U.S. Higher Education: Rethinking the Possibilities

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André Dua

André Dua is a senior partner at McKinsey & Company. He is a member of the McKinsey Global Institute Council, which advises on MGI’s research on global economic, business, and technology trends. His work and research span company transformation, the inclusive economy, the future of work, higher education, and state and local government.

As the leader of McKinsey’s Inclusive US Economy Initiative, André works on topics related to education, reskilling, upskilling, economic opportunity, and the distribution of opportunity among different groups within the US. Andre founded and leads McKinsey’s higher-education work and has served more than 25 public- and private-university systems and campuses around the world, including research, comprehensive, and community colleges.

This work has spanned a range of issues, such as university strategy, research preeminence, enrollment and financial aid, college retention and completion, digital education, global strategy, academic medical enterprise strategy and performance improvement, and university board governance. He convenes various roundtables of university presidents and higher-education board of trustees.

Previously, Andre founded and led McKinsey’s state and local government practice. He has worked with many state and local governments on citizen experience, economic and workforce development, infrastructure strategy and capital budgeting, disaster recovery and resilience, healthcare strategy and innovation, and administrative operations.

He currently serves on the Board of the College Advising Corp.

Leslie Fenwick, PhD

Leslie T. Fenwick, PhD, has worked in every sector of education – as a PK-12 school teacher and administrator in urban public and private schools; university faculty member and administrator; foundation program officer; and, legislative aid in the State of Ohio Senate when the state crafted its first omnibus school reform legislation. Additionally, she has worked with federal programs committed to education equity including Head Start and Upward Bound. In 2020, Dr. Fenwick was one of two finalists vetted for the U.S. Secretary of Education post.

Described as a “fearless voice” for educational equity,

Dr. Fenwick is Dean in Residence at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). AACTE members are School/College of Education deans, faculty members, and partner organizations that prepare the education workforce of the future. In her role as Dean in Residence, Dr. Fenwick works with AACTE’s national office to ensure that all PK-12 students receive high quality teachers and instruction.

Dr. Fenwick is also Dean Emeritus of the Howard University School of Education where she served as dean for nearly 10 years and during which time the School of Education attained

first-time ranking by U.S. News and World Report (USNWR) as one of the nation’s top-100 Schools/Colleges of Education and held an annual Capitol Hill Policy Forum attended by 300 educators and legislators dedicated to crafting education and social policies that advance equity. She remains a tenured professor of educational policy at Howard University.

A former Visiting Scholar and Visiting Fellow at Harvard University, Fenwick also serves as a Senior Fellow for the McDonald Character Leadership Program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Fenwick is regularly called upon to testify about educational equity, college access, and school leadership and teacher quality and diversity to the U.S. Senate, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Urban League, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Education Writers Association (EWA), National Education Association (NEA), National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE), and the Washington Policy Seminar. Additionally, she has been an invited speaker at the National Press Club and appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, and local television networks discussing equal educational opportunity and access.

A nationally known education policy scholar, Dr. Fenwick is co-founder of the Urban Superintendents Academy at the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), The School Superintendents Association. Additionally, she held term appointments as a member of the Harvard University Principals Center Advisory Board, AACTE Board of Directors, and EduTopia’s (George Lucas Education Foundation) National Advisory Board.

Notably, Dr. Fenwick served as an appointed member of the Committee that produced the National Academy of Sciences’ first study about mayoral control of public schools. Recently, she was among a select group of nationally-prominent scholars that advised the National Academy of Education about its teacher diversity study.

Dr. Fenwick is a contributor to the best-selling book, The Last Word: Controversy and Commentary in American Education. Her op-ed articles about education, the economy, and urban development have appeared in the Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Education Week, The Huffington Post, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Her research on teacher diversity has been cited by the New York Times and the Center for American Progress.

In keeping with her research about teacher quality, during her tenure as dean Dr. Fenwick served as co-PI for the Ready to Teach Program – a $2.1 million innovative teacher preparation program funded by the U.S. Department of Education that was lauded as a national model by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Dr. Fenwick also managed an $11 million (Wallace Funds) teacher pipeline initiative in 7 southeastern states when she was a program officer at the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) and served as a lead researcher on a $12 million Annenberg Foundation-funded project about school reform, neighborhood revitalization, and community rebuilding.

