Xueli Wang

Barbara and Glenn Thompson Professor in Educational Leadership


(608) 263-5451

270-H Education Building

1000 Bascom Mall

Madison, WI 53706-1326

Wang, Xueli

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Dr. Xueli Wang (pronounced similar to “Shoo-lee Wong”) is the Barbara and Glenn Thompson Endowed Professor in Educational Leadership and a professor of higher education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She teaches graduate courses on community colleges, mixed methods research in education, and assessment in higher education. Dr. Wang’s research focuses on community colleges and STEM education, aiming to identify practices, structures, and policies toward transformative change for equitable student outcomes. In collaboration with a number of community and technical colleges, Dr. Wang’s NSF-funded research projects have investigated two-year college students’ learning, transfer pathways, and success, how faculty development translates into teaching practices that subsequently shape students’ experiences and outcomes, as well as how technical and community colleges engage in change and innovation during times of crisis. A notable example of Dr. Wang’s work is her book, “On My Own: The Challenge and Promise of Building Equitable STEM Transfer Pathways” (published in 2020 by Harvard Education Press, https://www.hepg.org/hep-home/books/on-my-own). Grounded in a large-scale longitudinal mixed methods study of 1,670 community college students, the book unravels enduring inequities in transfer, particularly in STEM fields of study, and issues a plan of action toward cultivating equitable transfer pathways. This book received the 2021 Publication of the Year award from the American Educational Research Association’s Postsecondary Education Division. Among her numerous other awards, Dr. Wang was honored with the Transfer Champion-Catalyst Award by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students in 2021, the Barbara Townsend Lecture Award by the Association for the Study of Higher Education in 2020, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education’s Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in 2020.


  • BA English, Beijing International Studies University,
  • MA Applied Linguistics, Beijing International Studies University,
  • PhD Higher Education, The Ohio State University, 2008
  • MA Higher Education and Student Affairs, The Ohio State University, 2007

Select Publications

  • Wang, X., Wickersham, K., Zhu, X., Zheng, P., Wagner, B., & Prevost, A. (2021). Supporting community college students’ mental health during and beyond Covid-19. Teachers College Record. https://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=23768.
  • Wang, X. (2020). On my own: The challenge and promise of building equitable STEM transfer pathways. Harvard Education Press Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Wang, X., Wickersham, K., Lee, S., Lor, N., Gaskew, A., & Prevost, A. (2020). The road to becoming a scientist: A mixed methods investigation of supports and barriers experienced by first-year community college students. Teachers College Record https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/016146812012200208.
  • Wang, X., & Lee, S. (2019). Investigating the psychometric properties of a new survey instrument measuring factors contributing to upward transfer in STEM fields. The Review of Higher Education, 42(2), 339-384. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Wang, X., Lee, Y., & Wickersham, K. (2019). The role of community college attendance in shaping baccalaureate recipients’ access to graduate and professional Education. Educational Researcher Online Publication/Abstract.

Select Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding Publication Award, Postsecondary Division, American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2021
  • Transfer Champion–Catalyst Award, National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, 2021
  • Barbara Townsend lecture, Association for the Study of Higher Education, 2020
  • Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2020
  • Teacher of the Year Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, 2019
  • Visiting Faculty Scholar of Color, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, 2019
  • Teacher of the Year Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, 2017
  • Teacher of the Year Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, 2016
  • Barbara K. Townsend Emerging Scholar Award, Council for the Study of Community Colleges, 2015
  • Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award, Association for Institutional Research, 2015