Pareena Lawrence

AAC&U Senior Fellow, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success, AAC&U

Dr. Pareena Lawrence brings 20 plus years of exemplary teaching, scholarship, service and leadership experience to higher education. Previously, Dr. Lawrence served as the President of Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia and as the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. Dr. Lawrence received her M.A. in economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University. She started her academic career at the University of Minnesota Morris, a public liberal arts college, and served at the institution as a tenured faculty member and an academic administrator for 17 years. Dr. Lawrence’s accomplishments as a teacher, mentor, scholar, and academic leader have prompted the conferral of a number of awards throughout her career, including several teaching awards, a distinguished Alumni award, and the César Chavez Award, among others.

Dr. Lawrence is committed to student success and ensuring that colleges and universities provide access and equity in opportunities to all students and foster a living and learning environment that is inclusive and challenges students to grow and thrive both intellectually and personally so that all students can reach their potential.

Dr. Lawrence is currently a visiting fellow at Yale University in New Haven, CT, completing her research on "women as policymakers in grassroots development." Her current work is examining the question, Can Gender-based public policy be effective in Patriarchal societies?

One of Dr. Lawrence’s signature accomplishments at Augustana College was the creation of CORE (Careers Opportunities Research Exploration) to ensure access to experiential learning opportunities, advising support, and professional development support and programming for all students starting with first-year summer registration and serving students long after they graduate. CORE offers student-centered learning experiences that help students discover their purpose and connect them to their career aspirations. Under her leadership, Augustana moved away from a transactional model of career advising to an educational model of professional development and life design. The innovative Viking score and co-curricular transcripts that were introduced helped keep track of student progress over their four years. The college also relaunched its advising and retention programs, developed a new First-Year Experience, created the AugieFirst program for first-generation college students, redoubled its effort in providing students with an integrated learning experience organized around its student learning outcomes that created active collaboration between Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Athletics, and other offices and departments. She plans to continue her work on bringing transformational change to higher education as it relates to Student Success and Equity as an AAC&U Senior Fellow.

Dr. Lawrence is a quantitative development economist by training and her disciplinary research explores the intersections of gender, families, the economy and politics, particularly issues of household decision-making, dowry, and political participation. More recently her research and writing have focused on higher education issues. She has authored or co-authored a book, a number of book chapters, articles, and reports.