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Heather Fox

Research Specialist

headshot of Heather Fox


Dr. Fox is a mixed-methods researcher who supports implementing and scaling evidence-based strategies to improve equity in education and child welfare settings. Dr. Fox is a pragmatic researcher who is dedicated to the translation of research findings into actionable practices that result in effective service provision to 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.

Previously, Dr. Fox served as the Assistant Director of Operations, Communications, and Research at the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL); and 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 the 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 quantitative evidence;
  • developing and facilitating data collection including both qualitative protocols (focus groups, structured and semi-structured interviews, and observational) and quantitative measures (surveys, questionnaires, public and administrative data mining, and geospatial data analysis);
  • conduct data analyses including quantitative approaches such as descriptive, relational, regression, factor, thematic, longitudinal, and geospatial data analysis and qualitative approaches including narrative, grounded theory, phenomenological, and thematic analysis;
  • 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).
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