UK’s Haupt Awarded National Education Dissertation Fellowship

headshot photo of Bruce Haupt
Bruce Haupt

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2020) — Bruce Haupt, a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky College of Education, was awarded a National Academy of Education (NAEd) Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. Haupt is one of 35 recipients of the 2020 fellowship, selected from a pool of 429 applicants.

He will receive $27,500 for a period of up to two years to complete his dissertation and attend professional development. Haupt lives in Oman and is completing his Ph.D. in educational leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies’ online program in the College of Education.

Haupt said the opportunities provided by the fellowship are invaluable to his experience as an online student. “This will be a tremendous opportunity to become better connected to my future academic community,” he said.

Haupt, who has a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, dropped out of high school as a teen. That experience inspired his path to work in higher education to address educational opportunity and attainment challenges. After completing a GED and an associate’s degree, Haupt earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Florida prior to enrolling at Harvard University. His education led to work at the City of Houston, World Bank and Oman’s Supreme Council for Planning.

“As a high school dropout who later obtained his GED before taking a shot at college, I’ve aspired to a career in higher education almost since the time I became a student again,” Haupt said. “I’d like to be in a role or academic center where I can do interdisciplinary and applied research in partnership with my colleagues and students. Ideally, I’d like to be focused on supporting students with intensive capability building programs, and coaching/mentoring them on rigorous research projects that benefit people and organizations in our community.”

As a Spencer Fellow, Haupt is among scholars considered to be the best in their respective fields in education. He will have access to resources to strengthen his research and research training, including mentorship from National Academy of Education members. 

In his doctoral work, Haupt is examining competency-based education practices at postsecondary institutions. His research focuses on knowledge transfer via inter-organizational relationships, and the role of network organizations in scaling change. The project is supported by the American Institutes for Research with funding from the Lumina Foundation.

“More specifically, I’m using social network analysis to investigate knowledge transfer occurring through inter-organizational relationships, and the role of the network organization in supporting the adoption of new practices,” he said.

Haupt credits Department of Educational Leadership Studies chair John Nash and faculty Beth Rous and Lars Björk, as well as Joe Ferrare, a former assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, for serving as mentors during his time at UK.

“Dr. Nash has been a wonderful co-conspirator on the ideas in my work, as well as a fantastic coach and editor,” he said. “He has my best interests in mind and is a true mentor and friend.”

Haupt also works with the LINKS Center for Social Network Analysis in the Gatton College of Business and Economics and has taken courses in the New Maps Plus program in UK College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Geography to aid in his research. He plans to complete his dissertation next year.

The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the office, housed in the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Student and Academic Life, well in advance of the scholarship deadline. Staff is available for virtual appointments to discuss opportunities for the 2020-2021 academic year and beyond.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.