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  • Margaret Cahalan, Ph.D. — Vice President, Research

    Margaret Cahalan is the Director of the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education (Pell Institute) and the Vice President for Research at the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE). She currently serves as a Co-PI for an i-3 grant awarded to COE in 2010 entitled, Using Data to Inform College Access Programming. The purpose of this project, being implemented in low-income high priority schools in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, is to study possible innovations to the Talent Search model designed to use a whole school and community partnership approach to increase college going and retention for low-income students. Dr. Cahalan joined COE in 2011, after serving as the division leader for the Secondary-Postsecondary Cross-Cutting (SPCC) Team within the Policy and Program Studies Services (PPSS) at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Prior to working at ED, Maggie worked as a statistical research contractor for over 20 years at Westat, Mathematica, and RTI. In this capacity she served as the project director for large statistical sample surveys including the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOFAS) and the National Study of Recent College Graduates (NSRCG). She also directed several TRIO national evaluations including the National Evaluation of Student Support Services and the National Evaluation of Talent Search, as well as several TRIO Performance Reporting Technical Assistance and Analyses contracts. These contracts were responsible for the re-design of the annual performance reports (APRs) of the Upward Bound, Student Support Services, and McNair programs to include individual student records and the building of longitudinal databases to track program outcomes. Maggie cares passionately about helping to find ways to reduce educational inequity and working toward an inclusive asset based talent development approach to education at all levels. She is also very much interested in place based education and action research working to mitigate and adapt to climate change and helping to promote the transition to a more just, co-operative and environmentally friendly world economy. Maggie received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.