Paul E. Bylsma

Paul Bylsma


  • B.A. History, Secondary Education, Calvin College
  • M.Ed. Higher Education, Grand Valley State University
  • Ph.D. in progress, Higher, Adult, Lifelong Education, Michigan State University


My wife and I, along with my two young daughters and one old dog, are nestled in the southeast side of Grand Rapids. I am completing my PhD in Higher Education at Michigan State, which occupies almost as much time as wrangling my daughters and keeping the house neat. I enjoy doing yard work, auto repairs, and the New York Times Mini Crossword puzzle, as well as brewing beer, reading, and thinking about the next fun house project.

Academic interests

My dissertation (in progress) explores how the hidden curriculum operates in a pre-professional program as an affective phenomenon, which foregrounds the role of the body in learning. I am also interested in affect as a theory; how bodies encounter others in a state of ongoing immersion in their material environments. More broadly, I am interested in employing qualitative methods to study teaching and learning, community engagement, and equitable educational practices. I have also had recent opportunities to pursue interests in existentialism and phenomenology.

My publication record includes a critical take on the evolution of American higher education, an affective perspective on Indian higher education rankers’ media activity, and another affective perspective on the simultaneous distance and proximity we felt during COVID-19 online learning.


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