OUR STAFF | ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH; HIGHER EDUCATION & WORKFORCE RESEARCH LEAD
Erin Knepler is the Associate Director of Research and the Director of Higher Education and Workforce Research at Public Agenda. In this role, she co-leads the Research Department and specifically leads the higher education and workforce research. Erin designs and analyzes representative surveys of the general public and specialized surveys of specific populations, leads lively and illuminating focus groups conducted around the country, and conducts in-depth interviews with postsecondary leaders and content experts. The research often addresses questions like how policies affect peopleís everyday lives, how people understand and speak about complex social and educational attainment problems, how people seek and use information and how leaders understand and fulfill their roles.
Prior to the role, Erin served as the Associate Director of Higher Education and Workforce Programs at Public Agenda. She served as the project manager and oversees knowledge management for the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN). In this role, she provided support to institutional teams and leads C-BEN research activities related to competency-based education (CBE). Additionally, Erin managed multiple projects working with dozens of colleges and universities across the country to support the capacity of institutional leaders and faculty at every level to effectively engage members of their communities as partners in enhancing student success.
Before joining Public Agenda, Erin was a researcher and P-20 Program Director at the University System of Maryland (2009-2015). In this role, she worked at an intersection of policy and application, specializing in system and campus-level academic innovation work; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) migration research; and research on academic/industry partnerships. Additionally, Erin served as the project manager of the Maryland Productivity Grant from the Lumina Foundation, which explored ways to increase college completion through academic transformations like course redesign and to understand its influence on policy. She was also the principal investigator on a multi-year, mixed-methods study to understand and transform undergraduate STEM experiences and to strengthen academic/industry engagement in STEM, specifically cybersecurity. Prior to working at the University System of Maryland, she served as Director of Grants at Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and Director of Academic Grants and Government Policy at Urban College of Boston.
Erin frequently presents on higher education-related work around the country and is actively involved in professional research organizations including the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the American Educational Research Association, the Association for Institutional Research and the American Association for Colleges and Universities, among others.
Erin completed a bachelorís degree in English and political science and a masterís degree in higher education policy and administration at Marquette University. She is completing a doctorate in higher education policy and administration at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation focuses on the economic implications of state higher education STEM policies on STEM degree production.
Areas of expertise: Quantitative and qualitative research, higher education reform and innovation, higher education policy, state/system higher education research, STEM research, and academic and industry research/partnerships.