OCCRL Director Named as Illinois Gutgsell Professor

by OCCRL / Oct 21, 2013

Dr. Debra Bragg, OCCRL director, has been appointed as an Edward William Gutgsell and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bragg, professor of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership (EPOL), and Dorothy Espelage, professor of Educational Psychology, join Professor James D. Anderson, who is also EPOL’s department head, and Nicholas Burbules, professor of EPOL.

“Our College is delighted that both Dr. Dorothy Espelage and Dr. Debra Bragg are recipients of this coveted and very select, university-level endowed professorship. They are both outstanding academic women committed to making a positive difference in the lives of others,” said Dean Mary Kalantzis. “They join our stellar colleagues, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Burbules, who currently also hold this honor. All four are testament to the extraordinary caliber of the College of Education’s faulty and the social relevance of their scholarship.”

Bragg’s research focuses on transition to college by youth and adults, especially student populations that have not attended college historically. She is particularly interested in how underserved youth and adult (minority, low income, first-generation, immigrant students) use the community college to transition to higher education, including how public policies position community colleges as a primary port of entry. The expanding mission of community colleges, including the increasing importance of linkages to high schools, adult education, postsecondary education and the workforce is of particular interest. Dr. Bragg came to Illinois in 1989 and established  the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL), a research organization that focuses on policies, programs, and practices around P-20 preparation, transition, and completion, which she still directs.

The Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professorships are funded through a gift to the university by the late Edward William Gutgsell and Jane Marr Gutgsell. They were established in 1998 to recognize some of the most distinguished senior faculty on the Urbana-Champaign campus and to promote opportunities for ongoing faculty development. The professorships are five-year renewable term appointments.

Excerpts from this article originated from the College of Education at Illinois website.