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Debra Stewart

Pronouns: She/Her

Debra is a nationally recognized expert on graduate school education and dean leadership.

She is the primary investigator of the National Science Foundation-funded study, COVID-19 Impact on Graduate STEM Education.

Prior to joining NORC, Debra served as president of the Council of Graduate Schools. She also previously served as vice chancellor and dean of the Graduate School at North Carolina State University.

Debra has written on a wide array of higher education issues and 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.

Debra has served on several boards, including the Educational Testing Service Board; the International Advisory Board of the Freie Universität Berlin; the International Board of the ITMO University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and NASFA, the Association of International Educators.



University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


University of Maryland


Marquette University

Appointments & Affiliations

President Emerita

Council of Graduate Schools

Honors & Awards

Honorary Doctorate | 2013

Loyola University of Chicago

Distinguished Alumna Award | 2008

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Honorary Doctorate | 2007

Université Pierre et Marie Curie

Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate Education in the Southern Region | 2000

Conference of Southern Graduate Schools

Project Contributions

National Study of Faculty Attitudes Toward Academic Freedom

A new study of academic freedom inspired by Paul Lazarsfeld’s 1958 research


American Association of Colleges and Universities and American Association of University Professors

Graduate Schools’ Response to COVID-19

A rapid survey details how STEM schools coped with pandemic disruptions


National Science Foundation

Career Trajectories of STEM Doctoral Students

Studying STEM PhD students’ career trajectories using culturally responsive measures and methods


National Science Foundation