Dr. Alexander W. Astin (born May 30, 1932, Washington, D.C.) is the Allan M. Carter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Organizational Change, at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He is Founding Director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. He has served as Director of Research for both the American Council on Education and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. He is also the Founding Director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, an ongoing national study of some fifteen million students, 300,000 faculty and staff, and 1,800 higher education institutions.
Dr. Astin has been director of research for both the American Council on Education (1965-1973) and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (1960-1965). He has authored 22 books and more than 300 other publications in the field of higher education, and has been a recipient of awards for outstanding research from more than a dozen national associations and professional societies. He has also been elected to membership in the National Academy of Education, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and a recipient of eleven honorary degrees. A 1990 study in the Journal of Higher Education identified Dr. Astin as the most frequently-cited author in the field of higher education. A 2010 study in the same journal also identified him as the author most cited by others in the field of higher education. In 1985 readers of Change magazine selected Dr. Astin as the person "most admired for creative, insightful thinking" in the field of higher education. His latest book (with a. l. antonio) is Assessment for Excellence: The Philosophy and Practice of Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education (Second Edition) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).
Personal life and hobbies
Astin was born in Washington, D.C. to the late Margaret Linnie Mackenzie and Dr. Allen Varley Astin, a physicist and the fifth director of the National Bureau of Standards now the National Institute of Standards & Technology. His older brother is actor John Astin (Visiting Professor and Director, Theatre Arts and Studies at Johns Hopkins University and Gomez on The Addams Family).
He married Helen Stavridou on February 11, 1956. They have been colleagues at UCLA since 1973 and have collaborated on many research projects. They are currently retired, but have recently authored a significant study on spirituality in higher education, which became available in book form in 2011.Cultivating the Spirit: How College Can Enhance Students' Inner Lives<(Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2011)> The Astins have two sons, John Alexander (Doctor of Psychology) and Paul Allen (Doctor of Education), and three granddaughters, Erin, Amalia and Ila.