Francesca Purcell

American Academy of Arts & Sciences

As the Program Director for Education and the Development of Knowledge, Francesca Purcell oversaw policy and research activity related to the Academy’s work in support of expanding high-quality, lifetime educational opportunities to all Americans and fostering the creation, transfer, and preservation of knowledge.  

She formerly served as Provost/Chief Academic Officer at Massachusetts Bay Community College and before that as Associate Commissioner for Academic and P-16 Policy for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. She is the recipient of the Governor’s Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance in recognition of her contributions to public higher education. Francesca is adjunct lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education on state and federal post-secondary education policy. She has taught at Boston College, Suffolk University, and Roxbury Community College; co-authored works on international women’s colleges and universities; and consulted for the World Bank and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation National Fellowship Foundation. Francesca holds a B.A. from Amherst College, an M.S. from Northeastern University, and a Ph.D. from Boston College.

Dr. Purcell became the faculty director of the higher education program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in August, 2019. 

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