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Thomas Bailey, Founding Director of CCRC, Named Next President of Teachers College, Columbia University

Thomas Bailey speaks at CCRC's 20th anniversary event.

Thomas Bailey, the director of the Community College Research Center (CCRC) since its founding in 1996, has been named the next president of Teachers College, where he has been an economics of education professor since 1990.

Bailey, a nationally known expert on community colleges, will continue to lead CCRC during its transition to new leadership. He assumes the presidency of Teachers College July 1.

Since its founding in 1996, CCRC has become one of Teachers College’s most prominent research centers. Bailey led the growth of CCRC from a small center with a handful of staff members investigating a little-known sector of higher education to the nation’s best known source of independent research on community colleges. Its work has driven a resurgence of interest in public two-year colleges and helped guide major reform movements. CCRC celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016 with an event keynoted by Second Lady Jill Biden.

“Working at CCRC has been an extremely rewarding experience for me,” Bailey said. “I will miss having so much day-to-day collaboration with my fellow researchers and staff at CCRC. Their talent and dedication is inspiring, and it has been an honor to work with them. And it has likewise been a privilege to work with community college faculty and staff, state personnel, philanthropists, advocates, and others all over the country who share the goal of improved opportunities and outcomes for all students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I want to thank these colleagues for all the support they have given to CCRC and to me over the years. CCRC’s success would not be possible without their influence and wisdom. And the opportunity for me to take on this new role has certainly been built on the success of CCRC and all I have learned as CCRC’s director.”

Bailey has led groundbreaking research on strategies aimed at improving the outcomes of community college students—strategies that traverse areas as varied as developmental education, dual enrollment, digital learning, career and workforce education, student financial aid, and the financing of community colleges themselves.

With Shanna Smith Jaggars and Davis Jenkins, Bailey authored Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success, published by Harvard University Press in 2015. The book has become a guide for hundreds of colleges now implementing “guided pathways” reforms—comprehensive reforms that emphasize the integration of services and instruction into more clearly structured programs of study to improve the student experience and increase graduation and transfer rates.

As director of CCRC and a professor at Teachers College, Bailey has mentored and trained scores of students, many of whom have gone on to become university- and organization-based education researchers, program evaluators, policy analysts, as well as community college faculty and administrators.

Bailey will continue to be involved with CCRC research as he leads the nation’s oldest and largest graduate school of education, which provides training to the nation’s next generation of leaders in the areas of education, health, and human development.

Bailey is the recipient of several awards, including the President’s Medal at Guttman Community College’s commencement in 2017 and, with CCRC, the Terry O’Banion Prize for Teaching and Learning at the annual conference of the League for Innovation in the Community College in 2013.

Bailey has also lent his expertise to several high-profile committees and boards. In June 2010, he was appointed chair of the U.S. Department of Education’s Committee on Measures of Student Success, which developed recommendations to improve the completion rate data disclosed by community colleges under the Higher Education Opportunity Act. Bailey was also inducted as a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association in the same year. He has been a member of the National Academy of Education since 2012 and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of American Colleges & Universities.

He has led three higher education research partnerships funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences: the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness, the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, and the National Center for Postsecondary Research.

Bailey, the George and Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, holds a PhD in economics from MIT.

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