Presently, Dr. Fenwick is one of 11 members of the Scholarly Advisory Committee for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) which was established by noted historian Dr. John Hope Franklin to help set the museum’s intellectual agenda and exhibition content.

A former middle school science teacher and science enthusiast, Dr. Fenwick was appointed by NASA Administrator (director) General Charles Bolden to NASA’s inaugural Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Committee. Additionally, she is a 2014 Salzburg Global Fellow (the cohort was convened in Salzburg, Austria to examine globalization and leadership) and a member of the 1999 cohort of American university administrators invited to the University of Oxford (Exeter College) to discuss ethics and leadership. Dr. Fenwick is the 2011 recipient of the WEB DuBois Award for Leadership in Higher Education. She has delivered the WEB DuBois Distinguished Lecture to the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Benjamin E. Mays Distinguished Lecture at Georgia State University, the Distinguished Researcher Lecture at Kansas State University, and the Corbin Leadership Forum Lecture at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Dr. Fenwick earned a PhD in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University where she was a Flescher Fellow, a master’s degree at the University of Toledo, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Virginia. She began her career in education as a 4th grade teacher and was locally celebrated in her hometown of Toledo, Ohio as a Rookie Teacher of the Year.

Content from Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity

This content was produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom was not involved in the production of this content.

The role of higher education in society during and after COVID-19

A conversation with Anne Kress, president of Northern Virginia Community College, and James B. Millikin, chancellor of The University of Texas System, on the opportunities for higher education to address the societal challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of 2020, the unemployment rate among recent college graduates equaled the peak rate of the 2008 recession. Kress and Chancellor Milliken will discuss what unique challenges students and communities face during this time, why taking action to address social inequities is critical and how higher education can support students through the post-pandemic economy.

Anne M. Kress, PhD, President, Northern Virginia Community College

Anne M. Kress is the sixth president of Northern Virginia Community College, a role she began in January 2020. She has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, having served as a tenured faculty member in English, department chair, associate vice president, provost, and president at community colleges in Florida, New York, and now, Virginia. She is excited to have joined NOVA and looks forward to working with partners across the region to continue Northern Virginia’s economic growth and impact. At NOVA, Kress will focus on the role the college plays in providing meaningful access to educational and economic opportunity; connecting students to transformational, high quality programs; ensuring equity in student outcomes; building innovative industry and community partnerships; and increasing philanthropic support of student success.

James B. Milliken, Chancellor, The University of Texas System

James B. Milliken, a national public higher education leader with more than 30 years of experience, has been chancellor of The University of Texas System in September 2018. He oversees one of the largest public university systems in the United States with 14 health and academic institutions, including six medical schools, that enroll more than 240,000 students and employ more than 100,000 health care professionals, researchers, faculty and support staff. Ranked as one of the most innovative universities or university systems in the world, the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in research expenditures, with research spending totaling $3.4 billion last year.

Prior to joining the UT System, Milliken served in top leadership positions at major university systems in three states: The City University of New York (CUNY), the University of Nebraska (NU) and the University of North Carolina (UNC). In those roles, he led efforts that advanced economic development, online education, global engagement and student access and success.

Moderated by Elise Labott, Adjunt Professor, American University

Elise Labott is a leading journalist covering foreign US foreign policy and international issues. Elise is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and before that was CNN’s Global Affairs Correspondent. She has reported from more than . 80 countries, traveled the world with seven secretaries of state and has interviewed many world leaders and newsmakers. Elise is the founder of Twopoint.o Media, a digital media platform that aims to engage, inform and inspire citizens to solve today’s most pressing global challenges, and an adjunct professor at American University’s School of International Service. She is a contributor to Politico, provides commentary for MSNBC, NPR, BBC and several other broadcast outlets and is a sought-after interviewer and moderator. Elise also serves as a global ambassador for Vital Voices, an organization that empowers female entrepreneurs around the world and is on the advisory committee of Global Kids DC, a program which introduces high school students in underserved communities to international affairs. Prior to joining CNN, Elise covered the UN for ABC News and also reported on diplomatic and foreign policy issues for Agence France-Presse and other publications. Elise is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a master’s degree from the New School for Social Research.

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