Peter Ewell is President Emeritus of NCHEMS. A member of the staff since 1981, he served as President for one year, Vice President of the Center for 10 years, and as a Senior Associate prior to that. Dr. Ewell’s work focuses on assessing institutional effectiveness and student learning, and involves both research and direct consulting with institutions and state systems on collecting and using assessment information in planning, evaluation, and budgeting. He has directed many projects on this topic, including initiatives funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the National Institute for Education, The Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education, The Spencer Foundation, Lumina Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts. In addition, he has consulted with over 425 colleges and universities and twenty-seven state systems of higher education on topics including assessment, program review, accreditation, and student retention. His international consulting on quality assurance includes work in the U.K., Chile, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Dubai, and with the OECD. He has also been actively involved in NCHEMS work on designing longitudinal student databases and other academic management information tools.
Dr. Ewell has authored or co-authored eight books and numerous articles on the topic of improving undergraduate instruction through the assessment of student outcomes. He is one of the four principal authors of the Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP). In addition, he has prepared commissioned papers for many agencies, including the Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in American Higher Education (authors of the report Involvement in Learning), the Education Commission of the States, the National Governors’ Association, the National Conference of State Legislators, and the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education. Widely sought as a speaker on assessment and quality assurance, in 1985 he gave the keynote address for the first national conference on Assessment in American Higher Education, and has since spoken widely on this topic at both national and international conferences. In 1998 he led the design team that created the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and chaired its National Advisory Board for many years, as well as chairing the National Advisory Board of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE).
Prior to joining NCHEMS, Dr. Ewell was Coordinator for Long-Range Planning at Governors State University. A graduate of Haverford College, he received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University in 1976 and was on the faculty of the University of Chicago. In addition to consulting in higher education, Dr. Ewell has been involved in program evaluation, organizational development and strategic planning for a variety of non-profit and arts organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and six state arts agencies. In 1981 he received the National Theater Association award for Theory and Criticism.