Department of Organizational Leadership

Pawley Hall, Room 480B
456 Pioneer Dr.
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2730

Educational Leadership
Pawley Hall, Room 480D
(248) 370-3070
fax: (248) 370-4605

Human Resource Development
Pawley Hall, Room 475E
(248) 370-4109
fax: (248) 370-4095

Jana Nidiffer

Jana Nidiffer is an associate professor and Coordinator of the Post-Masters and PhD cognate in Higher Education. She teaches courses on current, historical, gender-related, and methodological issues higher education. Her primary research interests include access and opportunity in higher education from an historical perspective. She has also written on women’s issues in higher education including leadership, the history of university administration, the declining access of poor students, women’s suffrage and the historiographical challenges of the researching the poor.

Courses Taught

  • Doctoral Seminar on Research
  • Leadership Issues in Higher Education
  • History of American Higher Education
  • American Higher Education
  • Administering Colleges and Universities
  • Gender Issues in Higher Education

Professional Interests

  • History of Higher Education
  • Historiography
  • Gender Issues
  • Social Justice/Transformational Potential of Higher Education
  • Low SES Students and Access

Selected Publications


Nidiffer, Jana and Bashaw, Carolyn, (Eds.). Women Administrators in Higher Education:  Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Albany, NY:  SUNY Press, Frontiers in Higher Education Series, 2001.

Nidiffer, Jana.  Pioneering Deans of Women:  More Than Wise and Pious Matrons.  New York: Teachers College Press, 2000.

Levine, Arthur and Nidiffer, Jana. Beating the Odds:  How the Poor Get to College. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996.

Articles (most cited)
Nidiffer, Jana and Cain, Timothy Reese. (2005). “‘Elder Brothers’ of the University: Early Vice-Presidents in Late Nineteenth Century Universities.” History of Education Quarterly, 44(4), 487-523. SEE PDF

Nidiffer, Jana and Bouman, Jeffrey P. (2004). “‘The University of the Poor’: The University of Michigan’s Transition from Admitting Impoverished Students to Studying Poverty, 1870-1910.” American Educational Research Journal, 41(1), 35-67. SEE PDF

Book Chapters
Nidiffer, Jana. “Historical Research on Low-Income Students in Higher Education,” in Critical Issues in the History of Higher Education. New Foundations for Higher Education Series, Marybeth Gasman and Edward St. John, eds. New York: Routlege, 2010.

Nidiffer, Jana. “An Historical Glimpse of Women Leaders in Higher Education,” in Gender and Women’s Issues in Leadership. SAGE Reference Series On Leadership, Karen O’Connor, ed. New York: SAGE, 2010.

Nidiffer, Jana. “Corrective Lenses: Suffrage, Feminist Post-Structural Analysis, and the History of Higher Education,” in Re/constructing Policy in Higher Education: Perspectives from Feminist Poststructural Policy, Elizabeth Allan, Susan Iverson, and Becky Ropers-Huilman, eds. New York: Routlege, 2010.

I have served on the executive and editorial boards of two major professional associations – the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the History of Education Society – and review numerous manuscripts for journals and book publishers.