Holly Downs has almost 20 years of experience in research and evaluation with an emphasis in using digital tools to investigate leadership and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs delivered via traditional, hybrid and online learning environments with myriad audiences.
Before joining CCL, Holly served for 4 years as an Assistant Professor for the Department of Educational Research Methodology (ERM) and as the inaugural Associate Director of the Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services (OAERS) in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) where she received the 2014 Mentoring/ Advising/ Supervising Faculty Award. She still serves as an adjunct assistant professor at UNCG.
Holly has been an evaluator with UNCG and the University of Illinois working on a variety of projects from the US Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, Illinois State Board of Education, US Lacrosse-National Governing Board, Physicians for Peace, Title VI International Centers at UIUC, Oak Foundation, Action Greensboro, City Year, The Chicago Community Trust, and Carus Publishing. Additionally, she has received numerous awards for her work as an assistant professor, an elementary school teacher in California, and as the Educational Outreach and ZOOM Local/National Coordinator with WILL AM-FM-TV, a public-broadcasting station.
Holly is a senior evaluation faculty member of CCL’s Evaluation Center which supports CCL and the field through the development of new knowledge, methods, and approaches to the evaluation of leadership development. In this capacity, she works with CCL staff, global clients, and external evaluators to design and conduct customized evaluations for CCL programs, products, and services. This work includes identifying organizational and leader needs, articulating program outcomes, selecting the most appropriate methods for evaluating initiatives for improvement and impact, and reporting the findings to key stakeholders.
Holly is also the principal investigator leading the research and evaluation of CCL’s digital and virtual learning effort in order to expand the knowledge regarding how virtual learning can enhance, support or supplant other types of training approaches to accelerate the development of leaders.
Areas of Expertise
Virtual and Digital Learning, Creativity & Innovation, Evaluation Leadership Systems & Models Organizational Development
Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a dual emphasis Technology Studies in Education and Evaluation from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign; M.Ed. in Education from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign; B.S. in Education from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois
Holly is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the American Educational Research Association.
Select CCL Publications and Webinars
- Building a Faster Assessment Tool: How You Can Help
- Evaluating the Impact of Leadership Development – 2nd Edition
- Do’s and Don’ts of MOOCs and SPOCs. Best practices for development Massive Open Online Courses and Small Private Online Courses
- Six strategies for digital learning success
- Evaluating Leadership Development: How Can You Tell if it’s Working?
Holly Downs has nearly 20 years of experience in research and evaluation with an emphasis in using digital tools to investigate leadership and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs delivered via traditional, hybrid and online learning environments with myriad audiences. Holly has contributed to numerous publications on digital learning in research and evaluation in leadership development in top academic journals, books, and white papers. Her co-authored CCL work on Six Strategies for Digital Learning Success has been highlighted by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and the International Executive Development Program (IEDP). Holly is a regular speaker at professional conferences and has worked with a wide range of organizations including large multinational firms, public television stations and programs, hospitals, for and non-profits, universities and K-12 schools, and government agencies.
Select External Publications
- Case Study
- Evaluation in the field of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Research
- Counseling Outcomes of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury for Eight Clients in Outpatient Treatment: A Retrospective Case Study. Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation
- The College STAR Faculty Learning Community: Promoting Learning for All Students through Faculty Collaboration
- Quality Indicators for Evaluating Online Graduate Degree Programs in Agricultural Sciences and Engineering. Journal of Case Studies in Education
Honors, Awards, Grants
- Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation (CORE) Outstanding Outcome Research Paper Award (2016), Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation Journal, 2016.
- Mentoring/Advising/Supervising (MAS) Award, School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2014.
- Funded Grant for the Evaluation of the US Lacrosse National Coach Hybrid Training Program (Women’s Division), $28,260 from US Lacrosse, 2014.
- Funded Grant for the College Supporting Transition, Access and Retention (STAR) project, submitted with East Carolina University, $3,300,000 from the Oak and an additional $1,000,000 local support has been provided by the Weaver Foundation, Cemela Foundation, and the Michel Family Foundation, 2011 – 2014.
- Funded Grant for the Evaluation of the Implementation of the Illinois Learning Standards, submitted to the ISBE, 2005, Illinois State Board of Education, $780,000, 2005-2008.
- Midwest Representative for the National 2003 Station Advisory Council for PBS, WILL AM-FM-TV, 2003.