Skip to main content

Joy Gaston Gayles

Head, Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development and Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor


2022 President, Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE)

Program Coordinator, Higher Education Opportunity, Equity, and Justice (HEOEJ) Doctoral Degree Concentration

Poe Hall 300D

View CV 


Dr. Joy Gaston Gayles is the Head of the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development and an Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor of Higher Education in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. Dr. Gayles is internationally recognized for her research and scholarship on women and people of color in STEM fields and her work in the area of intercollegiate athletics in higher education. Issues of equity, inclusion, and justice undergird the collective body of her work. 

Dr. Gayles is one of the primary thought leaders in her field of study and was recently named as one of 25 innovative women leading higher education in DIVERSE: Issues in Higher Education magazine. She is currently serving as President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), the primary professional association for studying post-secondary education issues.

Dr. Gayles is nationally known for her work in partnership with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), the largest faculty development center in the United States. In addition, she serves as a faculty success coach and campus workshop facilitator. 

Over the course of her career, she has won numerous awards for her scholarly contributions and for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. In 2020 she received the Chancellor’s Creating Community Award for Outstanding Faculty at NC State and was named University Faculty Scholar in 2018, two of the highest faculty awards at NC State University. She also received the Zenobia L. Hikes Woman of Color in the Academy Award for advancing the development of young women of color in their pursuit of excellence. She is a community builder at heart and values engaging in work that makes a real difference in the lives of others.


Selected Scholarly Publications

  • Gray, A. M., & Gayles, J. G. (2022). Doing the right something: A grounded theory approach to understanding advocacy and allyship among college Students. Journal of College Student Development. 63(2), 151-167.
  • Pasque, P. A., Patton, L. D., Gayles, J. G., Gooden, M. A., Henfield, M. S., Milner IV, H. R., Peters, A., & Stewart, D-L. (2022). Unapologetic Educational Research: Addressing Anti-Blackness, Racism and White Supremacy. Cultural Studies-Critical Methodologies. 21(1). 3-17. DOI: 10.1177/15327086211060451.
  • Worsham, R. E., Clayton, A. B., & Gayles, J. G. (2021). Exploring rural engineering students’ college-choice process at two land-grant universities. The Rural Educator, 42(3), 28-44.
  • Ofoegbu, E., Gayles, J. G., & Weight, E. A. (2021). More than an athlete”: How Black student-athletes use navigational capital to successfully transition to life after sport. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 1-22.
  • Gayles, J. G. (Ed.). (2018). Critical issues for student athletes: Going behind the invisible wall. New Directions for Student Services, 2018(163). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Gayles, J. G., Crandall, B. E., & Morin, S. (2018). Student-Athletes’ sense of belonging: Background characteristics, student involvement, and campus climate. International Journal of Sport & Society, 9(1), 23-28.
  • Smith, K., & Gayles, J. G. (2018). Girl power: Gendered academic and workplace experiences of college women in engineering. Social Sciences, 7(11), 1-23.
  • Smith, K. N., & Gayles, J. G. (2017). “Setting up for the next big thing”: Undergraduate women Engineering students’ post-baccalaureate career decision. Journal of College Student Development, 58(8),1201-1217.
  • Kelly, B. T., Gayles, J. G., & Williams, C. (2017). Recruitment without retention: A critical case of Black faculty unrest. Journal of Negro Education, 86(3), 305-317.
  • Gayles, J. G., & Ampaw, F. (2016). To stay or leave: Factors that impact undergraduate women’s persistence in science majors. NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education, 9(2), 133-151.
  • Gayles, J. G., Kelly, B. T., Grays, S., Zhang, J., Porter, K. (2015). Faculty teaching diversity through difficult dialogues: Stories of challenge and success. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 52(3), 300-312.
  • Gayles, J. G. & Ampaw, F. (2014). The impact of college experiences on degree completion in STEM fields at four-year institutions: Does gender matter? Journal of Higher Education, 84(5), 439-468.
  • Gayles, J. G., Bryant, A. N., & Davis, H. (2012). Civic responsibility and the student athlete: Validating a new conceptual model. Journal of Higher Education, 83(4), 535-557.
  • Bryant, A. N., Gayles, J. G., & Davis, H. (2012). The relationship between civic behavior and civic values: A conceptual model. Research in Higher Education, 53(1), 76-93.
  • Gayles, J. G. (Ed.). (2011). Attracting and Retaining Women in STEM. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2011(152). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Kelly, B. T., & Gayles, J. G. (2011).Resistance to racial/ethnic dialogue in graduate preparation programs: Implications for multicultural competence. College Student Affairs Journal, 29(1), 77-87.
  • Scheuch, K., Hu, S., & Gayles, J. G. (2009). The influences of faculty on undergraduate student participation in research and creative activities. Innovative Higher Education, 34, 173-183.
  • Gayles, J. G., & Hu, S. H. (2009). The influence of student engagement and sport participation on college outcomes among Division I student athletes. Journal of Higher Education, 80(3),315-333.
  • Eddy, P. L., & Gayles, J. G. (2008). New faculty on the block: Issues of stress and support. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 17(1/2), 89-106.
  • Hu, S., Scheuch, K., Schwartz, R., Gayles, J. G., & Li, S. (2008). Reinventing undergraduate education: Engaging college students in research and creative activities.San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Doctor of Philosophy Educational Administration and Higher Education The Ohio State University 2002

Master of Science Higher Education Administration Auburn University 1998

Bachelor of Science Adapted Physical Education and Kinesiotherapy Shaw University 1996

Area(s) of Expertise

Dr. Gayles’ research focuses on how college impacts student learning and personal development, primarily student-athletes and women and underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These populations face unique challenges to persistence and degree attainment. Dr. Gayles’ research is dedicated to better understanding factors that enhance access and student success for these populations and for all college students. Through her scholarly contributions, Dr. Gayles’ has established a national reputation as an expert on intercollegiate athletics and women and underrepresented students in STEM. She has edited book volumes on these topics and has been quoted in both television and newspaper media. Her work has been published in some of the top journals in higher education including The Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, The Journal of College Student Development, and The Journal of Negro Education.