Foundations' Funding Priorities Moving Forward Panel

Friday 9:00 am – 10:15 am PT / 10:00 am – 11:15 am MT / 11:00 am – 12:15 pm CT / 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm ET Online


Celeste Carter - National Science Foundation Program Director

CelesteCarter_circle.jpg V. Celeste Carter received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine in 1982 under the direction of Dr. Satvir S. Tevethia. She completed postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. G. Steven Martin at the University of California at Berkeley. She joined the Division of Biological and Health Sciences at Foothill College in 1994 to develop and head a Biotechnology Program. She served as a Program Director twice in the Division of Undergraduate Education as a rotator. Dr. Carter accepted a permanent program director position in DUE in 2009; she is the Lead Program Director for the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program.

Dale Whittaker - Senior Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

DaleWhittaker_circle.jpg As a Senior Program Manager at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dale manages a process to identify strategic opportunities and challenges for the U.S. higher education sector. He also works with rapidly growing institutions with national/global footprints to increase opportunity and equity for Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income students. Prior to joining Gates,Dale spent over 3 decades in roles from professor to president at some of the nation's largest and fastest-growing public research universities, leading and sustaining change over long periods of time.

Dale led a transformation of teaching and learning at Purdue through a multi-year project called IMPACT (Instruction Matters Purdue Academic Course Transformation), launched UCF Online which grew five-fold in three years, led UCF to become a federally recognized Hispanic Serving Institution, diversified university leadership, restructured financial operations and board governance to prevent abuse, and achieved record student retention and graduation rates at both Purdue and UCF.In addition to his own experience, Dale maintains a sector-wide view. Over the past year, Dale has interviewed over 50 college presidents across a wide range of institutions including community colleges, HBCUs, small private colleges, for-profit universities, and public research universities.

Although educated as an engineer with degrees from Texas A&M University and Purdue University, he also is a watercolor artist and musician and lives on an island in Lake Superior, where there is great hiking, adequate bandwidth, and plenty of fresh air.

Debra Humphreys - Vice President of Strategic Engagement, Lumina Foundation

DebraHumphreys_circle.jpg Debra leads Lumina Foundation's strategic engagement efforts including work to expand the numbers and effectiveness of stakeholders committed to advancing Lumina's priorities for action to expand attainment levels and close equity gaps.  She oversees the foundation's strategic communications work while also providing oversight of work focused on increasing attainment of high-quality Baccalaureate degrees.  Debra Humphreys holds a BA in Art History from Williams College and a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from Rutgers University.  She began her tenure at Lumina in October of 2016 and brings to her work at Lumina a wealth of experience in higher education, communications, public policy, and faculty and curriculum development in undergraduate 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.

Lee Zia - Deputy Division Director of the Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation

Lee Zia Lee Zia is the Deputy Division Director for DUE. He served as the Lead Program Director for the NSF National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library (NSDL) Program from its inception in FY 2000 to its sunsetting in FY 2010. He served as a "rotator" in the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education during calendar years 1995 and 1996 while on leave from the Department of Mathematics at the University of New Hampshire. Zia rejoined the NSF as a permanent staff member in the fall of 1999. From November 2008 to December 2009, he served as a Commerce 9 Science and Technology Fellow in the Office of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV. Most recently he served as the Lead Program Director for the STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP). Zia holds degrees in mathematics from the University of North Carolina (B.S.) and the University of Michigan (M.S.), and applied mathematics from Brown University (Ph.D.).


Ryan Kelsey - Executive Director, Partnership Development, Markle Foundation

RyanKelsey_circle.jpg Dr. Ryan Kelsey serves as Executive Director, Partnership Development at the Markle Foundation, where he leads the formation of strategic partnerships with leading philanthropies and nonprofits and advises on the foundation's evaluation, learning and impact agenda. Markle is currently focused on improving equity in our nation's workforce systems through its Rework America Alliance initiative. Previously, Ryan was the Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national nonprofit network of community colleges committed to improving equitable student outcomes. Prior to ATD, Ryan was a program officer at the Helmsley Charitable Trust where he developed and managed a $45 million portfolio of grants focused on higher education, STEM learning, and K-12 teacher preparation. Before Helmsley, Ryan spent more than a decade at Columbia University as one of the leaders of a center focused on innovation in teaching and learning using purposeful technology. He taught graduate courses in educational technology and instructional design at Teachers College, Columbia University, and at New York University, as well as introductory science at Columbia. Ryan earned an Ed.D. and M.A. in Communication and Education from Teachers College and a B.S. in Biology from Santa Clara University.

Panel Recording: 

Funder's Panel (MP4 Video 1126.5MB Jun14 21)