Ronald G. Ehrenberg

Prof. Ronald G Ehrenberg at his office in Cornell University’s ILR School
Taken on October 6, 2014

Ronald G. Ehrenberg an American Economist. Ehrenberg is the founding editor of Research in Labor Economics which began in 1977. He is currently the Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economic at the Cornell university.  Ehrenberg has received many outstanding awards and has strived in many different leadership positions.  He has written books to make notice about the rising of tuition and who oversees higher education. Ehrenberg has and is still accomplishing great things in life.

Alongside being a great professor at Cornell University, he also is very active in leadership. Ehrenberg served as Cornell’s vice president for academic programs, planning and Budgeting from the year 1995-1998. From the year 2006-2010, Ehrenberg served as an elected member of Cornell board of trustees. Ehrenberg is the director of Cornell Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI). CHERI was established to provide medium for related research in higher education. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research.

Ehrenberg has co-authored, authored or edited many books that deals with issues in higher education. In the year 2000, his book titled Tuition Rising was published.  Ehrenberg talks about the rising of college cost based on his experience from being the vice president at Cornell. This book does not cover a wide range of colleges because Cornell is an elite/ private institute.  He suggests that for elite colleges to remain the top higher education, it is important to increase their expenditures. According to one article “He also stresses the importance of either the university having strong central academic leadership or the central administration having sufficient resources” (Soares).

Ehrenberg continues to thrive during his career. In 2003, the General Mills foundation award for Exemplary Undergraduate teaching was awarded to him by ILR-Cornell. He was also named the highest award for undergraduate teaching that is available at Cornell, Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow. Ehrenberg truly deserves this award, according to his students he is a passionate and dedicated professor. According to one article Ehrenberg is very passionate about undergraduate education and involves undergraduate students in his research.

 Four years later after the publishing of Tuition Rising, “Governing Academia: Who is in Charge at Modern University?” was published. Ehrenberg was a co-author and he also the editor of this book. He wrote the introduction and the conclusion. He started the introduction stating the tuition for undergraduate students have been increasing more than public and private colleges/universities. He continues to talk about who is responsible for these colleges. According to Ehrenberg, “Faculty member play a key role in the governance of academic” (Ehrenberg). He continues to say they create new knowledge and are key participants in educational process along with students. Ehrenberg came to the realization that this divided governance between leaders (trustees, administrators and faculty member) in higher education leads to no one really overseeing academic institutions. In the conclusion he talks about the effect decentralizing may have on students in higher education. One effect as suggested is “At a level of a state system, decentralization of control may lead to wasteful overlap between campuses” (Ehrenberg). His final thoughts of his introduction introduce the growth of for-profit colleges. Ehrenberg says that this growth is putting a pressure on non-profit and public institution which may be an effect on how they are govern. Throughout this book Ehrenberg and his co-authors tries to open the eyes of his readers to see what is happening in colleges. Governing Academia can be useful for both students attending colleges/universities and individuals in charge of decision makings at these institutions.

Ehrenberg is also interested in the rising of humanities programs in colleges. In the year 2009, Educating scholar: Doctoral Education in Humanities was published. This book is used to show the importance of humanities field in higher education. The growth in the humanities field has not been the same as others. Ehrenberg and the other co-authors speaks about the devaluation of humanities(as a filed in higher education) and offers solution as to why this field is important. 

In 2011, Ehrenberg did an interview which he shared his views on what to expect from higher education in years to come. He says that colleges are finally evaluating their course structures and are finding ways to save money both for administration and for students. Ehrenberg predicts that in years to come the traditional classroom will be over turned by technology especially for media classes. The transformation in the United States where the social values are no longer important compared to private values may be a problem according to Ehrenberg. “Restoring the strength of our public higher education system and devoting more resources to them” (Ehrenberg). Ehrenberg suggest this could be a solution to help the future of higher education.

A true scholar and a devoted researcher, Ronald G. Ehrenberg. Ehrenberg has accomplished so much, and he continues to work towards the betterment of higher education. He was named the receipt of SUNY (State University Of New York) Chancellor’s Award of Excellence in Faculty service in 2018. Ehrenberg has performed many researches and has written many books which are now guides for upcoming generation. He has worked as consultant on many boards and trustee for many colleges and universities. Ehrenberg has been writing about the rising of tuition in higher education and according to his interview colleges are working towards controlling the tuition rising.


Ehrenberg’s interview and lectures 

The state and future of higher education  

A Master Class Lecture with Professor Ron Ehrenberg 

Ehrenberg’s LinkedIn Profile 

Ronald Ehrenberg 


Joseph A. Soares. “Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much. By Ronald G. Ehrenberg. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000. Pp. X+322. $18.95 (Paper).” American Journal of Sociology, no. 3, 2003, p. 780. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1086/382001.


 Ehrenberg, Ronald G. Governing Academia: Who Is in Charge at the Modern University? Cornell University Press, 2016. EBSCOhost,


Ehrenberg, Ronald G. Educating Scholars: Doctoral Education in the Humanities. Princeton University Press, 2010. EBSCOhost,


“What’s Ahead.” YouTube, uploaded by Cornell ILR, 16 Nov 2011.

Cornell University. “Ronald G. Ehrenberg Cornell University”. Accessed on 29 November 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *