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About Neal H. Hutchens

Prior to coming to Penn State, Dr. Hutchens served as a faculty member at the University of Kentucky in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. He earned a Ph.D. in education policy with a specialization in higher education from the University of Maryland. While in graduate school, he served as a legislative fellow on the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. He earned his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law, where he graduated summa cum laude and was a member of the Order of the Coif and of the Alabama Law Review.

Dr. Hutchens was the 2015 recipient of the William A. Kaplin Award from the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law. He serves on the Litigation Committee for the American Association of University Professors. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Education Law Association.

Dr. Hutchens’ research centers on law and policy issues in higher education. A key strand of his scholarship focuses on increasing strains on faculty independence and autonomy, including in relation to academic freedom concerns. An important extension of his research in this area relates to challenges confronting non-tenure-track faculty. Dr. Hutchens has also examined legal questions dealing with college students’ speech and religious rights. A key area of his research in the student speech realm has dealt with legal debate and uncertainty over application of First Amendment standards to student online speech, in both curricular and co-curricular contexts.

Dr. Hutchens scholarship has appeared in publications that include the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Journal of College and University Law, Counselor Education and Supervision, Kentucky Law Journal, West's Education Law Reporter, Journal of Law and Education, and Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice. He is on the editorial board for The Review of Higher Education and for Education Law & Policy Review and is a member of the authors' committee for West's Education Law Reporter.  Dr. Hutchens is also a member of the author team—along with William A. Kaplin, Barbara A. Lee, and Jacob H. Rooksby—for the upcoming sixth edition of The Law of Higher Education, the leading higher education legal treatise.

Along with several other faculty members specializing in higher education legal issues, Dr. Hutchens is a regular contributor to


Present Associate Professor of Education (Higher Education) and Senior Research Associate, Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Academic freedom, Student speech, and Education law and policy

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Contact Information

405B Rackley Bldg
University Park, PA16802


Articles (13)

Contributions to Books (2)

White Papers (1)

Book Reviews (2)