is a public intellectual who frequently translates his research and ideas for audiences beyond academia.




in foundation grants over the past decade

Foundations have invested more than $21 million into Professor Harper’s research and DEI initiatives. In addition, the center he founded and leads at USC has generated more than $13 million through its workplace climate assessments, pay equity analyses, and other expertly-developed DEI resources.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Lumina Foundation
Ford Foundation
The Kresge Foundation
The Atlantic Philanthropies
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Alfred P Sloan Foundation Logo
College Futures Foundation
Open Society Foundations
NASPA Foundation


Contact Dr. Harper for speaking, media and press, and consulting inquiries.