President of the Institution for Higher Education Policy Keynotes Executive Speaker Series

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dr. Michelle Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) in Washington, D.C., will keynote SC State’s Executive Speaker Series Orientation on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009 at noon in Belcher Hall fourth floor auditorium.

Cooper will address the topic: “Financial Literacy: Key to Success in Business and in Life.”

While leading one of the world’s premier research and policy centers, Cooper oversees the organization’s expansive research portfolio and innovative programmatic activities focusing on access and success, accountability, diversity, finance, and global impact. She works with IHEP staff, some of the most respected professionals in the public policy and research fields, to develop new ideas and approaches to help low-income, minority, and other historically underrepresented populations gain access to and achieve success in postsecondary education.

In September 2008, Cooper became the second IHEP president following an extensive six-month nationwide search. She is an emerging and respected education leader who believes ensuring equal educational opportunities, particularly for historically underrepresented groups, is a moral and social imperative.

Through her role at IHEP, Cooper plans to leverage IHEP’s existing work—including the Alliance for Equity in Education, National Articulation and Transfer Network, Global Policy Fellows Program, and Global Center on Private Financing of Higher Education—to probe additional research questions and identify strategies for persistent problems to college access and success around the world. She is also intent on using these successful initiatives as a springboard to better inform the policymaking process on key educational issues, such as academic preparation and college readiness, college costs and financial aid, accountability, state and institutional financing, and capacity.

Most recently, Cooper served as the deputy director for the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance at the U.S. Department of Education. The Advisory Committee is an independent, nonpartisan committee created by Congress to provide advice and counsel to Congress and the Secretary of Education on higher education and student aid policy. In this position, she interacted with policymakers, oversaw all policy research activities, and managed day-to-day operations.

Before joining the advisory committee, Cooper held various leadership positions at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Council for Independent Colleges, and King’s College. She is also the 2002 recipient of the National Education Association’s Excellence in the Academy New Scholar Award.

An expert on various higher education issues, Cooper is well versed in domestic and international issues related to higher education opportunity and access, with special focus on underserved populations, including: access and success, college readiness and preparation, diversity, federal and state higher education trends and policies, higher education financing options, and tuition and financial aid.

A native of Charleston, S.C., Cooper received her bachelor of arts degree from the College of Charleston, a master of Professional Studies degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.

For additional information contact Dr. Ann Shepard Winstead at 803-516-4864.