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Higher Education in Maryland

October 2008


For immediate release: October 14, 2008
Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen
(410) 260-4511

MHEC Names Director of Planning,
Research Analysis and Workforce Development Communications

ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 14, 2008) – The Maryland Higher Education Commission recently named a respected leader in postsecondary education as its new Director of Planning, Research Analysis and Workforce Development.

Dr. Danette S. Gerald has spent much of her professional career in higher education, first as a student affairs administrator at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) then as a researcher and policy analyst at the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP). While pursuing her doctorate in Education Policy at UMCP, Dr. Gerald worked on the Race, Equity and Diversity in the South Project which examined trends in equity in postsecondary education in student enrollment and completion rates and faculty hirings and promotions in 19 southern and border states. She also served as a key researcher in a multi-year project sponsored by the National Association of Black and Hispanic Physicists which studied factors that contributed to students of color succeeding in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

“I am pleased that Dr. Gerald has accepted this important position at MHEC,” Higher Education Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr., said. “Dr. Gerald not only has impressive credentials, but she is energetic, enthusiastic and ready to take on the many challenges this position presents. She will be a great asset to the Commission as we continue our work to ensure that Maryland’s colleges and universities and private career schools are second to none.”

“We are fortunate to have attracted a person of Dr. Gerald’s caliber to MHEC,” added Assistant Secretary for Planning and Academic Affairs Dr. George W. Reid. “She comes to us after a thorough national search and, in the end; we knew Dr. Gerald was the best fit for the Commission.”

“I am honored to be at the Maryland Higher Education Commission,” Dr. Gerald said. “The State of Maryland is an especially appealing place to work because of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s commitment to higher education.”

Dr. Gerald comes to MHEC after serving as Assistant Director of Higher Education Policy at the Education Trust located in Washington, D.C. In her role at the Trust, Dr. Gerald led all of the research efforts of the higher education division and was an original architect of the Access to Success Initiative. This ambitious, nation-wide program includes 21 public university systems (including the University System of Maryland) which are committed to closing gaps in college enrollment and completion rates that separate low-income students and students of color from their peers.

She led the team that developed the data metrics that will be used to gauge university systems’ progress toward meeting the goals of the Access to Success Initiative, and developed a new way of assessing graduation and degree attainment rates at historically black institutions.

She has written extensively on issues of equity within higher education. Most recently, she was the co-author of Underrepresentation in the Academy: A Study of Race, Equity in Three Southern States which was included in The Journal of the Professoriate in the fall of 2008.
In addition to receiving her doctorate at UMCP, Dr. Gerald earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and her Masters in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It serves as an advocate for more than 326,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.


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