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Debra Bragg

Founding director of OCCRL and Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor Emerita

Dr. Debra Bragg

Dr. Debra D. Bragg is the founding director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) and an Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research portfolio focuses on policies and programs designed to facilitate student transitions to and through education to employment. She has led national studies on career-technical education (CTE) and career pathways, transfer and community college baccalaureate degrees, and STEM education. Over her 25-year tenure at Illinois, Dr. Bragg secured over $17 million in external funding from governments and foundations.

Dr. Bragg has received numerous awards for her research accomplishments, including being recognized as a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and recipient of the Distinguished Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). Dr. Bragg also received the Bonita C. Jacobs National Transfer Champion Award from the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students. She also received the College of Education Distinguished Scholar and Career Teaching awards at UIUC.

In 2016, Dr. Bragg founded the Community College Research Initiatives (CCRI) group at the University of Washington (UW), serving as its founding director until 2020.  Her research continues at UW through a partnership with researchers in the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.

Currently, Dr. Bragg’s primary professional obligations are associated with her leadership of Bragg & Associates, Inc., an S-corporation founded in the state of Illinois in 2012. Over the last dozen years, Dr. Bragg’s company has served clients throughout the United States and internationally.