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Media Invite – 2021 Virtual TLSD Conference

Keynote Speaker Danette Gerald Howard, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Chief Policy Officer Lumina Foundation

Contact: Karen Hutner
Office of Institutional Communications
khutner [at]

Release Date: 

WHAT:  The 2021 The Teaching, Learning, and Student Development Conference starts with a welcome from Quinsigamond Community College's  President Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D. and opening remarks from Commissioner of Higher Education for Massachusetts, Carlos E. Santiago.

The keynote session will highlight the conference's theme, "Tools for the New Normal: Innovations in Access, Equity, and Student Success.” Keynote speaker, Danette Gerald Howard, Ph.D., is the Senior Vice President & Chief Policy Officer at the Lumina Foundation. Her presentation is titled, “Community Colleges: Thriving During Challenging Times.”

Dr. Howard is senior vice president and chief policy officer at Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing student access and success in postsecondary education. She oversees several of Lumina’s key strategies to increase Americans’ attainment of high-quality postsecondary degrees and credentials, including strategic work in both state and federal policy and efforts to leverage states as the drivers of credential attainment. She also leads the Foundation’s Equity First efforts to embed racial equity and justice in all aspects of Lumina’s strategic work and operations.

Prior to joining Lumina, Dr. Howard served as Secretary of Higher Education in Maryland, leading the state’s postsecondary education coordinating agency, the Maryland Higher Education Commission. As secretary, she oversaw Maryland’s statewide financial aid program, approved new academic programs and institutions seeking to operate in the state, and advised the governor and legislators on higher education policies and initiatives.

A nationally regarded analyst and thought leader, Dr. Howard previously served as director of research and policy analysis at the Maryland Higher Education Commission. She also held positions as the assistant director of higher education policy at the Education Trust in Washington, D.C., as a researcher at the University of Maryland, College Park, and as a student affairs administrator and admissions counselor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Dr. Howard earned her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Howard University. She also received her master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her Ph.D. in higher education policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2015, she was honored for her outstanding success and national distinction in the fields of education and policy with Howard University’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. She currently serves as a member of the Howard University Board of Trustees, and as a trustee of the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation.

WHO:     Senior Vice President & Chief Policy Officer Lumina Foundation, Dr. Danette Howard.

WHEN:   Friday, April 9, 2021, Welcome and Keynote begin – 9:00 a.m.

WHERE: Held virtually. Email Karen Hutner at khutner [at] for a link to the keynote.                    

Closed to the public

For more information, contact Josh Martin, Director of Institutional Communications at 508.854.7513 or jmartin [at]

Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.