About Us

Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, PhD Director of CPRS & SOE Dean

Dr. Holcomb-McCoyDr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, Director of the CPRS and Dean of the School of Education, previously served as the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (central administration) and Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (in the School of Education) at Johns Hopkins University. She has held appointments as Professor and department chair at Johns Hopkins’ School of Education, Associate Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Maryland, College Park and Assistant Professor and Director of the School Counseling Program at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. 

A former elementary school counselor and counselor educator, professional colleagues have recognized her with many awards for outstanding multicultural/diversity research, excellence in teaching, and exemplar service. She is the founder of JHU’s Counseling Fellows Program, AU’s Summer Institute on Education, Equity and Justice and is a member dean of the national organization, Deans for Impact. With over 75 publications and grants amounting to more than 2M, she was selected as an American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow for her significant contributions in scientific achievement and teaching/training. In addition, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy was selected to participate as a consultant to the Obama Administration's Reach Higher Initiative, an initiative focused on college and career readiness of underrepresented students. In July 2014, she was one of the plenary speakers at the White House's Summit on Higher Education held at Harvard University.

Corbin Campbell Associate Dean, Academic Affairs and Associate Professor

Dr. Holcomb-McCoyDr. Campbell is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor in the School of Education. Her research, funded by the Spencer Foundation and the National Academy of Education, examines three interrelated streams: college teaching, assessments of higher education quality, and the organizational environments that support faculty in thriving in their careers. Prior to coming to American, Dr. Campbell was Associate Professor in the Higher and Postsecondary Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Campbell’s research has been published in several top-tier journals, such as the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, and Teachers College Record. Her work has been highlighted in news venues, such as Inside Higher Education, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and the New York Times. Dr. Campbell serves on several editorial boards including Review of Higher Education and Review of Educational Research. In 2015, Dr. Campbell was awarded the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. She also served on a committee of the National Academies to assess interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies in college and a committee of the National Center for Education Statistics, revising the national postsecondary sample surveys. Dr. Campbell received her Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Maryland, her M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University, and her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia.

Brian McGowan Associate Professor

Brian L. McGowanBrian L. McGowan, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Education and Associate Director of Pedagogy and Higher Education Research in the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning at American University. A critical constructivist, McGowan’s research focuses on Black male college student and faculty experiences in postsecondary educational contexts. More specifically, his research explores their interpersonal relationships, identity, achievement, and classroom practices. McGowan’s scholarship and professional practice have been praised through awards and honors from professional associations and higher education institutions including the New Leader Award from the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University (2020), the Distinguished Research Scholar Award from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Education (2018), and the inaugural Tracy L. Davis Outstanding Emerging Research Award from College Student Educators International (ACPA) Coalition on Men and Masculinities (2016). He is the co-editor of two books - Men and masculinities: Theoretical foundations and promising practices for supporting college men’s development (2019), and Black men in the academy: Narratives of resiliency, achievement, and success (2016). McGowan is the author of over 25 scholarly publications that appear in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of College Student Development, Equity & Excellence in Education, American Journal of Evaluation, and Journal of Men’s Studies (among others). He has delivered over 50 presentations and invited talks at colleges and universities and professional conferences and is active in professional associations, including the American Educational Research Association, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education. McGowan earned his Ph.D. in higher education administration from Indiana University, M.A. in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University, and B.M in music education from Old Dominion University.

Jennifer Steele Associate Professor

Brian L. McGowanDr. Jennifer L. Steele is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at American University, and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Public Administration and Policy. Her research, which emphasizes quantitative methods that support causal inference, focuses on urban education policy at the K-12 and postsecondary levels. She recently led a five-year federally-funded evaluation of an urban school leader preparation program, and she currently co-leads a study funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to examine achievement effects of a statewide scale-up of dual-language immersion education in Utah. The latter work builds on a randomized study of dual-language immersion benefits and costs that she led in Portland, Oregon, also with IES funding. Her other work, which has been funded by entities such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Council on Education, and the Lumina Foundation, has examined the distribution of teacher effectiveness in urban districts; teachers’ responsiveness to financial incentives for working in low-performing schools; implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill; and effects of competency-based education in five states. She previously worked as a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, as a teacher at the elementary and secondary levels, and as a manager of teacher recruitment and training for a private education company. She received her doctorate in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University.

Alice Anne Bailey Adjunct Lecturer

Dr. Alice Anne Bailey An applied social psychologist with more than 20 years of experience in higher education policy, Dr. Alice Anne Bailey conducts research and provides guidance to elected officials, non-profit organizations, and education agencies on effective policies and practices to increase the number of students who enroll in and complete education after high school. She has authored numerous research reports ranging from middle grades to adult education.

A key part of this work involves the use of state and local “collective impact” teams as well as social marketing campaigns that engage students and “nudge” them to take action. Dr. Bailey helps technology companies, school districts, non-profit organizations, and higher education institutions use two-way, interactive texting to increase the number of "first-in the-family" students who apply, enroll, and succeed in postsecondary education.

In 2012, the Office of the President of the United States and the U.S. Department of Education invited Alice Anne to partner with President Obama’s Access to Opportunity Initiative to help advise White House staff, the U.S. Department of Education, and national leaders on financial aid and other policies related to college access and success for underserved students. Likewise, Alice Anne served an instrumental role in working with the Office of Michelle Obama to launch and support Reach Higher, the former First Lady's effort to inspire every student in America to complete their education past high school.

In 2008, Dr. Bailey created and launched the Go Alliance Academy, a college access training program designed to help school counselors, college access advisors, teachers, and administrators better prepare students for higher education and careers.

Kerry Swarr Graduate Assistant

Kerry collates the Roundup Newsletter every two weeks, supports research, programming, and grant opportunities. She also serves as Adjunct Faculty teaching Aux1 and Aux2 at American University.

From 2010-April 2020, Kerry worked as a founding member of the leadership team to grow Urban Teachers to the second-largest teacher residency in the country, training teachers in Baltimore, DC and Dallas. Before joining Urban Teachers, she worked directly for 3 CEOs at Baltimore City Public Schools. She also worked for Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, working on K-12 and Higher Education policy and juvenile justice reform. She started her career as a Governor’s Policy Advisor.

She has her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University. She is earning her Ed.D. in Education Policy and Leadership at American University with an expected graduation date of Spring 2023.