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Thomas Bailey, Founding Director of the Community College Research Center, Named President of Teachers College, Columbia University

Bailey, a Nationally Recognized Expert in Community Colleges, to Continue to Lead CCRC During Transition to New Director

New York, March 21, 2018 — 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 led the growth of CCRC from a small center with a handful of staff members investigating a little-known sector of higher education to a nationally known source of independent research that has driven a resurgence of interest in community colleges and guided major reform movements. He has also 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.

With colleges across the country adopting reforms that grew out of the last 20 years of CCRC research, Bailey has recently been leading CCRC in a planning process to set its agenda for community college research into the future. Bailey will continue as the director of CCRC during the transition to new leadership and will continue to be involved with CCRC research around selective areas.

“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.”

On his future as president of Teachers College, Bailey said, “This is an incredibly important time for Teachers College. Profound inequities remain in our society and education system. We have witnessed a quiet re-segregation of schools throughout much of the nation, and we are now hearing challenges in the public discourse that question the fundamental value of higher education. The importance of Teachers College and other schools of education in responding to these challenges, in advancing equity, providing crucial research that can deliver the foundation of reform, and in training students who will go on to make improvements in education has never been higher. The solutions to today’s problems require the type of broad strategy enabled by Teachers College’s comprehensive approach to education of the whole person, inside and outside the classroom, in the fields of psychology, education, and health. It is a great honor and a wonderful opportunity to build on the tremendous work of President Susan Fuhrman and to get the chance to work with thousands of TC students, staff, faculty, and researchers.”

Bailey holds a PhD in economics from MIT and is the George and Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College. He will assume the presidency of TC on July 1. 

Bailey is the author of Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success with Shanna Smith Jaggars and Davis Jenkins and is a sought-after expert on community colleges. In June 2010, he was appointed chair of the Committee on Measures of Student Success, which developed recommendations for community colleges to comply with completion rate disclosure requirements under the Higher Education Opportunity Act. Bailey and CCRC won the Terry O’Banion Prize for Teaching and Learning at the annual conference for the League for Innovation in the Community College in 2013; 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.

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The Community College Research Center (CCRC), Teachers College, Columbia University, conducts research on the major issues affecting community colleges in the United States and contributes to the development of practice and policy that expands access to higher education and promotes success for all students.