Iris Palmer

Director, Community Colleges

Iris Palmer is director for community colleges with the Education Policy program at New America.

Palmer is a member of the higher education team and also works closely with the Center on Education & Labor. She provides research and analysis on community colleges, adults enrolled in higher education, apprenticeship, and the ethical use of predictive analytics in higher education.

Palmer previously worked at the National Governors Association on postsecondary issues, where she helped states strengthen the connection between higher education and the workforce, support competency-based systems, use data from effectiveness and efficiency metrics, and improve licensure for veterans.

Prior to joining NGA, Palmer worked at HCM Strategists on the Lumina Foundation’s initiative to develop innovative higher education models, including new technologies and competency-based approaches.

Before joining HCM Strategists, Palmer worked at the U.S. Department of Education in all of the offices related to higher education: the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education; the Office of Postsecondary Education; the Policy Office; and the Office of the Undersecretary.

Palmer received her master’s of public policy from George Mason University and her undergraduate degree in political science from Goucher College.

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