Skip to content

Heather Fox

Senior Research Specialist

headshot of Heather Fox


(217) 369-7279

Office of Well-Being


Dr. Fox is a mixed-methods researcher who champions implementing and scaling evidence-based strategies to improve equity in education and child welfare settings. Dr. Fox is a pragmatic researcher dedicated to translating research findings into actionable and anti-racist practices that support the well-being and resiliency of children, youth, and their families. This dedication is grounded in twelve years of experience serving families in community-based organizations, including serving in leadership roles at two central Illinois Court Appointed Special Advocates programs. Dr. Fox is contracted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to conduct and translate research supporting data-informed and equity-centered efforts to improve the experiences and outcomes for children, youth, and families engaged in the child welfare system.

Previously, Dr. Fox served as the Assistant Director of Operations, Communications, and Research at the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL), and as a Teaching Assistant Professor of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this role, Dr. Fox was the co-PI on OCCRL’s Illinois Community College Board-funded projects and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Equity Conscious Community College Pathways projects and taught resource development and grant writing at the graduate level. Dr. Fox served in varying roles across twelve multi-year research and evaluation projects at OCCRL. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Resource Education and a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management.

Her portfolio of work includes:

  • conducting comprehensive literature reviews and public data analysis to identify and summarize evidence-based practices;
  • developing and facilitating mixed-methods participatory research and evaluation studies that triangulate the lived experiences of multiple stakeholders with existing research evidence;
  • designing, conducting, and contributing to mixed-methods research and evaluation studies utilizing quantitative analysis (descriptive, correlational, geospatial, and quasi-experimental); qualitative analysis (narrative, grounded theory, and phenomenological-thematic); and cross-sectional and successive independent sample mixed-method surveys.
  • translating research findings into practical application across multiple stakeholder groups and disseminating through targeted multi-modal avenues (infographics, blogs, social media posts, policy and practitioner focus briefs, podcasts, webpage development, and peer-reviewed publications); and
  • developing and facilitating numerous coaching and professional development opportunities focused on the implementation and scaling of evidence-based practices (e.g., webinars, conference presentations, direct coaching, practitioner workshops, seminars, and summits).
Cookie Settings