Assistant Professor, Coordinator, CSSA

Waldo Hall

Waldo Hall 226

2250 SW Jefferson Way

2250 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331

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Kirsten Hextrum is an Assistant Professor in the School of Language, Culture, and Society, and the Coordinator of the College Student Services Administration (CSSA) Program. Her research, teaching, and service are unified through her rigorous and persistent intersectional racial justice efforts. As a cultural studies scholar, she employs critical theories to examine the production and transmission of privilege across three interrelated terrains that restrict college-going opportunities for BIPOC and lower-income communities: (1) organization and administration of higher education, 2) the state and legal issues and 3) emergent parent and student cultures. She takes a relational approach to studying privilege by always considering how the (re)making of dominance mediates educational access and inclusion for historically marginalized groups. Leading journals across diverse disciplines including Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Higher Education and Gender & Women’s Studies have published Dr. Hextrum’s work, including Harvard Education Review, Teachers College Record, Gender & Education, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, and International Review for the Sociology of Sport.

Dr. Hextrum’s recent book, Special Admission, (2022 outstanding book award, honorable mention, by the Society of Professors of Education) contradicts the belief that college sports provide an avenue for upward mobility. Her book’s findings identify the complex ways individual and familial sport preferences, interactions in school and sport settings, hierarchical models of athletic advancement and competition, and geographic and community resources converge into predictable patterns to preference white middle-class students in athletic recruitment. The book charts the dynamic and historic relationships between the state, elite groups, private entities, schools, and sports that undergird college athletic access. These relationships allow white, middle-class athletes to accelerate their racial and economic advantages through preferential admission to elite universities. Her research has been supported by competitive granting agencies, including the Spencer Foundation ($50,000) and recognized by awards from institutional (recipient of the University of Oklahoma’s Presidential Professorship) and national associations (American Educational Research Association SIG 164 Emerging Scholar Award).

Dr. Hextrum disseminates her research beyond academic venues and has joined or founded various service initiatives to improve the educational conditions of historically underrepresented student groups. For instance, her research into athletic admission has been featured in over 40 international news outlets including The Atlantic, The Guardian, CNN, and National Public Radio, among others, in a legal brief for the seminal case NCAA v. O’Bannon, and in practitioner recommendations to create more equitable athletic departments. Racial justice curriculums by professional organizations such as the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, American Volleyball Coaches Association, and USRowing use her research. In June 2022, she hosted a training for US Office of Civil Rights Title IX and Title VI enforcement divisions.

Prior to joining the faculty at Oregon State, Dr. Hextrum was an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies and the Edith Kinney Gaylord Endowed Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma (2017-2022). She received her PhD in Social & Cultural Studies of Education at the University of California Berkeley (2017). She also spent seven years working in academic support for college athletes and competing as a DI rower—two experiences which continue to inform her research, service, and activism efforts.


Affiliated with: 
Sch Lang, Culture & Soc
OSU Main Campus
Beyond OSU
Personal Interests: 

Selected Publications


Hextrum, K. (2021). Special Admission: How college sports recruitment favors white suburban athletes. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.


Hextrum, K. & Haslerig, S. (2024). A case of interest divergence: An athletic department’s anti-racist book club. Journal of Higher Education Athletics and Innovation, 2(2), 146-162.

Sethi, S. K.  & Hextrum, K. (2024). An examination of the assimilative and anti-immigrant policies, practices, and cultures that harm international college athletes. Journal of Higher Education Athletics and Innovation, 2(2), 121-145.

Haslerig, S. & Hextrum, K. (2024). Interventions in support of anti-racist praxis in athletics. Journal of Higher Education Athletics and Innovation, 2(2), 98-120.

Hextrum, K. & Haslerig, S. (2024). Introduction to special issue, college sport (in)equity: Working within and beyond the law to achieve intersectional racial justice praxis. Journal of Higher Education Athletics and Innovation, 2(2), 1-8.

Hextrum, K., Knoester, C., & Thompsett, J. (2024). Inequalities in Girls High School Sports Participation: How Social Class, Race/ethnicity, and Gender Route Opportunities to Play and Persist in Athletics. Sociological Focus, 57(2), 63-93. Doi: 10.1080/00380237.2024.2317480

Hextrum, K. (2024). College Overmatch: Privilege and the Rules of the Athletic Admissions Game. Sociological Spectrum, 44(1), 60-83. Doi: 10.1080/02732173.2023.2282571

Hextrum, K. and Kim, J.  (2023). The Upward Mobility Potential in U.S. Intercollegiate Athletics: A Critical Examination of NCAA Division I College Baseball Players’ Hometown Demographics. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 16(3), 303-323. doi: 10.17161/jis.v16i3.18502

Hextrum, K. (2022). Ideology of athletic merit: Transmission of privilege in college athlete admissions. Sociological Perspectives. doi: 10.1177/07311214221134807

Hextrum, K., Suresh, M. S., & Wagnon, J.D. (2022). Honoring TribalCrit in Higher Education: Survival and Sovereignty in the Wake of Anti-CRT Bills. Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education, 4(3), 29-48.

doi: 10.3726/ptihe.032022.0003

Sethi, S., Lever, K., & Hextrum, K. (2022). US Citizenship Supremacy: How immigration laws and NCAA policies exclude International College Athletes from monetizing their Name, Image, and Likeness. Sports Innovation Journal, SI(1): 81-94. doi: 10.18060/25590

Hextrum, K., & Sethi, S.1 (2022). Title IX at 50: Legitimating state domination of women’s sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 57(5) 655–672.

