For nearly 25 years, Dr. Caitlin Howley has provided technical assistance, program evaluation, and applied research services to improve the life chances of young people and the effectiveness of programs that serve them. Her areas of expertise include rural education; education equity; broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); college access and success; and agency and evaluation capacity building.
Dr. Howley has a long history of supporting SEAs through the Comprehensive Centers program. Most recently, she provided technical assistance to two Region 8 Comprehensive Center initiatives. In earlier capacities, she served variously as the director, associate director, and director of evaluation of the Appalachian Regional Comprehensive Center between 2006 and 2019 and provided evaluation services to the Region IV Comprehensive Center in the early 2000s. Dr. Howley’s capacity building experience includes co-developing an evaluation capacity building approach for the Children’s Bureau’s Capacity Building Collaborative’s Center for States in 2021 and an accompanying interactive online training experience for the Center’s evaluation coaches. She also served as a Technical Assistance Specialist with the Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic, a Coordination Specialist with the National Laboratory Network, and an Evaluation Technical Assistance Provider for the Reform Support Network.
A sociologist of education by training, Dr. Howley has evaluated a wide range of education interventions. For example, she has studied programs seeking to increase the representation of underrepresented populations in STEM majors and careers, improve postsecondary access for rural students and students experiencing poverty, strengthen outcomes for children and families in the child welfare system, and assist displaced adult workers to train for new careers. In addition to evaluating several regional Comprehensive Centers, she directed evaluation for the Appalachia Eisenhower Regional Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education and studied school improvement initiatives facilitated by the Appalachia Regional Educational Laboratory. Dr. Howley’s work has appeared in books and peer-reviewed journals and has been honored by the American Educational Research Association and the National Rural Education Association. She earned her Ph.D. from Temple University in 2005.