The Barbara A. Holland Scholar-Administrator Award honors a bold, mid-career scholar-administrator whose leadership and intellectual voice illuminates the transformative power of urban and metropolitan higher education. Holland Scholars are respected, strategic leaders across their institution who are known for contributing to cutting-edge research related to their administrative role. Their scholarship may focus on, but is not limited to, topics such as diversity/equity, campus culture, faculty development, student health and well-being, curricular innovation, research productivity, planning and assessment, student retention and progress, and community engagement. Holland Scholars approach leadership by drawing on literature and research to ignite the potential of their institution to be successful in its mission and goals. They are inquisitive, inclusive and collaborative, and they are driven to ask and answer scholarly questions critical to their field and professional role as evidenced by a record of their own scholarship. They put their scholarship to good use in addressing urgent issues in urban/metropolitan environments. Their work inspires others to do the same.


  • Call opens: April 4
  • Call closes: June 17
  • Awardee notified: early August
  • Awardee announcement: October 22
  • CUMU Annual Conference: October 20–23

Barbara A. Holland Scholar-Administrator Award Recipients

Holland Scholar Recognition and Candidacy

The Barbara A. Holland Scholar-Administrator Award is recognized at the CUMU Annual Conference. The awardee is expected to submit a paper for consideration for publication in the conference issue of Metropolitan Universities journal. Awardees are provided free registration to the CUMU Annual Conference and an award of $2,000. Awardees may also be invited to participate in other CUMU-sponsored activities.

About Barbara A. Holland

Barbara A. Holland, Ph.D., is recognized internationally for her scholarship and expertise on organizational change in higher education with a special focus on the strategic impacts of community engagement as a method of teaching, learning, and research. She has served in senior academic administrative roles at several universities in the United States and Australia, held a visiting scholar role in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development headquarters, and was executive director of the federally funded National Service-Learning Clearinghouse.

Dr. Holland was the editor of Metropolitan Universities (1998–2016), the journal of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, and served as a founding member of the national advisory panel for the Carnegie Foundation community engagement classification program. For these reasons and her many research publications and impacts on the field of engagement, including the “Holland Matrix,” Dr. Holland was awarded the Research Achievement Award from the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (2006).

In 2018, CUMU established the Barbara A. Holland Scholar-Administrator Award to honor those who, like her, integrate a record of administrative leadership and high-impact scholarship that shapes ideas and actions within and beyond their campus.

Dr. Holland earned her Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Arts in Journalism at University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. in higher education policy at University of Maryland. In 2017, University of Nebraska Omaha awarded Barbara an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.


CUMU Executive Director Valerie Holton interviews Barbara A. Holland about her work with CUMU and Metropolitan Universities journal since she became part of the organization in 1990.


Dr. Holland was honored at the 2023 CUMU Annual Conference for her continued support of CUMU and as a leader in the field championing our urban and metropolitan campuses.