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When Forbes magazine announced its editor’s pick for the best higher education books of 2023, author and University of Kentucky College of Education professor emeritus John Thelin, Ph.D., made the list for the third time since 2019. 

Thelin’s American Higher Education: Issues and Institutions (2nd) edition was noted in Forbes for its “sweeping coverage of campus history and issues for which Thelin is so highly regarded.” In 2019, he was recognized by Forbes for the third edition of A History of American Higher Education, which has become the standard work in the field. Forbes also named the second edition of Essential Documents in the History of Higher Education one of the best of 2021. 

Among Thelin’s several books is another recent title that received accolades, Going to College in the Sixties (2018). 

Thelin began teaching at UK in 1996 and was named a University Research Professor in 2001, along with numerous awards for teaching excellence, including the William B. Sturgill Award for outstanding contributions to graduate education and the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. He retired in 2022 after 43 years in higher education — 26 of those spent at UK as a faculty member in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. His scholarly achievements, as well as his notoriety for using his academic scholarship to provide commentary in popular press on issues of broad and current interest, were noted when he received the UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement in May. 

Since retiring, he continues to write books and journal articles, as well as op-eds for the Washington Post and Inside Higher Ed.