Jeanne Contardo

Jeanne Contardo


Jeanne Contardo, Ph.D., is a higher education expert specializing in strategic planning, cross sector partnership development with a focus on the business sector, research and policy analysis, and workforce development. Most recently she served as the Vice President of Regional Operations for Excelsior College, where she managed the current and emerging units and activities in the Washington, DC Region. Under her leadership, Excelsior grew its regional presence through innovative partnerships with both the Federal and local governments, the launch of a comprehensive branding initiative to serve working adults, and on-going collaboration with military and veteran offices and underserved adult students in the DC Region.

Prior to her work with Excelsior serving adult students, she spent 15 years in a variety of higher education and non-profit settings. From 2008-2013, she was the director of programs and policy analysis at the Business-Higher Education Forum, overseeing the organization’s research agenda and its College Readiness, Access, and Success Initiative. While there, she collaborated with university presidents and Fortune 500 CEOs to increase high-demand career pipelines and focused on building the research and policy materials needed to drive action around improving student interest and proficiency, especially in STEM fields.

Before BHEF, she was a research fellow at the National Defense University, focusing in part on the changing workforce needs in the United States. Dr. Contardo also worked at the Institute for Higher Education Policy, where she collaborated on studies targeting underserved populations in higher education, including prisoners and foster youth; the University of Maryland, where she worked with a group of women engineers to address issues around STEM undergraduate education; and the University of Washington Honors Program in Seattle, where she helped design and implement policy to increase access and success in higher education. Since 2011-2012, Dr. Contardo has also taught courses on higher education finance, cross sector partnerships, and research theory at The George Washington University.

Dr. Contardo earned her Ph.D. in higher education policy at the University of Maryland, College Park, a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her bachelor’s degree (cum laude ) in English from the University of Washington.