Hextrum, K., and Cameron, Z1. (2022). (In)equity in athletics: U.S. antidiscrimination law and the white, middle-class advantage. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education. 1-26.

Hextrum, K. (2022). White Property Interests in College Athletic Admissions. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 46(4), 383-403. doi: 10.1177/01937235211015352

Hextrum, K. (2021). Socializing sport and socially constructing race: How academic exclusion and athletic inclusion draw Black youth to sport. Journal of Contemporary Athletics, 14(4), 281-305

Hextrum, K. (2021). Producing athletes and centering whiteness: Exploring the collegiate athletic cultures that normalize racism. Journal of College and Character, 22(2), 114-133 doi: 10.1080/2194587X.2021.1898982

Hextrum, K., Becker, M., & Stinnett, J. (2021). Masculinist state protection: Safety concerns produce gender disparities in university housing. Gender Issues, 38(4), 461-482 doi: 10.1007/s12147-020-09272-1

Hextrum, K. (2020). Individualizing conflict: How ideology masks college athletes’ educational compromises. Studies in Higher Education. 45(4), 755-767. doi:10.1080/03075079.2018.1554639 

Hextrum, K. (2020). Amateurism revisited: How US college athletic recruitment favors middle-class athletes. Sport, Education, and Society, 25(1), 111-123. doi:10.1080/13573322.2018.1547962

Hextrum, K. (2020). Bigger, faster, stronger: How racist and sexist ideologies persist in college sports. Gender and Education, 32(8), 1053-1071. doi: 10.1080/09540253.2019.1632418

Hextrum, K. (2020). Segregation, innocence, and protection: The institutional conditions that maintain whiteness in college sports. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 13(4), 384-395. doi: 10.1037/dhe0000140 

Hextrum, K. (2019). Operation Varsity Blues: Disguising the legal capital exchanges and white property interests in athletic admissions. Higher Education Politics & Economics, 5(1), 15-32. doi:10.32674/hepe.v5i1.1359

Hextrum, K. (2019). Reproducing sports stars: How students become elite athletes. Teachers College Record, 121(4), 1-38. ISSN-0161-4681.

Hextrum, K. (2018). The hidden curriculum of college athlete recruitment. Harvard Educational Review, 88(3), 355-377.

Hextrum, K. (2014). A Feminist perspective on the school-to-labor pipeline. Berkeley Review of Education, 5(1), 89-112.

Cummins, J., & Hextrum, K*. (2013). The management of intercollegiate athletics at Cal: Turning points and consequences. Center for Studies in Higher Education Research and Occasional Paper Series. 12(13), 1-41.


Hextrum, K. (In Press). “Overrepresented and Under-scrutinized: How White Athletes Prevail in U.S. College Athletic Recruitment and Admission.” Book Chapter, under review for J. Ravulo, K. Olcoń, T. Dune, A. Workman, & P. Liamputtong (eds.) Handbook of critical whiteness: Deconstructing dominant discourses across disciplines.

Siduri, H., & Hextrum, K.* (2023). “Forging community: Reflections on a colloquium for critical scholars of college sport” In Roth, K. R., Ritter, Z., Kumah-Abiwu, F., & Camacho (Eds.) What can be: Emancipatory Change in US Higher Education (pp.241-258). Switzerland: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Hextrum, K. (2023). Fair play, fraud, or fixed? Athletic credentials in U.S. higher education. In S. E. Eaton, J. J. Carmichael, & H. Pethrick (Eds.), Fake Degrees and Fraudulent Credentials in Higher Education (pp. 115-132). Springer International Publishing.

Mirabelli, A. & Hextrum, K*. (2018). Proactive program improvement: Incorporating assessment into student athlete academic support services. In D. Van Rheenen & J.M. DeOrnellas (Eds.) Envisioning Scholar practitioner collaborations: Building communities of practice in Education and Sport Research (pp.73-94). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing

Hextrum, K. (2017). Segregated bodies: Gender reproduction within college sport. In A. Milner and J. Braddock II (Eds.) Women in sport: Breaking barriers, facing obstacles, Vol. 2 (pp. 169-185). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.


Hextrum, K., Knoester, C., & Thompsett, J. 1 (2021 October 4). Why some college sports are often out of reach for students from low-income families. The Conversation.


Hextrum, K. & Haslerig, S. (Eds.) (2024). College sport (in)equity: Working within and beyond the law to achieve intersectional racial justice praxis. Journal of Higher Education Athletics and Innovation, Special Issue.

Hoffman, J. L., Hextrum, K., & Raphael-Woodward, V. (Eds). (Accepted for 2026). Separate but equal? Women-Identifying Athlete Experiences & Intersectionality in Campus Sports. Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education Special Issue.