Harris is director of the Research on Education and Development of Youth (REDY) program as well as professor of sociology.
His research interests include social inequality, policy, and education. His work focuses on the social psychological determinants of the racial achievement gap. Specifically, he examines the factors that contribute to differences in academic investment among African Americans, Latino/as, Asian Americans, and Whites. Harris also studies the impact that adolescents' perceptions of opportunities for upward socio-economic mobility have for their academic investment and the long-term effects of youths' occupational aspirations both within the United States and Europe.
Harris earned a bachelor's degree from Grambling State University, a master's degree from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Sociology from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at Duke, he was a member of the faculty in Sociology and African American studies at the University of Texas at Austin and Princeton University. Harris was recently a fellow of the National Forum on the Future of Liberal (Arts) Education.