Darris R. Means, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh

Darris R. Means Headshot

Dr. Darris R. Means is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Dean’s Faculty Scholar in Equity, Justice, and Rural Education in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the School of Education faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, he was an Associate Professor of College Student Affairs Administration at the University of Georgia. Prior to becoming a faculty member, Darris served on a program team to create and implement a year-round, college access and success program, Elon University’s Elon Academy, for high school and college students with a financial need and/or no family history of college. Darris served as the Assistant Director and then Associate Director for the Elon Academy, working with students and their families on pathways to and through postsecondary education.

Darris researches how economic, educational, and social conditions shape pathways to and through postsecondary education for first-generation college students, rural students, Black students, and/or students from low-income backgrounds. Darris’ research and scholarship have been published in several journals, including Journal of College Student Development, The Review of Higher Education, Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Darris earned his Ph.D. in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with a concentration in Higher Education from North Carolina State University, a M.Ed. in Counseling Education with a concentration in Student Affairs from Clemson University, and a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from Elon University.

Speaker Travels From


Darris is available for in-person and virtual engagements! Contact us today.

Speaker Topics

Improving Campus Culture for First-Generation College Students

This presentation focuses on how colleges and universities can take institutional-wide approaches to improve campus culture for first-generation college students.

Enhancing Advising and Mentoring for First-Generation College Students

Drawing on the presenter’s research, this presentation focuses on how to enhance advising and mentoring for first-generation college students.

Improving College Access for First-Generation College Students

Drawing on the presenter’s previous experience as a college access program administrator, this presentation focuses on enhancing access for first-generation students.

Books, News, & Media

Published Books

Select Published Articles

  • Means, D. R., & Pyne, K. B. (2017). Finding my way: Perceptions of institutional support and belonging in low-income, first-generation, first-year college students.Journal of College Student Development, 58(6), 907-924. Retrieved from https://muse.jhu.edu/article/670090.
  • Pyne, K. B., & Means, D. R. (2013). Underrepresented and in/visible: A Hispanic first- generation student’s narratives of college. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 6(3), 186-198. Retrieved from https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2013-29991-001.


More About The Speaker

View Darris R. Means' curriculum vitae here.

Interested in having Darris R. Means, Ph.D. as a speaker at your next event, symposium or conference?

Request This Speaker

Return to Main