Debra W. Stewart, PhD, Authority on Higher Education, Joins NORC at the University of Chicago


CHICAGO--Debra W. Stewart, PhD, an expert on issues relating to higher education, has been named a senior fellow at the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. She will work in NORC’s Education and Child Development department and serve as a senior advisor for NORC’s Higher Education Analytics Center, with a focus on matters relating to graduate education.

“Debra Stewart brings to NORC a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience on issues that are central to the higher education systems in this nation and throughout the world,” said Norman Bradburn, senior fellow at NORC. “Her leadership in graduate education and her status as an international authority in her field will add greatly to the work we do to advance understanding of this vital sector of education.”

Stewart served as president of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) from 2000 through 2014. Under her leadership, the CGS launched a series of projects designed to strengthen the capacity of universities to prepare graduate students to meet the challenges of the 21st century. She continues to hold the title of President Emerita at CGS.

Stewart serves on several boards and committees, including the Educational Testing Service Board of Trustees; the International Advisory Board of the Freie Universität Berlin; the International Board of ITMO University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Policy and Global Affairs Committee. She has written on a wide array of higher education issues and given lectures on higher education, research, and global competitiveness at major universities and education organizations around the world. She is the author or co-author of numerous scholarly publications on administrative theory, public policy, and education policy.

“The focus of my career has been on deepening understanding and appreciation of higher education, with a focus on graduate and professional education,” said Stewart. “In the 21st century, higher education is the pathway to prosperity for individuals and nations. Graduate and professional schools have become incubators for innovation and its application in the United States and globally. But the oxygen in that incubator is empirical information to guide programs across a variety of disciplines as they achieve their individual missions.  I look forward to supporting that decision-making through the opportunities for research and analysis presented by NORC.”

Earlier in her career, Stewart was vice chancellor and dean of the graduate school at North Carolina State University. Stewart has received honorary doctorates from Université Pierre et Marie Curie and Loyola University Chicago. Stewart received her PhD in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her master’s degree from the University of Maryland, and her BA from Marquette University.


About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.

Contact: For more information, contact Eric Young for NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell).