Tim Cain joined the faculty of the McBee Institute in 2013. Prior to that he was a faculty member at the University of Illinois and coordinated its higher education program. He earned his A.B. from Duke University, his M.A. from The Ohio State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Much of Professor Cain’s research involves historic and modern issues involving academic freedom, student activism, and unionization in higher education. Recent work has focused on the changes in students' political engagement in the 1970s, including lawsuits undertaken to protect sexually minoritized students' rights and battles over student voting rights. A distinct line of scholarship has explored teaching, learning, and student outcomes assessment.
Professor Cain's work has appeared in leading outlets across education and multiple subfields of history, including AERA Open, Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, the History of Education Quarterly, Labor: Studies in Working Class History, Labor History, the Review of Higher Education, and Teachers College Record. He is also the author of Establishing Academic Freedom (Palgrave, 2012), Campus Unions: Organized Faculty and Graduate Students in U.S. Higher Education (ASHE Higher Education Report Series, Jossey-Bass, 2017), and, with colleagues from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education (Jossey-Bass, 2015).
Professor Cain is an associate editor of the Review of Higher Education and formerly served in the same role for the History of Education Quarterly. He is on the Council of Scholars of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Higher Education, the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, and Perspectives on the History of Higher Education. He is a past member of the advisory board of the ASHE Higher Education Monograph Series and of the editorial boards of the Review of Educational Research and the Review of Higher Education.
He was a UGA Special Collections Libraries Faculty Teaching Fellow in 2017–18, received an Outstanding Reviewer Award from AERA in 2018, and, with Michael S. Hevel, won the AERA Queer SIG Best Article Award in 2023.
- Ph.D., Education, University of Michigan
- M.A., Higher Education and Student Affairs, The Ohio State University
- A.B., History, Duke University
Tim Cain’s research includes examinations of both modern and historic issues involving college students, faculty, and academic administrators. He has published works on academic freedom and tenure, graduate student and faculty unionization, student activism, the rise of academic administration, learning outcomes assessment, and teaching and learning. Current projects include considerations of the history of faculty unionization and academic freedom in the the 21st century.
Timothy Reese Cain (PI), An Organizing Professoriate: Post-War Unionization in American Higher Education, Spencer Foundation, 2012-2013.
Brian Deal (PI), Nancy Ablemann (Co-PI), Gina Hunter (Co-PI), and Timothy Cain (Co-PI), Sustainable Campus Buildings and Grounds: Creating a Research and Teaching Program through Ethnography of the University, Provost Initiative on Teaching Advancement, UIUC, 2010-2011.
Nancy Abelmann, Rakesh Bhatt, Nick Burbules, Timothy Cain, and others, The Internationalization of U of I Undergraduates: Conceptualizing a Transforming University, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities Collaborative Research Projects Initiative, 2010-2011.
Timothy Reese Cain (PI), “The Second Wave of Faculty Unionization: College Faculty and the American Federation of Teachers, 1928–1941,” Bureau of Educational Research, UIUC, 2009-2010.
Hevel, Michael S., and Timothy Reese Cain. “'We Didn’t Think it Would be Well Received': The Gay Alliance of Students’ legal victory over Virginia Commonwealth University, 1974–1976." Historia y Memoria de la Educación, 18 (2023): 41–75. https://revistas.uned.es/index.php/HMe/article/view/35774/27831
Hevel, Michael S., and Timothy Reese Cain. "The Queer Student Affairs Career of Stephen M. Lenton, 1970–1980." Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education 15, no. 3 (2022): 261–278. https://doi.org/10.1080/26379112.2022.2102031
Cain, Timothy Reese, and Erin A. Leach. "Removing Faculty: Patterns and Processes of Retrenchment and Restructuring." AERA Open 7, no. 1 (2021): 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1177/23328584211058472
Cain, Timothy Reese, and Michael S. Hevel. "'Gay People Pay Activity Fees Too': The Committee on Gay Education's Pioneering Legal Victories at the University of Georgia." Review of Higher Education 45, no. 1 (2021): 61–91. https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2021.0014
Cain, Timothy Reese, and Rachael Dier. "Protests and Pushback: Women’s Rights, Student Activism, and Institutional Response in the Deep South.” History of Education Quarterly 60, no. 4 (2020): 546–580. https://doi.org/10.1017/heq.2020.56
Cain, Timothy Reese. "Collective Bargaining and Committee A: Five Decades of Unionism and Academic Freedom." Review of Higher Education 44, no. 1 (2020): 57–58–85. https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2020.0035
Cain, Timothy Reese, and Philip Wilkinson. "Influence Without Bargaining: Unionization at the University of Wisconsin, 1930–1957." Labor: Studies in Working-Class History 16, no. 2 (2019): 99–122. https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-7323758
Cain, Timothy Reese. "‘Friendly Public Sentiment’ and the Threats to Academic Freedom.” History of Education Quarterly 58, no. 3 (2018): 428–435. https://doi.org/10.1017/heq.2018.19
Cain, Timothy Reese. "Student Activists and Organized Labor.” In Rethinking Campus Life: New Perspectives on the History of College Students in the United States, edited by Christine A. Ogren and Marc A. VanOverbeke, 165–190. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
Cain, Timothy Reese. Campus Unions: Organized Faculty and Graduate Students in US Higher Education. ASHE Higher Education Report Series, Vol. 43, No. 3. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2017.
Kuh, George D., Stanley O. Ikenberry, Natasha A. Jankowski, Timothy Reese Cain, Peter Ewell, Pat Hutchings, and Jillian Kinzie. Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2015.
Cain, Timothy Reese. Establishing Academic Freedom: Politics, Principles, and the Development of Core Values. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.