Dr. Debra Humphreys

Vice President of Strategic Engagement, Lumina Foundation

Dr. Debra Humphreys serves on the executive team of Lumina Foundation and oversees the foundation’s strategic communications work as well as its efforts to increase the number of individuals attaining high-quality Bachelor’s degrees.  She also provides direction and coordination for Lumina’s substantive work bringing together its commitments to equity and postsecondary educational quality.  Debra Humphreys began her tenure at Lumina Foundation in October 2016 and brings to Lumina a wealth of prior experience in higher education, communications, public policy, and faculty and curriculum development in undergraduate education.

Debra Humphreys received her BA from Williams College and her Ph.D in English from Rutgers University. Prior to joining Lumina Foundation in October 2016, Humphreys previously served as the senior vice president for academic planning and public engagement at the Association of American Colleges and Universities—a position she assumed in early 2016 after serving for three years as VP of communications, policy, and public engagement, and eleven years as VP for communications and public affairs. Prior to 2001, she served as director of programs in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Global Initiatives at AAC&U where she directed programs on diversity, equity, and women’s issues in higher education.

In her work with higher education institutions, Humphreys has conducted academic leadership and faculty workshops on teaching and learning issues and especially on the process of general education reform and developing diversity courses and requirements. She also worked with state systems and policy leaders to bring greater focus on the quality of student learning to both institutional and regulatory processes and practices.  She serves on the editorial advisory boards of Change Magazine the Journal of Experiential Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, and on the Equity Advisory Council of Credential Engine.  In addition to her expertise on higher education policy, academic planning, communications, general education and diversity in higher education, she has written, taught, and published on African American women’s literature, immigrant women’s literature, and women and American film history.

Selected publications include: “Seeking Equity, Quality and Purpose as Higher Education Transforms,” co-written with Mary Hinton, New Models of Higher Education: Unbundled, Rebundled, Customized, and DIY (Nocmeber 2022); “A Moment of Reckoning,” Inside Higher Ed(June 21, 2021); “We Must End Either/Or Thinking about Skills,” Inside Higher Ed (April 28, 2021); “Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Challenging Times: Examining Priorities and Proposed Reforms,” co-authored with Paul L. Gaston in Liberal Education (Winter 2016); “Deploying Collaborative Leadership to Reinvent Higher Education for the Twenty-First Century” in Peer Review (Winter 2013); “The Questions We Need to Ask First: Setting Priorities for Higher Education in Our Technology-Rich World” in Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies, edited by Diana G. Oblinger (Educause, 2012); “What’s Wrong with the Completion Agenda—and What We Can Do About It.” in Liberal Education (Winter, 2012); and “Liberal Education and the Policy Landscape,” co-authored with Carol Geary Schneider in Transforming Undergraduate Education, edited by Donald W. Harward and published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2011.