Mary Ellen Duncan, Ph.D.

Mary Ellen Duncan is a Leadership Coach for Achieving the Dream.  She also does consulting at community colleges in a variety of areas—conducting searches, helping in the fundraising process, preparing a website to celebrate the 50th year (or other year) for a community college and other topics.  Several other projects include working for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, showing a website to help students focus on completion and delay pregnancy and also encourages colleges to connect with for Excelsior College, an innovative non-profit college that encourages older students to stay in their community colleges for at least 90 credits and then complete courses with Excelsior online.

Prior to her role with Achieving the Dream, Dr. Duncan has had 35 years of experience in higher education in New York, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Maryland. Seventeen of those years were in presidencies in community colleges, most recently Howard Community College, in Columbia, MD. During her tenure, HCC was awarded the State Quality Award and she raised over $14 million as  a campaign to build the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Building. She is also certified as an executive coach for two types of leadership assessments: the Hogan instruments and the Hay Emotional and Social Competency Inventory.

Her leadership has been widely recognized. The Howard County Chamber of Commerce honored Dr. Duncan with the Exemplar Award in 2007. The Horizon Foundation presented her with the Richard G. McCauley Leadership Award in 2004. In that year, she also received the Wylene Burch Award for Distinguished Leadership from the Howard County Center for African-American Culture. In 2002, she was named as one of the Maryland Top 100 Women and in 2001 Dr. Duncan became a graduate of Leadership Maryland. In 2007, the Business Women’s Network named her a “Woman of Distinction”. The Howard County, MD Women’s Hall of Fame added Mary Ellen in 2012. In July 2015, Excelsior has given her a Doctor of Honors as recognition for her commitment to community colleges and options for a bachelor’s degree.

Educational Background: Dr. Duncan holds a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in English and Education, and a master’s and Ph.D. from The University of Connecticut.

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