Debra D. Bragg is director of Community College Research Initiatives at the University of Washington in Seattle and founding director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she is also Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor emerita. In addition to these appointments, Dr. Bragg is President of Bragg and Associates, Inc., an equity-minded consulting group dedicated to advancing more equitable outcomes in education and employment. Dr. Bragg’s research focuses on transitions to and through community colleges and universities to employment. She has led national studies on a wide range of P-20 policies, including developmental education, career-technical education and career pathways, transfer (vertical and reverse credit), and community college baccalaureates. Current partners in her research endeavors include Abt, New America, Jobs for the Future, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois' Partnership for College Completion, Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, Florida Department of Education, and Oregon Community College Association, as well as other higher education institutions and organizations.
Dr. Bragg uses quantitative and qualitative methods to better understand how different levels of change and innovation are working to enhance student success, including student, program, institution, system, state, and national levels. Dr. Bragg has an extensive resume, including books, journal articles, briefs, and blogs in major media outlets. In 2015 she was named a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), a top recognition of educational researchers in the United States. In 2016 Dr. Bragg received the Distinguished Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), and in 2019, Dr. Bragg was honored with the national Transfer Champion Award from the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS).
Dr. Bragg received a BS degree in secondary teaching from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and MS and PhD degrees from The Ohio State University, with specializations in postsecondary and adult education, public policy, and program evaluation.