Meet Christopher Travers: I Want to Increase Access and Success in Higher Education For All Students

“Much of my interest in higher education and my research agenda is born out of my own life experiences. I am keenly aware of the barriers to education for racially/ethnically minoritized students in the United States.”

This is part of a series of profiles of faculty who joined the NC State College of Education in 2018-19.

Christopher Travers

Title: Teaching Assistant Professor of Higher Education
Department: Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development
Education: Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs, The Ohio State University; M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Towson University; B.S. in Psychology,  Frostburg State University
Experience: Professor, Upward Bound Program, Columbus State Community College; Graduate Administrative Associate, Student Life Multicultural Center, African American Heritage Festival Advisor, The Ohio State University; Graduate Research Associate, Why We Persist: An Intersectional Approach to Characterizing and Examining the Experiences of Women of Color Tenure Track Faculty in Engineering, The Ohio State University; Research Affiliate, Center for Higher Education Enterprise, The Ohio State University

Why I Chose the NC State College of Education: I wanted a role that would allow me to teach and mentor graduate students in higher education in addition to doing some advising, programming, and recruiting. In my role as Teaching Assistant Professor of Higher Education, I not only get the opportunity to teach courses, but I also get to coordinate programming, admissions, and the overall direction of the higher education master’s program. Additionally, all of the Higher Education faculty and my department chair, Dr. Penny Pasque, were so amazing throughout my interview process that it made me excited about working with them as colleagues!

Why I Pursued a Ph.D.: As a Black man in America, my parents raised me to value education. It is not lost on me that just a few generations ago, my people were denied educational opportunities throughout the United States and so, I consider it a privilege to be blessed and positioned in such a way to have earned my Ph.D. at a predominantly White institution such as The Ohio State University. Also, as an alumnus of the McNair Scholars Program at the University of Maryland- College Park, it was always an expectation that I would pursue and earn my doctorate. Beyond those reasons, I simply want younger generations of Black boys and girls to look at me and realize, that they too, can go as far as they want in their education!

My Research Interests Include: My research focuses on factors affecting the educational experiences of racially/ethnically minoritized students, with a specific focus on Black college men. In particular, my research explores various contributors (e.g., individual, psychological, academic, environmental, institutional) to student success outcomes.

How I Became Interested: Much of my interest in higher education and my research agenda is born out of my own life experiences. I am keenly aware of the barriers to education for racially/ethnically minoritized students in the United States, and I also watched several of my peers struggle to complete college. Thus, I remain unapologetically passionate about and committed to producing scholarship and engaging in community work to increase access and success in higher education for all students. Higher education has been a gateway to so many opportunities in my life, and I want to help those who are interested, have similar experiences.

What I Hope My Students See in Me: I hope they see someone who is committed to their success and who cares about them as people first. I hope they see me as a resource and someone who is here to be a part of their support system. Most importantly, I hope they see someone who is authentic and that it inspires them to show up in and out of the classroom as their true authentic selves.