About Us

CPRS Staff

Laura Owen, PhD

Dr. Laura Owen, Director for the Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success, focuses on evaluating the impact of interventions and programs designed to address the persistent equity and access issues that so many students across the country face. A prior urban school counselor and district counseling supervisor, she is a passionate advocate for closing college opportunity gaps. Dr. Owen co-led the SDSU White House Convening and assisted with the AU White House Convening “Connecting the Dots” which supported the former First Lady, Michelle Obama’s, Reach Higher campaign focused on increasing equitable and accessible pathways to postsecondary success for all students, especially those who face formidable barriers.

Dr. Owen’s work has been supported by the Abell Foundation, the Austin Chamber of Commerce, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CollegeBound, Hobsons, the Kresge Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the Foundation for California Community Colleges, Harvard University, Raise DC, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences.

Dr. Holcomb-McCoyDr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, Director of the CPRS and Dean of the School of Education 



Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy is on sabbatical through July 31, 2024. Acting Co-Deans are Corbin M. Campbell, PhD and Rodney Hopson, PhD.

Dean Holcomb-McCoy 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.

Moya_Malcolm2023Dr. Moya Malcolm, Postdoctoral Fellow for Student Success, SOE and CPRS

Moya Malcolm has over 15 years of experience serving ethnically diverse middle- and high-school students and families in the Washington, DC, area. During these years, Malcolm worked as a middle school counselor in Montgomery County, MD, before transitioning to the University of Maryland (UMD) where she worked with Pre-College Programs (Upward Bound) and College Park Scholars. Dr. Malcolm earned her Master of Education in school counseling from UMD and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Howard University in Washington, DC. She earned her doctorate in student affairs from UMD. Her research interests include college access for low-income/first-generation students, immigrant youth, and students of color; school–community–university partnerships that strengthen the K–16 educational pipeline; and supporting minoritized students in higher education through asset-based programming.

Affiliated Faculty and Staff


Corbin Campbell, Acting Co-Dean and Professor

Dr. CampbellDr. Campbell is an Acting Co-Dean and 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 L. McGowanBrian McGowan, Provost Associate Professor

Brian L. McGowan, Ph.D. is a Provost 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

Jennifer Steele, Professor

Dr. Jennifer L. Steele is a 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.


Dr. Alice Anne Bailey

Alice Anne Bailey, Adjunct Lecturer

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.