Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail
A leader whose example has inspired countless future leaders, Christine Johnson McPhail
demonstrates a tireless commitment to the education of others and the advancement of community
colleges. Christine Johnson McPhail currently serves as the National Facilitator for the American Association
of Community College’s (AACC) Future Presidents Institute (an intensive five-day institute designed
for senior level community college administrators on the direct path to a presidency) and she also
serves as a Leadership/Strategy Coach for over a dozen Achieving the Dream colleges
(http://achievingthedream.org). Achieving the Dream leads the most comprehensive non-governmental
reform network for student success in higher education history. She formerly served as President
and Chief Instructional Officer at Cypress College in southern California.
As founder and professor for the Community College Doctoral Leadership Program (CCLDP) at Morgan
State University, Dr. McPhail was responsible for graduating more than 60 doctoral students in less
than a 10 year time period. The number of graduates included a record-setting number of African
Americans receiving doctoral degrees in the State of Maryland. Her inspiration and effectiveness
gave rise to a national agenda focused on increasing the number of trained professionals for the
community college leadership pipeline among peer and smaller institutions (for more information see
Breaking Tradition: New Community College Leadership Programs Meet 21st Century Needs; Amey, 2006).
In collaboration with the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, Dr. McPhail further facilitated leadership
development in the Washington- Baltimore Corridor by successfully creating and managing the State
of Maryland's first statewide leadership development program for mid-level professionals (Community
College Fellows Program), engaging more than 16 institutions across the state of Maryland in
systematic community college leadership education and thus adding more than 150 professionals to the ranks of
teaching and administration at community colleges in the state of Maryland.
McPhail was the recipient of the 2010 AACC National Leadership Award, 2010 League of California
Distinguished Alumni Award, and the 2008 League of Innovation‘s Terry O’Banion Leadership Award. As
the recipient of the American Association of Community Colleges' 2010 Leadership Award, Dr.
Christine McPhail joined a distinguished group whose dedication to ensuring the success of
community colleges through the development of strong and passionate leaders is exemplary.
McPhail was recently appointed to serve on the Gates Foundation’s Completion by Design National
Advisory Committee. She also serves on the national advisory committee for the National Center for
Post- Secondary Research (NCPR) at the Community College Research Center (CCRC, NY). She formerly
served on the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC);
Community College Survey on Student Engagement (CCSSE) and the Council for the Study of Community
Colleges (CSCC). While a professor at Morgan State University, McPhail served as the Affirmative
Action Officer, Division J, American Education Research Association (AERA) and on the Editorial
Board for the Community College Journal of Research and Practice. She is the editor of a best-
selling AACC publication, Establishing and Sustaining Learning Centered Community Colleges. She was
the featured international keynote speaker at the Guardian Further Education and Skills Summit 2007
in the United Kingdom, where she spoke about the American Community College: Challenges and
Dr. McPhail remains active in research related to key elements of higher education. Her research
interests lie in the intersection of three fields of higher education: leadership, governance, and
teaching and learning. Recent publications include the following: Illuminating the Experiences of
African-American Female Community College Students in Developmental Education, featured in Crystal
Renée Chambers (ed.) Support Systems and Services for Diverse Populations: Considering the
Intersection of Race, Gender, and the Needs of Black Female Undergraduates (Diversity in Higher
Education, Volume 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.185-213 (2011); Bringing Teaching and
Learning to the Board Room: A Professional Development Framework for Community College Governing
Board in the League’s Focus on Learning: A Learning College Reader (2011); Developing and Engaging
Educators to Support First-Year Student Success in T. Brown, M.C. King & P. Stanley (Eds.).
Fulfilling the promise of the community college: Increasing first year student engagement and success (2011).