Kristen Renn will be honored for her body of scholarship by ACPA College Student Educators International at the organization’s national convention this week. Renn will receive the 2015 Contribution to Knowledge Award.
A professor of Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education (HALE), Renn studies student diversity, equity and success. Currently, she is co-principal investigator of the National Study of LGBTQ Student Success, in which she and a team of researchers study personal and environmental factors that contribute to academic, social and personal success for lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and queer youth. Similarly, Renn just completed research on the education of women around the world, focusing especially on women-only universities and other institutions. She recently published a book based on this research.
Renn’s interests in student success also keeps her closer to campus as leader of the Michigan State University Neighborhoods initiative. The program includes on-campus Engagement Centers, where students have access to academic and career advising, learning resources (such as the Math Learning Center and the Writing Center), health clinics, fitness programs and more. Renn currently spends the majority her time with this project, which focuses on increasing the graduation rate, lowering the time to graduation and increasing opportunities to all students, whether they live on or off campus.
“I feel like the environment at the College of Education has supported me in doing good research, teaching and outreach,” Renn said. “Part of why I came to MSU was because of the strength and history of the programs in higher education and student affairs administration. The college is a place that supports people doing their best work.”
Renn was nominated by her peers in the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) for the award, which has been presented annually since 1976. She will be honored alongside Susan Robb Jones from Ohio State University.
The late Louis Stamatakos, MSU professor emeritus, received the same award in 1991.